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U.S. nuclear advantage is a major problem in the Club.

Why do I say this?

Because Nuclear weapons are still the most potent military tools on Earth, and they will remain central to geopolitical competition into the Future. There are far from Relics of the Cold War.

Great-power political competition is heating up once again, and as it does, nuclear weapons will once again take center stage.

The writing is already on the wall. Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea are modernizing or expanding their nuclear arsenals, and Iran is vigorously pursuing its own nuclear capability. As Yale University political scientist Paul Bracken notes, we are entering a “second nuclear age” in which “the whole complexion of global power politics is changing because of the reemergence of nuclear weapons as a vital element of statecraft and power politics.”

Competition between nuclear powers is like a game of chicken, and in a game of chicken, we should expect the smaller car to swerve first, not so these days.

Let’s look at the United States. The Inventor of Atom Bomb/ Nuclear Power.

There is little point in examining the History other than to remind ourselves that the opening for signature of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — occurred in 1968, at nearly the peak of the U.S. arsenal’s size. And, remember, 177 countries have never pursued nuclear weapons at any point, including when the United States possessed more than 30,000 warheads.

So I am going to concentrate on the present day.

Nuclear weapons have not been central to America’s national security for the past two decades because its primary foes — Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and al Qaeda — did not have them.

To day the number of countries believed to host U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons are Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

A report released in January by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) – The United States has a total inventory of 4,650 nuclear weapons, including nearly 2,000 actively deployed warheads. Russia has roughly the equivalent. In contrast, China possesses an estimated 300 nuclear weapons, or roughly 6 percent of the U.S. stockpile.

A recent estimated put the cost of the modernization plan for the current U.S. nuclear arsenal, including operating costs, life extension programs for nuclear weapons and procurement of new delivery systems to replace aging elements of the strategic triad is estimated to be ( over the next three decades at roughly $900 billion a decade)  $1.1 trillion.

This expansion comes under a president who campaigned for “a nuclear-free world” and made disarmament a main goal of American defense policy.

Remember The Nobel committee, citing his disarmament efforts, announced it would award Mr. Obama the Nobel Peace Prize. ( 13/DEC/2009)

The Trillion Dollar Nuclear Triad, details the administration’s plans to spend at least $100 billion for 100 new long-range strategic manned bombers, and a further $30-40 billion to build the nuclear bombs and cruise missiles to arm them.

These weapons are irrelevant to the most urgent security challenges the United States and its allies face in the 21st century, including cyber threats, weak and failing states, global pandemics such as Ebola, climate change, terrorism and more.

On the other hand it could be said that the number and role of nuclear weapons  in U.S. security although reduced still provide important security benefits to the United States and its allies. The prospects for moving to lower levels than those in New START now appear limited.

The big question is:  Can the United States trust itself not to start a nuclear war, it doesn’t want to make a Russian or Chinese leader feel the need to “use ‘em or lose ‘em.”

According to a Department of Defense report, there have been at least 32 “accidents involving nuclear weapons.”  And the report only counts US accidents which occurred before 1980.

These “nuclear accidents” –which the report defines as  “unexpected event[s] involving nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons components”–  have occurred over the Pacific Ocean (twice), over the Atlantic Ocean (twice), and over the Mediterranean Sea;  they’ve happened on the territory of their allies in Spain, Greenland, England, Morocco, an another undetermined overseas base;

Here are a few declassified accounts that occurred between 1950 and 1968 of aircraft-related incidents in which nuclear weapons were lost, accidentally dropped, jettisoned for safety reasons or on board planes that crashed.

In 1957 a nuclear bomb fell through the bomb bay doors of a B-36 bomber near Kirkland Air Force Base, New Mexico.  The bomb fell 1,700 feet to the ground and its high explosives detonated, showering fragments as far as one mile from the impact point.

In 1958 a B-47 “accidentally jettisoned an unarmed nuclear weapon” which fell and detonated on a garden owned by the Gregg family in Mars Bluff, South Carolina.

In 1960 a 47-foot-long BOMARC air defense missile (which could be readied to launch within minutes) caught fire at McGuire Air Force Base near Trenton, New Jersey.  According to the New York Times, the missile “melted under an intense blaze fed by its 100-pound detonator of TNT… The atomic warhead apparently dropped into the molten mass that was left of the missile, which burned for forty-five minutes.”

Two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs that were accidentally released in 1961 from a U.S. Air Force B-52  broke up in midair over Goldsboro, North Carolina. Neither bomb detonated, but each had a yield of 3.8 megatons; the detonation of one would have been some 260 times more powerful than the weapon dropped on Hiroshima.

Only a single switch” prevented the nuclear detonation of these two 24 megaton device.

In 1966 a B-52 carrying four nuclear weapons crashed into a KC-135 aircraft over Palomares, Spain.  Two of the bombs did not explode and were eventually recovered after a search described as “the most expensive, intensive, harrowing and feverish underwater search for a man-made object in world history.” Two of the bombs’ high explosive material exploded on impact with the ground.  The explosion –though conventional– released substantial amounts of radioactive materials. 1400 tons of soil and vegetation were eventually removed and transported to the United States.

On September the 19th 1980 during a routine maintenance in a Titan silo an Air force repairman dropped a heavy wrench socket. The socket struck the missile causing a leaf from a pressurized fuel tank. Eight and a half hours later the vapors within the silo ignited and exploded, with the loss of one life which could have been thousands.

 

This small sampling of harrowing accounts clearly chinks the counter-intuitive and commonly argued position that nuclear weapons actually make the world a safer place.  It reminds us that the shattering blast and fiery rain of a nuclear detonation may not occur because of war, terrorism, or miscalculation, but rather, because of something more common: an “accident.

And as If you are not already horrified the Warheads in the nation’s stockpile are an average of 27 years old.

After recent training failures, at least 82 missile launch officers are facing disciplinary action for cheating when examined on launching procedure.

Combine this with security missteps, leadership lapses, moral problems and stunning breakdowns in discipline it is no wonder that it prompted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to demand action to restore public confidence in the nuclear force.

The above Nuclear plant ( The Kansas City Plant) was built-in World War II to produce aircraft engines and went nuclear in 1949, making the mechanical and electrical parts for warheads.  ( Its computer systems are so out of date they that here is hardly anyone left who knows how to operate them.)
 
So where does all of this leave us:

As Iran’s leaders decide whether to push forward with, or put limits on, their nuclear program the exact number of nuclear weapons in global arsenals is not known.

With little exception, each of the nine countries with nuclear weapons guards these numbers as closely held national secrets. What is known, however, is that more than a decade and a half after the Cold War ended, the world’s combined stockpile of nuclear warheads remain at unacceptably high levels estimated to be 16,000.

The American nuclear umbrella over nations in Asia and the Middle East, which has instilled a sense of military security and kept many from building their own arsenals is now useless.

Few people differentiate between having 10 million dead, 50 million dead, or 100 million dead. It all seems too horrible. However, it does not take much imagination to see that there is a difference.

This video below sum up the danger of the USA Nuclear Weapons.

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