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News Nuclear arms race comeback?

  1. Dec 22, 2016 #1

    1oldman2

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    As if we don't have enough to worry about already, I hate to think where this is leading us.
    http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/22/politics/donald-trump-strengthen-expand-nuclear-capability/index.html

    (CNN)President-elect Donald Trump signaled Thursday that he will look to "strengthen and expand" the US's nuclear capability, tweeting just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin called for enhancing his country's nuclear program.

    Hours earlier in Moscow, Putin said in a defense speech in Moscow that Russia needs to "enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems."

    And this from BBC.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38410027
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2016 #2
    Great. Start thinking about bomb shelters again. This will be my second time although maybe I better get farther away from DC.
     
  4. Dec 22, 2016 #3

    1oldman2

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    This definitely could be a "Growth industry", Brings to mind the Twilight Zone episode "the Shelter".
    If things go bad concerning this issue, I expect property values in the D.C. area to drop substantially. :wink:
     
  5. Dec 22, 2016 #4
    From the first link:
    Everything I've read points to Putin being optimistic that Trump will be much easier to get along with than the Obama administration, and Trump has repeatedly spoken of NATO as if it's some fishy organization that he's not comfortable being a part of. Therefore, I doubt these two separate announcements are the indicators of an unknown Trump vs Putin rivalry coming to light. Rather, I think Putin's announcement was aimed at neighboring NATO countries, and Trump's was aimed vaguely at the middle east and China. Alternatively, Trump's announcement may not have been aimed at any foreign country, but may only represent chest-thumping for the benefit of his hard-core supporters.

    Unless some friction has arisen between Trump and Putin in some completely non-public communications between them, I think the timing of the two announcements might have been pure coincidence.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
  6. Dec 22, 2016 #5
    Putin should only need to fear NATO insofar as the US honors its commitments. So Trumps waffling on continued NATO support should have reduced some of Putin's concerns. The US has the most nukes of any country why should Trump think we need more? So this whole thing is a bit strange unless Putin is feeling out Trump's reaction to the idea of Russia augmenting its nuclear capability. Trump had better start talking to his advisers before he responds to provocative comments by other world leaders.
     
  7. Dec 22, 2016 #6

    mheslep

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    Interview with NYT reporter Sanger in July:
     
  8. Dec 22, 2016 #7
  9. Dec 22, 2016 #8

    mheslep

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    Thanks for the FC collection. Right, Trump's been fairly consistent in his NATO comments. The message to Europe again and again has been: pay up.

    March 21 (CNN):
    March 21 (WAPO)
    April 4
    April 27
     
  10. Dec 22, 2016 #9

    Vanadium 50

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    Actually, Russia has a few percent more. But in any event, if the appropriate response to Russia reducing its arsenal is for the US to do the same, what is the appropriate US reaction to Russia increasing its arsenal?
     
  11. Dec 23, 2016 #10
    Yes but 'pay up' or what? 'Or we might have to let you defend yourselves'. Additionally, those interviews are peppered with his claim NATO has become obsolete, that the conditions under which it was created no longer exist. Therefore, even if they all did 'pay up,' he has laid out a second argument that might make the other moot if he wants to invoke it. In other words, Trump has repeatedly spoken of NATO as if it's some fishy organization that he's not comfortable being a part of. "Fishy" in the sense of him not seeing any clear current benefit to the US of being a part of it.

    Which is, of course, encouraging to Putin. Which makes it unlikely that Putin's announcement about enhancing Russia's nuclear capabilities was at all aimed at the US, as the article I quoted implied. And unlikely, in my mind anyway, that Trump's similar announcement had anything directly to do with Putin's. Coming as they did so closely in time there's a temptation to see one as having triggered the other. But for that to be true the whole broader context would have to have changed behind the scenes without the public being aware of it. That strikes me as unlikely.
     
  12. Dec 23, 2016 #11

    mheslep

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    <Shrug> That statement is contrary to his repeated statements in the transcripts above.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  13. Dec 23, 2016 #12

    Vanadium 50

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    It's kind of remarkable - Obama once said he was a "blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." Trump serves the opposite function - people project their own fears and dislikes on him. Rather than focus on what he actually said, people seem to be thinking that whatever views they hold, Trump simply must hold the opposite. It will be interesting to read what historians write about this period in the future.

    Getting back to the question at hand, the US SSBN fleet could carry, in principle, about 4000 warheads. This requires maxing out every boat and every missile. Today only about 17% of these "slots" are full. The same numbers from Russia are 1400 (charitably: with various missile and deliver problems, 700 or 800 is closer to the truth and 36% (or 70% when the issues are taken into account).

    So if a new arms race is in the cards, the US could increase its second-strike capability by a factor of 6 almost immediately, whereas Russia is looking at a factor of 50% or so. Mid-term, the US could in 4 years place up to 6 more in service (uncovert the four SSGN boats plus build two more) if that were a national priority. On the other hand, the Russians' problems are technological - maybe they will solve them in 4 years, maybe they won't.

    In either case, I don't think Russia sees that reigniting an arms race is likely to have a good outcome, at least over the horizon of the next few years.
     
  14. Dec 23, 2016 #13
    No it isn't.
    No, what actually has happened many times is that Trump is so inarticulate and erratic that no one, including his supporters, can figure out what he meant to say. Witness the recent "drain the swamp" confusion with Newt Gingrich.

    Today's Washington Post has a piece about his chaotic pronouncements:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/poli...6616a33048d_story.html?utm_term=.58e1058d7b22

    And:

     
  15. Dec 23, 2016 #14

    mheslep

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    If the photo of that Russian non-nuclear carrier belching smoke as steamed to the fight in Syria is indication of the current technical capability of their Navy, then "wont".

    Britain_Syria-0852c.jpg

    Yes, leaving one route for Russians to rationally expand their arsenal: give them the idea that the US will do nothing in response, as in Syria, that there would be no 'race' they could lose.
     
  16. Dec 23, 2016 #15

    mheslep

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    Evidence? With "No, I don't want to pull out" and "not decrease it's roll" you have a large burden of proof for your assertion that you know whats in his head, that Trump thinks '...NATO as if it's some fishy organization that he's not comfortable being a part of.' Trump has been ambiguous (as have many Presidents) and inarticulate on some subjects, but those NATO statements above are not.
     
  17. Dec 23, 2016 #16
    First paragraph of my post #10 above. "pay up" or...

    Our defending them is not a guarrantee. It is contingent upon them 'paying up.'
     
  18. Dec 23, 2016 #17
    We may escape the blast but what about what comes next? Maybe this site will help people understand the problem. For example, even a "limited" nuclear war between India and Pakistan would be a disaster for everyone else. Notice they are talking about Hiroshima-size bombs in this scenario. The bombs in the American and Russian arsenals are much more powerful. They claim that a big USA vs Russia war would cause the eventual death of every human.

    http://www.nucleardarkness.org/warconsequences/fivemilliontonsofsmoke/
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  19. Dec 23, 2016 #18

    russ_watters

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    I don't see how you could possibly be spinning that into the idea that he doesn't want to be in NATO. When a parent threatens to punish their kids, they don't WANT to hurt their kids, they want their kids to do the right thing. Clearly, here, Trump isn't saying he WANTS to leave NATO, he is saying he wants a NATO, where all countries contribute what they are legally required to instead of screwing relying on the US to do/pay for all the work.

    At the same time, a mutual defense treaty where only one party is doing any of the work is "mutual" in name only and therefore doesn't actually mean anything.
     
  20. Dec 23, 2016 #19
    I'm not.

    What I said was: "Trump has repeatedly spoken of NATO as if it's some fishy organization that he's not comfortable being a part of." If you read the collected remarks of Trump on NATO at the site I linked to, you ought to be able to see that's a fair assessment. "Pay up," isn't Trump's only criticism of it, it's just the one mheslep pulled out by confirmation bias to make Trump seem more consistent and coherent on the subject than is actually true. Trumps other main objection, that NATO is obsolete, is a really big objection, but the conservatives in this thread have completely ignored it. As I said in an earlier post, the "obsolete" objection could be used by Trump to dump NATO in the future because it overrides the "pay up" objection. Additionally, he talks about the US having joined NATO back when we were a wealthier nation and maintains NATO is just too costly for us now. Then he mentions that NATO doesn't address terrorism. So, no, he doesn't seem comfortable with it at all to me. That's the only claim I made. I did not claim he wants to pull out.
     
  21. Dec 24, 2016 #20

    Vanadium 50

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    Can the title of this thread be changed? Proliferation means "more countries are getting nuclear weapons" not "the countries that already have them are deploying more"?

    Edit: I can't believe I missed the opportunity to write this: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
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