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US, Russia Reach Nuclear Arsenal Agreement 413

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can't-hug-your-children-with-nuclear-arms dept.
Peace Corps Library writes "The United States and Russia, seeking to move forward on one of the most significant arms control treaties since the end of the cold war, announced that they had reached a preliminary agreement on cutting each country's stockpiles of strategic nuclear weapons, effectively setting the stage for a successor to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start), a cold war-era pact that expires in December. Under the framework, negotiators are to be instructed to craft a treaty that would cut strategic warheads for each side to between 1,500 and 1,675, down from the limit of 2,200 slated to take effect in 2012 under the Treaty of Moscow (PDF) signed by President George W. Bush. The limit on delivery vehicles would be cut to between 500 and 1,100 from the 1,600 currently allowed under Start. Perhaps more important than the specific limits would be a revised and extended verification system that otherwise would expire with Start in December. The United States currently has 1,198 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-based missiles and bombers, which together are capable of delivering 5,576 warheads, according to its most recent Start report in January, while Russia reported that it has 816 delivery vehicles capable of delivering 3,909 warheads. 'We have a mutual interest in protecting both of our populations from the kinds of danger that weapons proliferation is presenting today,' said President Obama."
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US, Russia Reach Nuclear Arsenal Agreement

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  • Fallout (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @08:52AM (#28606547)

    boooo, there goes my hopes of one day having a child that would roam the wastelands and be the savior of all humanity.

    • by Sporkinum (655143)

      Don't worry...there are still plenty of ways to create wastelands. The trinity of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical is still around. You can add robot and grey goo to the mix in a few decades/centuries.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Don't worry if they both keep cutting their arsenals like this they will just leave themselves at the mercy of China. BTW this child saviour of yours does he have a talking dog?
      • Re:Fallout (Score:5, Interesting)

        by kestasjk (933987) * on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:43AM (#28607163) Homepage
        China is also reducing its arsenal, it's the trendy thing since the people like it and you can still keep enough weapons to destroy your enemies several times over.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Shakrai (717556)

          China is also reducing its arsenal

          Citation needed. China has not been very open or forthcoming at all with regards to their weapons programs, nuclear or conventional. In fact they are currently in the process of building new ballistic missile submarines and deploying road mobile ICBMs. How is this compatible with "reducing" their arsenal?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by kestasjk (933987) *

            The DOD table followed a fact sheet published by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in April 2004, which stated: "Among the nuclear-weapon states, China...possesses the smallest nuclear arsenal." Since Britain has declared that it has less than 200 operationally available warheads, and the United States, Russia, and France have more, the Chinese statement could be interpreted to mean that Chinaâ(TM)s nuclear arsenal is smaller than Britainâ(TM)s.

            Link [fas.org]

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @08:53AM (#28606567) Journal

    The indefinite combinations of human fallibility and nuclear weapons will lead to the destruction of nations. - Robert S. McNamara

    Slightly offtopic but in high school I read a few books by Robert S McNamara who died yesterday [nytimes.com]. It's too bad he didn't get to see this agreement between old enemies. He was Secretary of Defense from 1961-1968. Although I did not agree with a lot of his views he shaped a lot of the nuclear buildup during the cold war. I believe he was responsible for abandoning Eisenhower's policy of massive retaliation in the event of a nuclear war. He was first tasked by Kennedy of explaining nuclear fallout [wikipedia.org]. McNamara favored non-nuclear power and one of the books I read "In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam" shed a lot of light on the Vietnam war for me.

    If you haven't seen Erol Morris' "The Fog of War [wikipedia.org]" you should.

    Rest in peace Robert Strange McNamara. You revealed to me the horrors that leadership must face during war.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      That's ok, the entire article is off topic for /. unless someone wants to argue that nuclear war would put an end to all modern technology and other nerdly pursuits so news about nuclear disarmament is nerd news. Meh
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eln (21727)
        Well, as the number of nuclear missiles is reduced, the number of times each country could completely destroy the other is likewise reduced. For example, if the US and Russia could utterly destroy each other 30 times over with their current arsenals, reducing those arsenals by half would mean they could only completely annihilate each other a pitiful 15 times. So, think of it as a mathematics exercise. That's kind of geeky, right?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by readin (838620)

      Slightly offtopic but in high school I read a few books by Robert S McNamara who died yesterday [nytimes.com]. It's too bad he didn't get to see this agreement between old enemies

      Don't feel too bad. He did get to see the far more important breakthrough agreements negotiated and signed by Presidents Reagan and Bush 41.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      It's too bad he didn't get to see this agreement between old enemies.

      Srlsy? It's not like this is the first [wikipedia.org] such [wikipedia.org] agreement [wikipedia.org].

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @10:06AM (#28607509)

      I've really got to love our society. A more than slightly crazy musician and probable child molester dies and it's all the news can talk about for three weeks as people cry in the streets and memorial concerts are held all over the country. A man who was partially responsible for guiding the world through the cold war without destroying modern civilization dies and no one even knows who he is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556)

        A more than slightly crazy musician and probable child molester dies and it's all the news can talk about for three weeks as people cry in the streets and memorial concerts are held all over the country. A man who was partially responsible for guiding the world through the cold war without destroying modern civilization dies and no one even knows who he is.

        You forgot the part where the crazy probable child molester pushed the coverage of the struggle in Iran off the front pages.......

        Fourth estate indeed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LWATCDR (28044)

        Okay.
        1. I am not and have never really been a fan of MJ but that fact that you must thrust him even into this shows you are part of the problem of which you speak. He is dead and I feel sorry for his family.
        2. McNamara sucked. No really he was a walking talking disaster area. The complete re writing of history around JFK drives me nuts. McNamara and JFK over saw the largest increase in the nuclear stock pile in history. He made no agreements involving arms control except the Nuclear Test Band Treaty which

    • by bogjobber (880402) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @10:17AM (#28607679)

      In case you did not know, the massive nuclear buildup by the US in the 1950's and 1960's was largely based on incomplete intelligence and a great deal of incompetence by the Eisenhower and (much less so) the Kennedy administrations. Although McNamara recognized that the US had a large advantage in both nuclear warheads and delivery systems, he still continued the massive buildup in nuclear weapons started by Eisenhower and pushed the idea of mutually assured destruction. It led to the greatest period of nuclear tension we ever had, and almost led us to nuclear war.

      In the 1950's the US thought the Soviets were greatly increasing their nuclear arsenal in order to gain first strike capabilities. This was false and not supported by strong intelligence, and many in the Eisenhower administration did not take proper precautions to ensure this was correct. The US initiated a period of nuclear proliferation that was understandably viewed by the Soviets as an attempt to gain first strike capability, and they quickly followed suit with their own nuclear buildup.

      Mr. McNamara did not abandon the idea of massive retaliation, he actually advanced it. He said himself said (paraphrasing) that it was pure luck that we did not end up in a nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis. He also continued the ludicrous notion of the domino theory [wikipedia.org] which led to the escalation of the Vietnam War under his command.

      Also, (taken from the NY Times book review [nytimes.com] of his autobiography) he realized relatively early in the Vietnam war that it could not be won by military force, but did not fight for his opinion and didn't take a public stance on that position until the 1990's. He and the Kennedy/Johnson/Nixon administrations destroyed the common trust and confidence in our government, which still has far-reaching consequences today. He oversaw one of the largest expansions of the US military in history, which can be directly traced to our ridiculous defense policy and budget today.

      Mr. McNamara was a brilliant man, but he is a symbol of how arrogance and loyalty to authority dragged our country to the brink of destruction. Combined with his (and the rest of the government's) mismanagement of the Vietnam War, Mr. McNamara is certainly not a politician that will be missed by me.

  • This could mean even more cheap launch vehicles for satellites, since launching missiles is a good way of reducing their numbers...

  • by fantomas (94850) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @08:56AM (#28606615)

    BBC radio is reporting this will bring the USA and Russia down to owning a mere 95% of the world's nuclear weapons. Go USA! Go Russia!

    Seriously, good work both countries for making a step in the right direction. But keep going, you've got a long way to go before you can start preaching to countries with a dozen or nuclear weapons about the need for restraint.

    • by oneirophrenos (1500619) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:00AM (#28606653)
      Is there really that much difference in having a thousand or having a dozen? Could the country with a dozen warheads not fuck any other country beyond repair or redemption just as well as one with a thousand nukes?
      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:07AM (#28606719) Journal
        As one of the Rand Corporation's stone cold game theorists said, those would be "tragic, but distinguishable, outcomes".

        Nuclear weapons are powerful, extremely so by the standards of just about anything else(short of real sci-fi stuff, or fuel air bombs representing a week of the western world's refinery output); but they are hardly powerful enough that a dozen and a thousand are the same.

        Even if we overestimated and supposed that, for ease of calculation, a single nuclear strike could completely eliminate a city, all but the very smallest countries have substantially more than 12 cities, and a fair amount of hinterland. Not to mention the fact that unpleasant side effects like nuclear winter and social chaos, which would presumably do most of the killing after the first couple of days, would be far more severe with more warheads rather than fewer.
        • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:22AM (#28606881) Homepage

          As one of the Rand Corporation's stone cold game theorists said, those would be "tragic, but distinguishable, outcomes".

          General Turgidson: Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got 20 million people killed, and the other where you got a 150 million people killed.

          President Muffley: You're talking about mass murder, General, not war!

          General Turgidson: Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than 10 to 20 million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.

        • by wisty (1335733)

          Forget game theory. Consider the consequences of agency theory - a 5% reduction in arms is a 5% budget cut to the department responsible for the nukes. It benefits nations to reduce arms significantly (through multilateral treaties) to the point where they are only left with a reasonable deterrent, and enough ground troops to respond to disasters. But no defense department would recommend it, or push for the treaties.

      • by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:09AM (#28606745)
        I don't think a dozen nukes would cripple the US beyond repair... not by a long shot. It would be like a dozen hurricane Katrina's and the economy would go to shit but for the most part, the survivor's lives would still be better than 95% of the rest of the world's and we'd still be eating at restuarants and driving nice cars to work. it's not like we'd be roaming the wastelands eating Iguana-on-a-Stick or anything like that.
        • The flooding of New Orleans affected mainly low-lying and poorer areas. It had considerable human effect, but it really had no effect on the productive, organisational and so on capacity of the United States. Now imagine 12 warheads that hit 12 major cities, killing perhaps 30 million people over the next 6 months to a year. You've basically taken out most of the people who know how to organise things and keep them going at a high level. It might be a while before everything collapsed, but I suspect it woul
          • by catxk (1086945)

            I recognize your argument concerning modern societies' dependence on logistics and organization, but modern societies are also interdependent. If the US would be hit in a way which would kill of the know-how of how to run things, competence from other countries would likely compensate to an extent.

            Take for example your issue with spare parts for cars. For many cars on US roads, spare parts are produced and stored in Japan and Europe. The companies with the logistical capacity are multinational and the exper

        • What? No "killah cockroaches"?! This post-nuclear-holocaust world is sounding less and less appealing every day.

          Besides, I'm not so sure a dozen nukes wouldn't cripple the U.S. Those flatworms in Congress and the White House are doing their best to cripple to U.S. over global warming, the bad economy or the fact that a small percentage of the country doesn't have proper health coverage.

          p.s. Apologies to flatworms.

          • What? No "killah cockroaches"?! This post-nuclear-holocaust world is sounding less and less appealing every day.

            cockroaches surviving radiation is bullshit anyway.
            I tested the theory in a microwave and it died pretty good.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I suspect it would be rather worse than a dozen Katrinas. Katrina's damage to the area's energy production and refining capacity was nontrivial; but much of it was back online fairly quickly. Most of the rest of the impact was either to the local economy(severe; but not really a broader issue) or psychological(most of those hardest hit have been treated as essentially expendable for years; but we usually didn't have to see it). The actual death toll was only a few thousand.

          Any nuclear strike on a decent
        • Depends on which cities you hit I suspect:

          Washington DC (mostly because that'd take out the politicians)
          New York
          Los Angeles
          Chicago
          Houston
          Philadelphia
          Phoenix
          San Antonio
          San Diego
          Dallas
          San Jose
          Detroit

          These are the 11 largest cities in the US [infoplease.com] plus DC. If that killed everyone in those cities (unlikely) it'd cost 26.4 million lives in the US.

          The economic outcome would be horrible, but taking out New York takes out all the Wall Street brokers and most of the bankers, so it'll probably come out as a wash

      • Is there really that much difference in having a thousand or having a dozen? Could the country with a dozen warheads not fuck any other country beyond repair or redemption just as well as one with a thousand nukes?

        In addition to the factors others have mentioned there is this - when the number of warheads is reduced, each remaining one becomes proportionally more valuable.

        The practical effect of this is that it increases the pressure on the 'trigger'. Back during the Cold War, losing a single SSBN

      • by rumith (983060)
        Yes, there is. You launch a thousand missiles, fifty get shot down, you own your enemy. You launch a dozen missiles (all you have), all of them get shot down... then what? Or even better, the enemy easily destroys your 12 missile silos with the first strike and you don't even have anything to start with.
    • by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:16AM (#28606827)

      But keep going, you've got a long way to go before you can start preaching to countries with a dozen or nuclear weapons about the need for restraint.

      I don't buy that. One madman with a nuke is worse than a peaceful leader with a thousand nukes.

      It's not our number of nukes that allows us to preach to Iran and N. Korea, it's the fact that our leaders are held to certain standards. Our presidents get in trouble for misspeaking or forgetting to bow or not dispensing enough foreign aid; the leaders of the aforementioned countries give speeches advocating genocide... to thunderous applause.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "Our presidents get in trouble..."

        haha.
        good one.

      • by Hatta (162192) * on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:44AM (#28607173) Journal

        One madman with a nuke is worse than a peaceful leader with a thousand nukes.

        One nuke in American hands justifies the arsenal of every madman out there. As long as America holds a single nuke, any dictator can point to it and argue that he has a sovereign right to self-defense against American aggression. Do as I say, not as I do never works. It's far more dangerous to have these things than to not have them. We need a clear, unambiguous policy that nukes are absolutely forbidden for every state with no double standards. Only then will anyone take disarmament seriously.

        • by readin (838620) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @10:07AM (#28607535)
          Madmen dictators are not 4-year-olds. They don't decide whether to build nukes based on their dad setting a good example for them. The calculate their self-interest and make their decision. Or they calculate whatever mad purpose they have (genocide against Israel) and make their decision. They don't think about the need to defend against American nukes because they know that the US refrains from using nukes except when attacked by nukes. Building nukes for themselves increases the risk of being a victim of a US nuke attack. The only kind of attack the dictator's nukes deter are conventional attacks - and that has nothing to do with the US already having nukes. The US abandoning nukes would make it even more attractive for smaller countries to build them. Right now, NK's nukes merely deter a conventional American attack. Remove American nukes and threats of nuclear retaliation, and suddenly NK's nukes give them the ability to extort anything they want from their defenseless neighbors. Americans and western Europeans need to give up their patronizing attitudes toward other countries. Those other countries aren't children who will imitate our adult ways like a child imitates his parents. Those other countries are ruled by adults who calculate their self-interests the way an adult does.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by amorsen (7485)

            They don't think about the need to defend against American nukes because they know that the US refrains from using nukes except when attacked by nukes.

            The US has a clear nuclear first-strike policy. Nuclear weapons (specifically bunker-busters) were definitely considered for both Afghanistan and Iraq, but they were (fortunately, IMHO) ultimately not used.

        • by Blakey Rat (99501)

          We need a clear, unambiguous policy that nukes are absolutely forbidden for every state with no double standards.

          Oh, well, that's ok because the US has tons of double-standards. (Or maybe I parsed that sentence wrong...)

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by R2.0 (532027)

          "We need a clear, unambiguous policy that alcohol is absolutely forbidden for every state with no double standards. Only then will anyone take Prohibition seriously."

          Or substitute marijuana, tobacco, fast food, etc.

          Cat's out of the bag, friend. Pretending that it's possible to simply ban nuclear weapons by fiat is catastrophically naive. Deal with the world as it is, not how you would pretend it to be.

      • by rumith (983060)
        Keeping in mind the long list of US invasions (which were carried out both under Republicans and under Democrats in nearly equal measure AFAIK), would you bet that the current administration won't launch a surprise attack against Russia as soon as their nuclear arsenal can be taken care of with the US antimissile defenses? I know that I wouldn't...
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      You're selling them short. In two and a half decades, the two nations have dismantled most of the world's entire nuclear stockpile. Compared to the Cold War era it's some kind of miracle. There's a hell of a lot left to do - if the US would ratify the CTBT* it would be an even bigger step in preventing nuclear warfare - but there's a hell of a lot that's been done.

      * (They're the most prominent annex II state that has not yet ratified the CTBT, and conversely their ratifying the treaty would be a big politic

    • Please read the essay titled " Arms Control Amnesia [wsj.com]" and published by the "Wall Street Journal".

      A member of the bipartisan Congressional Strategic Posture Commission -- headed by former secretaries of defense William J. Perry and James R. Schlesinger -- warns that the preliminary agreement signed by Barack Obama guts part of the American nuclear arsenal but does not demand significant gutting of the Russian nuclear arsenal. Two points of serious note are (1) nuclear launchers and (2) tactical nuclear weap

    • Yeah, I know - I can't wait for more nations to get nuclear weapons, because it will put the USA in its place. The Islamic Republic of Iran would never use its weapons against Israel, for instance.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jackspenn (682188)

      you've got a long way to go before you can start preaching to countries with a dozen or nuclear weapons about the need for restraint.

      If we have little or no nukes left, why would the listen?

      I find it odd that people have a problem with the United States having weapons of mass destruction. Given that we have been in the Korean war, the Vietnam War, two Gulf wars and countless military operations without using them.

      The fact that we were willing to settle on a stalemate in Korea and actually lost Vietnam, yet had enough restraint to not use our arsenal demonstrates we have control and restraint (Hence we have earned the right to pre

  • by phoxix (161744) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:04AM (#28606677)
    Its called Nunn-Lugar [wikipedia.org]/CTR.

    Basically the United States gave Russia a billion or so and tactical/technical/administrative support every year to reduce their weapons stock pile.

    So even when Bush and Putin had their panties bunched up, great work was being done cooperatively by both sides. [nytimes.com] The program considered pretty successful by government standards.

    I know, I know, the idea of good news from government is a scary one!

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The program considered pretty successful by government standards.

      Meaning what, a lot of rich fucks got richer, and almost nothing actually got done?

    • by readin (838620)

      Russia and the US have already done this before...

      Well yeah. Anyone ever here of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Start_Treaty/ [wikipedia.org]? Let me quote the Wikipedia article: START negotiated the largest and most complex arms control treaty in history, and its final implementation in late 2001 resulted in the removal of about 80% of all strategic nuclear weapons then in existence. Proposed by United States' President Ronald Reagan, it was renamed START I after negotiations began on the second START treaty, which bec

  • by Trip6 (1184883) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:07AM (#28606729)

    I think not! These weapons are with us for good.

    • by tilandal (1004811)

      You just have to invent a smaller, cheaper, more mobile weapon which is capable of wider-scale destruction to replace those nukes. Do your part for nuclear disarmament, study physics.

    • There are two historical examples.

      The first is Ukraine, which inherited some fraction of the Soviet stockpile, which they turned over to Russia in exchange
      (IIRC) for Russia assuming Ukraine's portion of the Soviet Union's international debt and various treaty obligations.

      The second is much more interesting, and less widely known -- South Africa. The Apartheid South African government developed a nuclear capability in the 1970s, primarily as a deterrent (they only ever had a few bombs), and made it known th

  • In this day and age of missiles that can shoot down missiles, you need more missiles not less so that an unstoppable barrage of nuclear death is assured to break through any possible defense.
  • The new limit works out to roughly one warhead per seventeen thousand square miles of the Earth's land-mass. That's an area a bit larger than the Netherlands. While I'm glad that we'll be spending less in the long run on maintaining and securing the decommissioned armaments, this doesn't really change the picture should the shit really hit the fan someday.

  • Really?!? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:11AM (#28606779) Homepage

    But John R. Bolton, who was ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, said Mr. Obama was going too far. "The number they are proposing for delivery vehicles is shockingly low," he said.

    Really? They're aiming for 500 launch vehicles. Are there even that many targets to nuke or does Bolton just want us to do it a few times over for the refried beans effect? Also, this is 500 launch vehicles and 1,500 warheads so I assume there are some MIRVs in there. I was under the impression that the whole defense aspect of nukes was to make retaliation too expensive for the other side to shoot first. If that's the case, 500 launch vehicles and 1,500 warheads would be enough to make anyone regret it. France, China, and the UK seem to be pretty secure with even less.

    • Re:Really?!? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:33AM (#28606991)
      Also, this is 500 launch vehicles and 1,500 warheads so I assume there are some MIRVs in there.

      'Launch vehicles' also includes aircraft. B-1, B-2, B-52, and F-16. All of these can also be used with conventional munitions. So bringing down the total number of 'launch vehicles' to 500 will, of necessity, bring the numbers of these aircraft down to some very low, possibly unsustainable, number.

      I'd fully agree with bringing down the number of actual warheads. But when you include aircraft that can also be used for other functions, we may be getting into a place where the conventional forces are too small to do anything.
      The argument could be made that this is a good thing, but that's a discussion for another day.
      • Although this treaty does seem to limit launch vehicles, reducing them may not be as detrimental as you fear to conventional vehicles. For the F-16 for example, can launch a nuke but it's main purpose was as an air-superiority fighter. The new F-22 and F-35 does not have launch capability as far as I know. So the F-22 and F-35 probably do not count towards the 500 vehicle total.

        Also bear in mind, the aircraft you listed are being replaced anyway with newer aircraft/weaponry. B-2 is replacing the B-1.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        I really doubt they meant that in this context. START-I, START-II, and the Treaty of Moscow define launch vehicles as ICBM missiles, SLBM subs, and nuclear bombers. Each of these has a particular limit under those treaties. Currently, less than 100 bombers are permitted, and the Treaty of Moscow would make that even less, so it obviously can't be including F-16s. The current number of B-52s, B-1s, and B-2s only just barely makes it under there. A total limit of 500 wouldn't be very strict either: the Treaty

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          Those limits numbers are probably off by the way, I'm trying to remember them. I may have confused them with figures for the actual deployed hardware, which is probably close to the limits anyway.

        • Yes, START I & II specifically stated 'heavy bombers'. B-1, B-2, B-52 would be included, and not F-16/18/35.
          So...we reduce the overall number of launch vehicles to 500. Once you include sub and ICBM vehicles, the aircraft component could come down to some very low number.

          It will be interesting to see exactly what this treaty says.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Talderas (1212466)

      Sort of. That figure does include MIRVs, but those are also trying to be reduce/removed as well. Launch vehicles means missiles, but missile is not the only method by which to deliver a nuclear device. Remember in the 1950s when we have B-50s with nukes on board flying in the air for hours, periodically being refueled? Aside from being a show of force, it was a nuclear arsenal that couldn't be touched by a Soviet nuclear strike. Anyway, we still have aircraft delivered nuclear warheads, and the plane that c

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by YrWrstNtmr (564987)
        Anyway, we still have aircraft delivered nuclear warheads, and the plane that can deliver a warhead doesn't count against the launch vehicles limit.

        Under START I & II, aircraft did count as launch vehicles. Verifiable destruction to include slicing the wings off B-52's, and leaving the carcass outside long enough to be photographed by a Russian satellite. Also, onsite inspections at various air bases and missile launch facilities on both sides.
        • by Talderas (1212466)

          Aircraft do not count as launch vehicles. A launch vehicle is a rocket based delivery system. Both missiles and aircraft count as delivery vehicles. The devil is in the details, unless they're using some abnormal definition of launch vehicle. STARTI had separate provisions regarding the number of aircraft each side could deploy.

    • by readin (838620)

      Really? They're aiming for 500 launch vehicles. Are there even that many targets to nuke or does Bolton just want us to do it a few times over for the refried beans effect? Also, this is 500 launch vehicles and 1,500 warheads so I assume there are some MIRVs in there. I was under the impression that the whole defense aspect of nukes was to make retaliation too expensive for the other side to shoot first. If that's the case, 500 launch vehicles and 1,500 warheads would be enough to make anyone regret it.

      Th

    • by Hatta (162192) *

      Also, this is 500 launch vehicles and 1,500 warheads so I assume there are some MIRVs in there.

      A few are probably armed with Death's Heads too.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Really? They're aiming for 500 launch vehicles. Are there even that many targets to nuke or does Bolton just want us to do it a few times over for the refried beans effect?

      Start w/ 500 theoretical vehicles. 25% are non operational due to regular scheduled maintenance, waiting on spare parts, reconstruction/rebuilding, waiting on trained personnel to do a simple repair, paperwork screwed up, whatever.

      Of the remaining 375, we could attack with, we'd like to split into four distinct missions. Immediate counterattack/attack. Delayed counterattack, as in stop this foolishness or we pound you just as hard in a half hour. Deterrence against other "enemies" (so, we're fighting th

  • ...that America and Russia don't want to set the world on fire - they just want to start a flame in your heart?
  • Exactly what the difference between 1500 and 2200 nukes is? What has that really accomplished?
    • Exactly what the difference between 1500 and 2200 nukes is?

      Seven hundred nukes.

    • by u38cg (607297)
      Diplomacy. It's basically two new administrations getting to know each other in areas that they more or less agree on. The US can reduce stockpiles a long way with no significant military compromise, and Russia just needs to reduce its costs. And it looks very good to the masses.
    • 700 each. If you can't see that 1400 fewer 100kT+ nuclear weapons is a significant reduction, then you're being blinded by something and need to think about it a bit more. You'd be naive to think that the number will ever go to 0. It's not going to happen. You're also not going to get a single massive reduction to a small (100's) number. It's going to happen in steps, like this.

      We've dropped from a peak of > 21,000 nuclear weapons, nearly evenly distributed between the U.S. and the old U.S.S.R. K

      • If you can't see that 1400 fewer 100kT+ nuclear weapons is a significant reduction, then you're being blinded by something and need to think about it a bit more

        I don't think he's being blinded by anything. Without knowing how much damage each nuke can cause, or how many nukes it would take to wipe out the earth's population, it's perfectly reasonable to assume that 700 nukes may not be a "significant" reduction. It's a step in a good direction, sure, but I think the OP wanted details about how much destru

    • by will_die (586523)
      The actual number is less then that. The 2200 is the max under the treaty of moscow and 1500 is the min number under this new treaty, if it is agreed to.
  • Keeping Count (Score:5, Informative)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:22AM (#28606879) Journal

    START requires only that the weapons be deactivated, not destroyed. The US currently has over 4,000 "deactivated" nuclear weapons. Believe someone who used to shove them up a Buff's (B-52) belly, they can be reactivated in short order.

    Also, START is 'Strategic' Arms Reduction Treaty. It says nothing about tacticals, either battlefield or ship based weapons, or EMP devices.

  • by hessian (467078) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:47AM (#28607211) Homepage Journal

    Both sides are developing SDI/anti-missile defenses. This makes many of these weapons obsolete, as they no longer have a guaranteed first-strike capability.

    The old arms race was big missiles and bombers; the new arms race is drones and micro-cruise missiles.

    But it was a nice press opportunity for both men to come out smelling like roses while they quietly plan each other's destruction.

  • by NZheretic (23872) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:48AM (#28607235) Homepage Journal

    We have been told that because others in the West - and their advocates are here tonight - carry the fearful burden of a defence which terrorises as much as the threat it counters, we too must carry that burden. We are actually told that New Zealanders cannot decide for themselves how to defend New Zealand, but are obliged to adopt the methods which others use to defend themselves.

    Lord Carrington [the Secretary-General of NATO] made a case in Copenhagen recently against the creation of nuclear weapon free zones. He argued that if the people of the United States - as advocated by my friend over there - found themselves bearing the burden alone, they would tire of bearing it. Now that is exactly the point. Genuine agreement[s] about the control of nuclear weapons do not cede the advantage to one side or the other: they enhance security, they do not diminish it. And if such arrangements can be made, and such agreements reached, then those who remain outside those arrangements might well and truly tire of their insecurity. They will reject the logic of the weapon and they will assert their essential humanity. They will look for arms control agreements which are real and verifiable.

    DAVID LANGE, Oxford Union debate, 1985 [publicaddress.net]

    • I read through that, and he did not even once mention the Soviet Union, but only criticized the West. Typical 80s disarmament drabble, let's all lay down our weapons and then sunflowers and moonbeans will shoot out of everyone's ass. In 1985, the Soviets were falling desperately behind in technology, and the KGB (the only ones with accurate economic data) knew radical steps had to be taken. They had to "restructure" the economy to get more weapons production, and letting the population have a little bit
  • by Alzheimers (467217) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @10:08AM (#28607541)

    The only winning move is not to play

    How about a nice game of chess?

  • by twmcneil (942300) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @01:00PM (#28610199)
    I can recommend the book Epicenter of Peace by Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan. While Nazarbayev is not very well liked in certain circles for other reasons, the book is an interesting story of why he decided to lead Kazakhstan to denuclearization.

    One of the many things I learned from this book was the difference between nonproliferation and denuclearization. Kazakhstan didn't simply agree to store away the warheads like the U.S. and Russia have agreed to do, they dismantled them and shipped them entirely out of the country (basically to Russia and the U.S.). Then they dismantled the accompanying infrastructure, reseach facilities, education facilities, etc so that hopefully, nuclear arms would never again be deployed in Kazakhstan.

    It's an interesting story.
  • Question! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hesaigo999ca (786966) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @01:25PM (#28610559) Homepage Journal

    Would they be able to use up the dismantled nuclear materials to make another reactor with without having to pay for mining of the stuff...(plutonium, uranium, etc..), or is the materials wasted in the making of the warhead to begin with?

Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.

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