If you want to feel your blood run chill, read through Keir Lieber’s and Darryl Press’s essay on the nuclear state of the world in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs magazine.
Apparently, the United States is on the cusp of developing something called nuclear primacy, a technical term which means the ability to win a nuclear war based on a first strike. Nuclear primacy is the opposite of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction).
How did this come about? The Soviets stopped taking maintaining and updating their own nuclear forces (land, air and submarine). The US continued to update and expand their own nuclear capabilities, including development of a retaliatory strike shield (the ill-famed Star Wars) and the refinement of many stealth bombing capabilities (both planes and missiles).
The tipping point has apparently been reached. If the United States launched an all-out unannounced nuclear strike on Russia or China (Pearl Harbor in reverse), the United States would be likely to survive more or less unscathed.
The current and future U.S. nuclear force, in other words, seems designed to carry out a preemptive disarming strike against Russia or China.
Hopefully the Chinese, Russians and French all have subscriptions to Foreign Affairs magazine, as they all have some work to do if they don’t want to face regular nuclear blackmail within a year or two.
One thing is clear from this article – there is absolutely no need for a preemptive strike on Iran. Even if Iran had a small nuclear arsenal, there’s not much they could do with them, without assuring the complete and absolute annihilation of their country.
It also makes previous concern about the Joint Chiefs of Staff March policy paper on nuclear warheads dramatically understated.