Wanted: Sane Policy on Nukes
Posted on December 21, 2016
The US has around 7,000 nuclear weapons.
Under any reasonable military theory we actually need well under 200 at most. 100 is a better guess.
I’m still waiting for any national politician to propose a unilateral cut to 200 warheads. Having too many warheads is dangerous and very expensive. Obama has approved a trillion dollar upgrade on them, for no discernible reason.
Modeling suggests that 100 relatively small nuclear explosions would be enough to cause a nuclear winter that killed between 20% and 50% of the world’s population. In other words, 100 nukes plus associated delivery systems to all intents and purposes constitutes a doomsday machine. It should be (but apparently isn’t) inconceivably stupid to claim that any increase in destructive power beyond a doomsday machine would create a stronger deterrent against aggression.
For the foreseeable future, trident nuclear submarines are essentially immune against a first strike. We do not need backup warheads or overkill.
Overkill would probably make the post-nuke world even worse, without in any sense increasing its deterrence value.