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Which countries have nuclear arms?

  1. Sep 3, 2003 #1
    Lets make a list of countries who have nuclear arms and then which countries have the ability to launch nuclear arms.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2003 #2
    I debated the nuclear weapons topic some years back in policy debate, here's what I remember, the list is the country's and the number of warheads. (although this data is, if I remember previous to the start treaties)

    The P5:

    United States - 10000
    Soviet Union - 15000
    France - 1000
    Great Britain - 700
    China - 50

    Other Coutries:
    Israel - 100 - 200
    India - 100
    China - 50
    Pakistan - 20
    North Korea - 0 - 2 *note this is before the last couple months where North Korea says they are making some.

    Both South Africa and Khagastan had nuclear weapons at one point, or were close to getting them, but they eventually disarmed.
  4. Sep 3, 2003 #3
    Why does the USA and Soviet Union need so many? Do they actually think that they will ever be able to use them? I think that this world would be much peaceful if every country that has massive numbers of nukes (500 and up) cut the number of nukes they possess to a maximum of 50 or so...
  5. Sep 4, 2003 #4


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    Some of this info is a few months old (someone on another message board provided this info...I forget who unfortunately!)

    Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nations...
    400 China
    450 France
    22500 Russia
    260 United Kingdom
    12070 United States

    Non-NPT nations...
    70 India
    100 Israel
    15 Pakistan
    1 or 2 North Korea

    high-risk states...
    Iraq (very close until a few months ago)
    Iran (very close)
    Libya (far off)

    These states have either had nuclear weapons or advanced programs developing them. All have signed the NPT and are operating in accordance to the treaty.

    Algeria - Agreed to monitoring in 1995.
    Argentina - Program dismantled after the Treaty of Tlatelolco.
    Belarus - Complete dismantlement of USSR weapons confirmed.
    Brazil - Program dismantled after the Treaty of Tlatelolco.
    Kazakhstan - Complete dismantlement of USSR weapons confirmed.
    Romania - Iliescu government discontinued program.
    South Africa - Dismantled all 6 devices in 1990's
    Ukraine - Complete dismantlement of USSR weapons confirmed.

    These countries have all the necessary infrastructure to build nuclear weapons, but have never developed nuclear weapon programs. All are signatories to the NPT.

    Czech Republic
    South Korea
  6. Sep 5, 2003 #5

    Tom Mattson

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    It's about achieving parity with one's enemy. Both nations understand that, in the event of nuclear war, one does not only need enough nuclear weapons to destroy the enemy, one needs enough nuclear weapons to destroy the enemy after a first strike. A first strike would doubtlessly be targeted at the other nation's nuclear weapons, making it impossible to retaliate. If a nation is to not be vanquished by nuclear attack, it must have enough weapons with which to respond.
  7. Sep 6, 2003 #6


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    But wait. If a nuclear attack is launched, the other nation would have several minutes to respond, wouldn't they? The attack may well destroy the launching sites of the enemy, but by the time they do, it's already too late. They would have been launched in the counter attack.
  8. Sep 6, 2003 #7


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    The point of the US nuclear triad - land based, air based and sea based missiles - was to make it very difficult for an enemy to knock out all our missiles in an attack. So however struck, we would retain the ability to retaliate. This also contributed to the large numbers of warheads listed above, because each "leg" of the triad had to have enough warheads to destroy an attacker (in the old days of course there was only one problable attacker, the USSR).
  9. Sep 6, 2003 #8
    Does anybody remember the doctrine of MAD? Mutually Assured Destruction. The idea was to make the enemy too afraid to strike, because, if it did, both sides had enough weapons to ensure that everybody bit the big one.
  10. Sep 7, 2003 #9
    Ten Myths About Nuclear Weapons

    http://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/03.07/0707krieger_10myths.htm [Broken]

    Ten Myths About Nuclear Weapons
    By David Krieger and Angela McCracken, July 7, 2003

    Nuclear weapons were needed to defeat Japan in World War II.

    It is widely believed, particularly in the United States, that the use of nuclear weapons against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was necessary to defeat Japan in World War II. This is not, however, the opinion of the leading US military figures in the war, including General Dwight Eisenhower, General Omar Bradley, General Hap Arnold and Admiral William Leahy. General Eisenhower, for example, who was the Supreme Allied Commander Europe during World War II and later US president, wrote, “I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced [to Secretary of War Stimson] my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’….” Not only was the use of nuclear force unnecessary, its destructive force was excessive, resulting in 220,000 deaths by the end of 1945.

    Nuclear weapons prevented a war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

    Many people believe that the nuclear standoff during the Cold War prevented the two superpowers from going to war with each other, for fear of mutually assured destruction. While it is true that the superpowers did not engage in nuclear warfare during the Cold War, there were many confrontations between them that came uncomfortably close to nuclear war, the most prominent being the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. There were also many deadly conflicts and “proxy” wars carried out by the superpowers in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Vietnam War, which took several million Vietnamese lives and the lives of more than 58,000 Americans, is a prominent example. These wars made the supposed nuclear peace very bloody and deadly. Lurking in the background was the constant danger of a nuclear exchange. The Cold War was an exceedingly dangerous time with a massive nuclear arms race, and the human race was extremely fortunate to have survived it without suffering a nuclear war.

    Nuclear threats have gone away since the end of the Cold War.

    In light of the Cold War’s end, many people believed that nuclear threats had gone away. While the nature of nuclear threats has changed since the end of the Cold War, these threats are far from having disappeared or even significantly diminished. During the Cold War, the greatest threat was that of a massive nuclear exchange between the United States and Soviet Union. In the aftermath of the Cold War, a variety of new nuclear threats have emerged. Among these are the following dangers:

    • Increased possibilities of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists who would not hesitate to use them;
    • Nuclear war between India and Pakistan;
    • Policies of the US government to make nuclear weapons smaller and more usable;
    • Use of nuclear weapons by accident, particularly by Russia, which has a substantially weakened early warning system; and
    • Spread of nuclear weapons to other states, such as North Korea, that may perceive them to be an “equalizer” against a more powerful state.

    The United States needs nuclear weapons for its national security.

    There is a widespread belief in the United States that nuclear weapons are necessary for the US to defend against aggressor states. US national security, however, would be far improved if the US took a leadership role in seeking to eliminate nuclear weapons throughout the world. Nuclear weapons are the only weapons that could actually destroy the United States, and their existence and proliferation threaten US security. Continued high-alert deployment of nuclear weapons and research on smaller and more usable nuclear weapons by the US, combined with a more aggressive foreign policy, makes many weaker nations feel threatened. Weaker states may think of nuclear weapons as an equalizer, giving them the ability to effectively neutralize the forces of a threatening nuclear weapons state. Thus, as in the case of North Korea, the US threat may be instigating nuclear weapons proliferation. Continued reliance on nuclear weapons by the United States is setting the wrong example for the world, and is further endangering the country rather than protecting it. The United States has strong conventional military forces and would be far more secure in a world in which no country had nuclear arms.

    Nuclear weapons make a country safer.

    It is a common belief that nuclear weapons protect a country by deterring potential aggressors from attacking. By threatening massive retaliation, the argument goes, nuclear weapons prevent an attacker from starting a war. To the contrary, nuclear weapons are actually undermining the safety of the countries that possess them by providing a false sense of security. While deterrence can provide some psychological sense of security, there are no guarantees that the threat of retaliation will succeed in preventing an attack. There are many ways in which deterrence could fail, including misunderstandings, faulty communications, irrational leaders, miscalculations and accidents. In addition, the possession of nuclear weapons enhances the risks of terrorism, proliferation and ultimately nuclear annihilation.

    No leader would be crazy enough to actually use nuclear weapons.

    Many people believe that the threat of using nuclear weapons can go on indefinitely as a means of deterring attacks because no leader would be crazy enough to actually use them. Unfortunately, nuclear weapons have been used, and it is likely that most, if not all, leaders possessing these weapons would, under certain conditions, actually use them. US leaders, considered by many to be highly rational, are the only ones who have ever actually used nuclear weapons in war, against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Outside of these two bombings, the leaders of nuclear weapons states have repeatedly come close to using nuclear weapons. Nuclear deterrence is based upon a believable threat of nuclear retaliation, and the threat of nuclear weapons use has been constant during the post World War II period. US policy currently calls for the use of nuclear weapons in response to an attack with chemical or biological weapons against the US, its troops or allies. One of the premises of the US argument for preventive war is that other leaders would be willing to attack the United States with nuclear weapons. Threats of nuclear attack by India and Pakistan provide still another example of nuclear brinksmanship that could turn into a nuclear war. Globally and historically, leaders have done their best to prove that they would use nuclear weapons. Assuming that they would not do so is unwise.

    Nuclear weapons are a cost-effective method of national defense.

    Some have argued that nuclear weapons, with their high yield of explosive power, offer the benefit of an effective defense for minimum investment. This is one reason behind ongoing research into lower-yield tactical nuclear weapons, which would be perceived as more usable. The cost of nuclear weapons research, development, testing, deployment and maintenance, however, exceeded $5.5 trillion by 1996, according to a study by the Brookings Institution. With advances in nuclear technology and power, the costs and consequences of a nuclear war would be immeasurable.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  11. Sep 9, 2003 #10
    Although I do not agree with nuclear weapons policy, do you seriously believe that the US and USSR would not have gone to war if there were no nuclear weapons? ALthough many died in proxy wars, a Soviet Invasion of Europe would be almost gaurenteed without the threat of U.S. Nuclear Retaliation, a 3rd World War in Europe would have certainly killed millions more than the proxy wars throughout the war.
  12. Sep 9, 2003 #11
    Weapons of Mass Destruction

    I heard of two incidents from a film producer that there were several close calls
    between the US and Russia pushing the nuclear buttons besides the Cuban missile
    crisis. One was a flock a geese in Europe which the Russians first believed to be a
    multi missile launch but averted in the nick of time. A US military figure ordered
    a launch but was rightfully ignored in the nick of time. We've been dam lucky...so far.
  13. Sep 10, 2003 #12


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    I guess it becomes a question of when. In 1945, sans the atomic bomb there will still not likely be a conflict. The allied forces in europe did not have the means to defeat the Soviet Union in their own backyard, and the Soviets certainly did not have much to gain from a war with the west. A few years later with the situation in Berlin though, we might be looking at WWIII.
  14. Sep 11, 2003 #13
    There are several reasons. My father worked on nuclear submarines, so I know a fair amount about the subject.

    Despite the Soviet union's opposition to the Star Wars program, they had actually been the first to impliment one. Basically they buried gravel with explosives in strategic places. If missiles flew over, they would shoot the gravel up into the air. At the speeds the missles travel a single piece of gravel can destroy them. Redundancy means at least some of the missles will get through.

    The other reason is that the system was deliberately set up with multiple backup systems in order to prevent a nuclear war. For those interested, I recommend the movie, "By Dawn's Early Light" as an accurate portrayal of how a nuclear war between the US and Soviet Union was projected to progress. In the movie soviet terrorists launch missles at the US destroying several cities. Instead of retaliating by launching everything we have as many people suspect we would do, they launched all the B-1 bombers. The movie is about one such bombing crew.

    The idea is that by launching the bombers which require eight hours to reach their target everyone has time to cool off and work things out. It also allows the submarines and railroad train based MX missle systems a chance to hide and move closer to their targets. It is the submarines in particular which are the ultimate back-up system in case all the other systems fail. For example, if the Soviets had struck with a massive first strike and managed to take out all of our land based missles and then gone on to shoot down all of the bombers, the submarines still possessed more than enough firepower to pay them back.

    And, last but not least, Ronald Raygun began the practice of dramatically increasing the US nuclear arsenal. Basically, he played one-up-manship with the Soviets. As the Soviets attempted to keep up with growing US arsenal, their economy collapsed. This was, of course, exactly what the US wanted.
  15. Sep 13, 2003 #14


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    Hmm... No offense but the way you put it right now it sounds
    totally absurd, I mean - explosives and gravel in the gorund ?! Come on !
    Any reference to the details (maybe you just phrased it funny :wink:) wuli ?

    Live long and prosper.
  16. Sep 13, 2003 #15
    You are correct, it sounds funny and beyond belief. Much of what the soviet union did sounds funny and beyond belief. They loved doing things on huge scales and damn the environmental impact! Drain the Ural sea, spread radioactive waste over siberia! Who cares. One of their specialties was microwave radiation. They figured out exactly how to kill people by beaming microwaves at them. At one point the Soviet embacy in DC beamed them at the US department of agraculture across the street. Within five years everyone who worked there died.

    Call it weird conspiracy theory bs if you want, or look up the evidence for yourself. Before the US won the second WW, people could not believe what was happening in the concentration camps either.
  17. Sep 16, 2003 #16
    from theroyprocess's post:

    "No leader would be crazy enough to actually use nuclear weapons."

    LLLLOL. I'm surprised that such an argument even existed.........
  18. Sep 16, 2003 #17


    http://www.markfiore.com/animation/whoops.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  19. Sep 25, 2003 #18


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    I've a question that is at least somewhat related. Aside from the Cuban missile crisis, has any nuclear power baldly threatened another country with a nuclear attack (post-WWII)?

    IIRC, the US government made such a threat against China, either during the Korean war or in the 1960s, but I haven't found any details. Of course, this threat was delivered in secret by 'personal emissaries', not in a televised address, but was nonetheless very clear, deliberate, and serious (so I recall).
  20. Sep 25, 2003 #19


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  21. Sep 26, 2003 #20


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    It used to be said that Eisenhower, who campaigned in 1952 on being able to stop the Korean war then going on, threatened China with nuking Beijing if they wouldn't strinke a deal on armistice. They did.
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