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1 EiMitch  Sat, Jun 1, 2013 1:34:48pm

In other words, “Starship Troopers” style mini-nukes are real now. Or least very close to it.

2 jvic  Sat, Jun 1, 2013 2:08:55pm

Some kook will start ranting about slippery slopes. Bah!

Since it’s the prudent and responsible countries that are considering nukes, there’s nothing to worry about.

Besides, we’ve learned from history not to let minor skirmishes metastasize into catastrophic wars which everyone loses and no one wants. Of course we have.

So what could go wrong?

/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///

3 Decatur Deb  Sat, Jun 1, 2013 2:26:12pm

The problem is that the enemy gets a vote. Doctrine for both sides in the cold war held that any use of NBC weapons would be considered a go-for-broke situation. The only way a war could be ‘limited’ in that scenario is if a nation with a lot of nukes launched on one with few nukes. That’s not a situation you would want to explain to the world afterwards.

4 Romantic Heretic  Sat, Jun 1, 2013 3:14:12pm

MAD might have been mad, but it worked.

It’s funny. People who talk about unlimited war, which is pretty much the only way the ‘experts’ think of war these days, seem to believe that atomic war can be limited. For such smart, well educated people, they’re kinda dense.

5 Varek Raith  Sat, Jun 1, 2013 3:14:37pm

Frankly, this is bullshit.
Any use of a limited nuclear strike by our enemies against us would be met with a full scale nuclear attack.
Give me a break, we certainly wouldn’t limit ourselves.

6 stabby  Sat, Jun 1, 2013 3:15:49pm

One gets the impression that Iranian leaders aren’t very good a tactics.

Nukes only make them safer if everyone is sure that they won’t use them unprovoked. Otherwise having them tips the calculus toward us being forced to destabilize the regime or even invade.

I find it hard to imagine that the Chinese would risk collapsing the economic system by fighting the US.

7 Decatur Deb  Sat, Jun 1, 2013 3:32:51pm

re: #6 stabby

One gets the impression that Iranian leaders aren’t very good a tactics.

Nukes only make them safer if everyone is sure that they won’t use them unprovoked. Otherwise having them tips the calculus toward us being forced to destabilize the regime or even invade.

I find it hard to imagine that the Chinese would risk collapsing the economic system by fighting the US.

Madhouses liked Iran and North Korea are not designed to make sense when viewed from the outside. Their actions probably make wonderful sense as responses to internal dynamics—which we outsiders don’t know.

8 Political Atheist  Sat, Jun 1, 2013 3:33:55pm

There has been another threshold point discussed and that is low yield nuclear torpedoes. That serves to kill a carrier with one shot and a SSBN full of nukes itself. There is some doubt this would be detected like air bursts or underground tests.

A possible gambit for the Chinese is take out the carrier and the missile cruisers and that’s it for our sea power advantage for weeks.

9 Decatur Deb  Sat, Jun 1, 2013 3:40:56pm

re: #8 Political Atheist

There has been another threshold point discussed and that is low yield nuclear torpedoes. That serves to kill a carrier with one shot and a SSBN full of nukes itself. There is some doubt this would be detected like air bursts or underground tests.

A possible gambit for the Chinese is take out the carrier and the missile cruisers and that’s it for our sea power advantage for weeks.

We can hear a whale fart halfway around the world. We’d notice a loud thump and a missing carrier. Operation Crossroads showed a pretty decent yield was need to put down a warship. The cruiser Prinz Eugen survived a close-in Hiroshima-scale airburst and the shallow underwater Baker device.

10 Dark_Falcon  Sat, Jun 1, 2013 7:09:02pm

The real need to plan for ‘limited nuclear war’ would focus on two points:

1. How we cope if a couple of notable cities were to be nuked. This would focus on alternate paths for transportation and commerce, disaster relief and large-scale NBC decontamination.

2. This would be more controversial and would involve the development of small, relatively ‘clean’ nukes for use against ultra-hard targets, things that cannot be taken out conventionally.

11 vidugavia  Sun, Jun 2, 2013 1:30:59am

Both Mossad and CIA agree regarding the lack of evidence that Iran seeks nuclear weapons. My question is what superior sources Freedberg use to state that they do.

haaretz.com

12 vidugavia  Sun, Jun 2, 2013 1:58:15am

re: #7 Decatur Deb

Madhouses liked Iran and North Korea are not designed to make sense when viewed from the outside. Their actions probably make wonderful sense as responses to internal dynamics—which we outsiders don’t know.

Pathologizing enemies generally isn’t a good way of understanding them but it is a good way to mentally exclude other options than violence in dealing with them. Nearly everyone the US has bombed the last century has been “mad”.

Iran isn’t North Korea. Their internal dynamic is much different. The nuclear program and military policy is, within certain boundaries, debated quite openly within Iran and it isn’t hard at all to make sense of the different competing positions if you make the effort.
articles.washingtonpost.com

13 stabby  Sun, Jun 2, 2013 2:40:21am

re: #12 vidugavia

Is debate a meaningful term in a country where democracy is entirely for show? The President isn’t even the leader, but how long did it take to count the ballots that made him winner, oh right, they didn’t bother with counting.

14 stabby  Sun, Jun 2, 2013 2:48:08am

Also the reason that so many people write articles saying that the Iranians are rational is that the evidence points in the opposite direction and the authors are afraid that this fact will lead to war.

It’s funny that there are lots of situations where people say something precisely because the opposite is true.

I’m not expert on the Iran/Iraq war, but things I’ve read make it seem as if Iran prolonged that war for no rational reason.

15 Decatur Deb  Sun, Jun 2, 2013 3:09:26am

re: #12 vidugavia

re: #14 stabby

I don’t pretend to fully understand the governing rationale in DC, let alone Tehran, though I dealt with Defense undersecretaries and such for years. DPRK and Iran seem mad, if differently mad, only from the external perspective.

Iran is presumed to run on some collective rationality because the regime has survived turbulence (even that prolonged war) and its leaders have died in bed. That’s not an easy task for a madman.

16 vidugavia  Sun, Jun 2, 2013 4:13:08am

re: #14 stabby

I’m not expert on the Iran/Iraq war, but things I’ve read make it seem as if Iran prolonged that war for no rational reason.

Your speaking about a apocalyptic war, 25 years ago, directly following the iranian revolution.

Interesting to see a presumed american discussing the rationality behind prolonging a conflict in order to once and for all to remove the threat of Saddam Husseins Iraq.

Could someone of you americans explain the clear rational policy behind the war of 1812? :-)

17 vidugavia  Sun, Jun 2, 2013 4:37:42am

re: #13 stabby

Is debate a meaningful term in a country where democracy is entirely for show? The President isn’t even the leader, but how long did it take to count the ballots that made him winner, oh right, they didn’t bother with counting.

Debate and democracy isn’t the same thing. Even some really autocratic rulers see the profit in letting people discuss important issues.

The democratic parts of the iranian system isn’t just for show but they are walled in by theocratic checks and balances. One of the reasons for the survival of the islamic republic is the existance of a mostly active constitutional system that regulates the iranian elites. This can for example be seen in the controversial 2009 election where Ahmadinejad not only was criticized by reformists but also by conservatives that were afraid that he would destroy the balance of the system.

I actually think that Ahmadinejad won a majority in said election but not at all at by the large margin that was reported.

18 Randall Gross  Sun, Jun 2, 2013 9:44:04am

The war wouldn’t be against us, most likely if there were a limited war it would be in the subcontinent of Asia (Pakistan v India) or the Middle East.


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