Think it’s difficult to start a nuclear holocaust?

❝ Serving as a US Air Force launch control officer for intercontinental missiles in the early Seventies, First Lieutenant Bruce Blair figured out how to start a nuclear war and kill a few hundred million people…When he quit the Air Force in 1974, Blair was haunted by the power that had been within his grasp, andhe resolved to do something about it. But when he started lobbying his former superiors, he was met with indifference and even active hostility. “I got in a fair scrap with the Air Force over it,” he recalled. As Blair well knew, there was supposed to be a system already in place to prevent that type of unilateral launch. The civilian leadership in the Pentagon took comfort in this, not knowing that the Strategic Air Command, which then controlled the Air Force’s nuclear weapons, had quietly neutralized it…

❝ …The system the military designed was “structured to drive the president invariably toward a decision to launch under attack” if he or she believes there is “incontrovertible proof that warheads actually are on the way.” Ensuring that all missiles and bombers would be en route before any enemy missiles actually landed meant that most of the targets in the strategic nuclear war plan would be destroyed—thereby justifying the purchase and deployment of the massive force required to execute such a strike.

Interesting, scary, well-researched in-depth work of journalism. Take the time to read it. Please.

Most Americans, I am certain, haven’t the slightest clue about any of the information contained in the “unsafety procedures” actually in place to manage the largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

51 thoughts on “Think it’s difficult to start a nuclear holocaust?

  1. Error 404 says:

    “Then came a burst of white light that seemed to fill the sky and seemed to last for seconds. I had expected a relatively quick and bright flash. The enormity of the light and its length quite stunned me. My instantaneous reaction was that something had gone wrong and that the thermal nuclear [sic] transformational of the atmosphere, once discussed as a possibility and jokingly referred to a few minutes earlier, had actually occurred.”
    James B. Conant on Trinity (1945) http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/2012/07/16/conant-on-trinity-1945/

  2. Stranger than Fiction says:

    “On visits to the Russian capital during the halcyon years between the Cold War’s end and the renewal of tensions in the twenty-first century, he learned that the Soviet Union had actually developed a “dead hand” in ultimate control of their strategic nuclear arsenal. If sensors detected signs of an enemy nuclear attack, the USSR’s entire missile force would immediately launch with a minimum of human intervention—in effect, the doomsday weapon that ends the world in Dr. Strangelove.” (from “How to Start a Nuclear War : The increasingly direct road to ruin”)
    Re: Bruce G. Blair see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_G._Blair
    “What Exactly Would It Mean to Have Trump’s Finger on the Nuclear Button? : A nuclear launch expert plays out the various scenarios.” By Bruce Blair (June 11, 2016) https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/06/2016-donald-trump-nuclear-weapons-missiles-nukes-button-launch-foreign-policy-213955
    p/s: William Bassett, an unknown U.S. Air Force Captain, may have saved humanity from accidental nuclear obliteration in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis. https://theintercept.com/2015/10/28/how-one-air-force-captain-saved-the-world-from-accidental-nuclear-war-53-years-ago-today/ “…If the story is true, Bassett is a hero on par with Vasili Arkhipov and Stanislav Petrov, both mid-ranking Soviet military officers who prevented the accidental use of Russian nuclear weapons during moments of excruciating U.S.-Soviet tension.”

  3. CRM 114 says:

    “Air Force silent after huge meteor hits earth near US military base” (News Corp Australia Network August 4, 2018) https://www.news.com.au/world/air-force-silent-after-huge-meteor-hits-earth-near-us-military-base/news-story/e5c78414a6634d04f5309be949ef42f2 “NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed an object of unspecified size travelling at 24.4 kilometres per second struck earth in Greenland, just 43 kilometres north of an early missile warning Thule Air Base on the 25th of July, 2018. Director of the Nuclear Information Project for the Federation of American Scientists, Hans Kristensen, tweeted about the impact, but America’s Air Force has not reported the event.”
    Hans Kristensen@nukestrat [2:14 PM – 1 Aug 2018] “Meteor explodes with 2.1 kilotons force 43 km above missile early warning radar at Thule Air Base. https://twitter.com/RonBaalke/status/1024371681106620416 … HT @Casillic We’re still here, so they correctly concluded it was not a Russian first strike. There are nearly 2,000 nukes on alert, ready to launch.”
    Mr Kristensen argues it’s concerning there was no public warning from the US government about the incident. “Had it entered at a more perpendicular angle, it would have struck the earth with significantly greater force,” he writes on Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/mystery-meteor-reportedly-explodes-21-kilotons-above-us-military-base-2018-8

  4. Cassandra says:

    “One day in 1961, an American economist named Daniel Ellsberg stumbled across a piece of paper with apocalyptic implications. Ellsberg, who was advising the US government on its secret nuclear war plans, had discovered a document that contained an official estimate of the death toll in a preemptive “first strike” on China and the Soviet Union: 300 million in those countries, and double that globally.
    Ellsberg was troubled that such a plan existed; years later, he tried to leak the details of nuclear annihilation to the public. Although his attempt failed, Ellsberg would become famous instead for leaking what came to be known as the Pentagon Papers – the US government’s secret history of its military intervention in Vietnam.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/sep/19/shell-and-exxons-secret-1980s-climate-change-warnings
    “As we flirt with nuclear war for the first time in decades, @DanielEllsberg releases perhaps the most authoritative work ever produced on the subject (he helped write the plans!).”
    Edward Snowden @Snowden 2:55 PM – 4 Dec 2017 https://twitter.com/Snowden/status/937817703951355905?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E937817703951355905%7Ctwgr%5E373939313b73706563696669635f73706f7274735f616374696f6e&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ellsberg.net%2Fdoomsday%2F

  5. Oscar G. says:

    “In one of the darkest moments of the Vietnam War, the top American military commander in Saigon activated a plan in 1968 to move nuclear weapons to South Vietnam until he was overruled by President Lyndon B. Johnson, according to recently declassified documents cited in a new history of wartime presidential decisions.” (New York Times 10/6/18) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/06/world/asia/vietnam-war-nuclear-weapons.html
    The story of how close the United States came to reaching for nuclear weapons in Vietnam, 23 years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced Japan to surrender, is contained in “Presidents of War,” a coming book by Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian.
    “Johnson certainly made serious mistakes in waging the Vietnam War,” said Mr. Beschloss, who found the documents during his research for the book. “But we have to thank him for making sure that there was no chance in early 1968 of that tragic conflict going nuclear.”
    The new documents — some of which were quietly declassified two years ago — suggest it was moving in that direction.

  6. Plan R says:

    “Almost Everything in “Dr. Strangelove” Was True.” By Eric Schlosser (The New Yorker. Jan 17, 2014) https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/almost-everything-in-dr-strangelove-was-true Eric Schlosser is the author of “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety,” from 2013, and a producer of the documentary “Command and Control,” from 2016. https://www.newyorker.com/contributors/eric-schlosser

  7. 10/27/62 says:

    “The Photographs That Prevented World War III : While researching a book on the Cuban missile crisis, the writer unearthed new spy images that could have changed history” (Smithsonian) https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-photographs-that-prevented-world-war-iii-36910430/ “…As long as the president knew the missiles were not yet ready to fire, he had time to negotiate.
    That changed on October 27—Black Saturday—when the CIA informed Kennedy for the first time that five out of six medium-range missile sites on Cuba were “fully operational.” (The analysts reached this conclusion by monitoring progress made on the missile sites, even though they still did not know where the [thermonuclear] warheads were.)”

  8. Countdown says:

    “Are the rules which have stopped nuclear war broken?” (BBC News 3/14/19) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-47553876 “We are moving in a minefield, and we don’t know from where the explosion will come.” A warning from former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov delivered at this week’s influential Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington DC. Former US senator and long-time arms control activist Sam Nunn echoed the sentiment. “If the US, Russia and China don’t work together,” he argued, “it is going to be a nightmare for our children and grandchildren.”
    “…Many conference speakers stressed that it was not simply that the old arms control edifice was crumbling; nor that wider tensions between the nuclear superpowers were growing.
    It was not even just the challenges posed by a rising and more assertive China or growing rivalries between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.
    They fear something new and dangerous is looming.
    Just as the old arms control order is collapsing, novel high-tech challenges are already here. Consider highly accurate conventional missiles flying at hypersonic speeds, cyber-weapons, the potential militarisation of space, the impact of artificial intelligence, and so on.
    The whole warning system on which deterrence rests could be undermined.
    As Mr Nunn put it: “In this new era, we are much more likely to have war by blunder or miscalculation – by interference from third parties – than from a deliberate premeditated attack.”

  9. Rah, Rah, Sis Boom Bah says:

    Afghanistan has said the United States should clarify comments by President Donald Trump, in which he said he could easily win the Afghan war by wiping out the country but did not “want to kill 10 million people”. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/07/kabul-seeks-clarification-trump-comment-afghan-war-190723100952964.html Trump made the remarks on Monday at the White House, where he was hosting Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.

    • Kill4Peace says:

      “Nuclear war between India and Pakistan would launch a global climate catastrophe : Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe” (American Association for the Advancement of Science Oct 2, 2019) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-10/aaft-nwb093019.php In a related editorial, Science Advances Deputy Editor Kip Hodges highlights how, unlike in the days of the Cold War, when only a few countries were capable of starting a nuclear war, nine countries now possess a total of nearly 14,000 nuclear warheads. With respect to India and Pakistan, the deteriorating relationship between these neighboring countries puts south Asia–and the rest of the world–at risk.

  10. Doomsday says:

    “Air Force-Affiliated Researchers Want to Let AI Launch Nukes : Will an AI reminiscent of “Dr. Strangelove” deter the enemy from mounting a nuclear attack?” https://futurism.com/researcher-give-nuclear-codes-ai See also: America Needs a “Dead Hand” https://warontherocks.com/2019/08/america-needs-a-dead-hand/ and “Modernizing U.S. Nuclear Command, Control and Communications” http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/a2dd91_ed45cfd71de2457eba3bcce4d0657196.pdf

  11. p/s says:

    The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in mid-June 2019 briefly published the Pentagon’s official doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons. The joint chiefs quickly pulled the document — Joint Publication 3-72, Nuclear Operations — from the public website. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/hello-there-americas-military-accidentally-revealed-their-nuclear-warfare-doctrine-134682
    “The document presents an unclassified, mostly familiar overview of nuclear strategy, force structure, planning, targeting, command and control and operations,” commented Steven Aftergood, an analyst with the Federation of American Scientists. https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2019/06/nuclear-operations/
    Joint Publication 3-72. Nuclear Operations. June 11, 2019. https://fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/jp3_72.pdf
    Situation Room (Washington Post, October 2019. Photo Shealah Craighead/AP)

    • Back burner says:

      “North Korea’s Kim vows to further bolster nuclear war deterrence: state media” https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/north-korea-s-kim-vows-further-bolster-nuclear-war-deterrence-n1213936 “North Korean leader hosted a military meeting to discuss new policies to bolster the country’s nuclear capabilities amid stalled denuclearization talks with the United States, state media reported Sunday.
      The Chinese government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, expressed hope that the United States and North Korea could resume meaningful dialogue as soon as possible.
      “We hope that all parties, including the United States, would seriously consider it, and not squander away the hard-earned results of (previous) engagement,” Wang told a media briefing in Beijing.”
      See also “North Korea, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Instability: Strategic Issues for Managing Crisis and Reducing Risks” (38 North May 15, 2020) https://www.38north.org/2020/05/nkinstability051520/

  12. Santayana says:

    In early 1967, a JASON committee consisting of Freeman Dyson, Robert Gomer, Steven Weinberg, and S. Courtney Wright wrote a 60 page report on “Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Southeast Asia,” considering what could and couldn’t be done with the bomb.
    In 1984, Peter Hayes was doing background research for what later became “Pacific Powderkeg: American Nuclear Dilemmas in Korea”. In a keyword search of the US Defense Technical Information Service, the citation for the JASON study caught his eye. He promptly filed a US Freedom of Information Act request on the Pentagon for the study.
    The document finally became available on December 4, 2002, nineteen years after the first request. https://nautilus.org/essentially-annihilated/

    “Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Southeast Asia” Institute for Defense Analyses, JASON Division, March 1967 http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/1967-JASON-Tactical-Nuclear-Weapons-in-Southeast-Asia.pdf

  13. "Last Post" says:

    “Vera Lynn, singer and British forces’ ‘sweetheart,’ dies aged 103” https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/18/uk/vera-lynn-dead-gbr-intl-scli/index.html
    During her coronavirus address to the nation on April 5, Queen Elizabeth quoted Lynn’s famous wartime song, saying the UK should take comfort in the fact “better days will return, we will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again, we will meet again.”
    See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vera_Lynn

  14. Pika-Don says:

    “U.S. Must End Nuclear ‘First Strike’ Policy” By Greg Mitchell (Newsweek opinion 8/24/20) https://www.newsweek.com/us-must-end-nuclear-first-strike-policy-opinion-1527038
    “…The policy signals that any U.S. president has the authority, without consulting anyone, to order a pre-emptive nuclear strike—not merely in retaliation if and when missiles start flying in our direction. Our warheads could be launched in defense of allies, after the onset of a conventional war involving our troops (think: Iraq, 2003) or in response to a bellicose threat posed by a nuclear (e.g., North Korea) or not-yet-nuclear state (e.g., Iran).”

    “The Beginning or the End : How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” By Greg Mitchell (Kirkus review May 1, 2020) https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/greg-mitchell/the-beginning-or-the-end/
    Amazon: “One of Vanity Fair’s 21 Best Books of 2020” (along with “Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-Up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World” By Lesley M.M. Blume)
    “The shocking and significant story of how the White House and Pentagon scuttled an epic Hollywood production.
    Soon after atomic bombs exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, MGM set out to make a movie studio chief Louis B. Mayer called “the most important story” he would ever film: a big budget dramatization of the Manhattan Project and the invention and use of the revolutionary new weapon.
    Over at Paramount, Hal B. Wallis was ramping up his own film version. His screenwriter: the novelist Ayn Rand, who saw in physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer the model for a character she was sketching for Atlas Shrugged.”

  15. Ok, boomer... says:

    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Friday that the world is living “in the shadow of nuclear catastrophe,” fueled by growing distrust and tensions between the nuclear powers. (AP 10/2/20) https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-iran-nuclear-nuclear-weapons-india-antonio-guterres-46b2e72691a43d8950eaff925c4402ee The U.N. chief told a high-level meeting to commemorate the recent International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons that progress on ridding the world of nuclear weapons “has stalled and is at risk of backsliding.” And he said strains between countries that possess nuclear weapons “have increased nuclear risks.”
    As examples, Guterres has expressed deep concern at the escalating disputes between the Trump administration and China. Relations between the U.S. and Russia are at a low point. Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan are feuding over Kashmir, and India just had a border skirmish with China. And North Korea boasts about its nuclear weapons.
    Without naming any countries, Guterres said programs to modernize nuclear arsenals “threaten a qualitative nuclear arms race,” not to increase the number of weapons but to make them “faster, stealthier and more accurate.”
    (10/6/20): “The Pentagon Wants Stealth Rocket Fuel. Could It Trigger A Nuclear War?” https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelpeck/2020/10/06/the-pentagon-wants-stealth-rocket-fuel-could-it-trigger-a-nuclear-war/#478cb1f44e24
    “The Day Nuclear War Almost Broke Out : In the nearly sixty years since the Cuban missile crisis, the story of near-catastrophe has only grown more complicated. What lessons can we draw from such a close call?” (The New Yorker, October 12, 2020 Issue) https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/10/12/the-day-nuclear-war-almost-broke-out

  16. Pop says:

    As widely expected, North Korea unveiled new missile capabilities during its military parade on October 10, marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers Party. But the specific new missiles revealed were a surprise: a road-mobile, liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) much larger than previously known North Korean systems and a new solid-propellant submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). https://www.38north.org/2020/10/vdiepenmelleman101020/
    This paper provides an initial assessment of each of the two missiles based on the limited information currently available. Parading these two systems around has an obvious political messaging component; however, operationally, the rationale for such a very large ICBM is unclear and the new SLBM would only add marginally at best to the already sizable regional threat from North Korea’s land-based missiles.

    Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 4:05 PM · Jan 2, 2017
    “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!” https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/816057920223846400

  17. 4therecord says:

    “WarGames for real: How one 1983 exercise nearly triggered WWIII : Say hello to the KGB software model that forecasted mushroom clouds.” https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/11/wargames-for-real-how-one-1983-exercise-nearly-triggered-wwiii/
    “…a newly published declassified 1990 report from the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) to President George H. W. Bush obtained by the National Security Archive https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/nukevault/ebb533-The-Able-Archer-War-Scare-Declassified-PFIAB-Report-Released/ suggests that the danger was all too real. The document was classified as Top Secret with the code word UMBRA, denoting the most sensitive compartment of classified material, and it cites data from sources that to this day remain highly classified. When combined with previously released CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), and Defense Department documents, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB426/ this PFIAB report shows that only the illness of Soviet leader Yuri Andropov—and the instincts of one mid-level Soviet officer—may have prevented a nuclear launch.”

  18. Oopsie says:

    Department of Defense documented accidents involving U.S. nuclear weapons (1950 – 1980) https://www.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=96097370cde9486a918725bbd2257fab
    The full accounts of these accidents are reported in the publicly available document:
    “Department of Defense Narrative Summaries of Accidents Involving U.S. Nuclear Weapons 1950-1980.” http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/filer_public/67/d8/67d8e5ce-78fe-4b95-922a-bb669d0947d7/_cc_broken_arrows.pdf

  19. ...button, button says:

    “Russian missile drill triggers false alarm at US military base in Germany” (3:08 PM ET, Tue December 15, 2020) https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/14/politics/russia-missile-drill-false-alarm-us-base/index.html

    …Fifteen years after the Cuban Missile Crisis William J. Perry entered government service as undersecretary of defense for research and engineering — essentially, chief technology officer for the Department of Defense.
    It was at this time that a second seminal event occurred that helped solidify his commitment to nuclear disarmament. Another call came, this one from an Air Force general at 0300 hours — 3 a.m.
    Perry was told the United States appeared to be under attack. Warning systems were lit up, signaling that hundreds of Soviet missiles were only minutes away from raining warheads down on America.
    “That was one of three false alarms I know about. I don’t know how many occurred in the Soviet Union,” he said. “Any one of those might have turned into nuclear war.”
    …”I came to believe we were avoiding nuclear war as much by good luck as by good management. And the fate of the world depending on just good luck seemed very unreasonable to me. I had a mounting apprehension that we would go to nuclear war by miscalculation, or by accident, and that these nuclear weapons which were designed for our security were really a danger — not just to our security, but really to the existence of civilization.” https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2011/11/10/william-j-perry-a-cold-warrior

  20. DEFCON says:

    (Jan. 8, 2021 at 11:45 a.m. MST) “Live updates: Pelosi says she spoke to nation’s top military leader about ensuring Trump doesn’t launch a nuclear attack” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/08/capitol-biden-trump-live-updates/
    “Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told her House colleagues Friday that she had spoken to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, about keeping an “unstable president” from accessing the nuclear codes.
    Col. Dave Butler, a spokesman for Milley, confirmed that the conversation with Pelosi took place but offered little elaboration.
    “Speaker Pelosi initiated a call with the Chairman,” he said in a statement. “He answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority.”
    In a conference call with House Democrats, Pelosi elaborated on her conversation and said she was “assured that there are safeguards in place.”

    “The process to launch a nuclear strike does not proceed through the typical military decision-making chain of command that requires input and approval from many officials. Instead, the process is set up to move as quickly as possible so military officers can execute a decision that only the president can make.
    The infrastructure to launch an attack is carried in a heavy black briefcase, called the “football,” that a military aide carries everywhere the president goes. Inside is communications equipment to allow the president to talk to the National Military Command Center, a sealed packet with a piece of paper inside called a “biscuit” that contains an authentication code to certify that the order is coming from the president, and a basic pamphlet of pre-set military responses. The simplicity of the set up is designed for the president to make a decision in a matter of minutes.
    The launch processes are intended to move so quickly that there is no second-guessing or canceling an attack once the decision is sent.” https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/08/pelosi-trump-take-away-nuclear-codes-456529

    “So what happens to the “nuclear football” that accompanies the president if Trump doesn’t show? How does it get to Biden?
    “That’s a good question,” Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of American Scientists, told Insider. “It is an unprecedented situation.” In the nuclear age, no president has skipped their successor’s inauguration.” https://news.yahoo.com/heres-happens-nuclear-football-trump-215524753.html

  21. Bigger Bang says:

    Revisiting the “Tsar Bomba” nuclear test : 60 years after the historic detonation, a historian offers a fresh interpretation. https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/12/revisiting-the-tsar-bomba-nuclear-test/
    Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey and author of Restricted Data: The History of Nuclear Secrecy in the United States, has analyzed recently declassified documents pertaining to the US response to Tsar Bomba during the Kennedy administration. He described his conclusions in a fascinating article recently published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the test. https://thebulletin.org/2021/11/the-untold-story-of-the-worlds-biggest-nuclear-bomb/
    “…Designed to have a maximum explosive yield of 100 million tons (or 100 megatons) of TNT equivalent, the 60,000-pound monster bomb was detonated at only half its strength. Still, at 50 megatons, it was more than 3,300 times as powerful as the atomic bomb that killed at least 70,000 people in Hiroshima, and more than 40 times as powerful as the largest nuclear bomb in the US arsenal today. Its single test represents about one tenth of the total yield of all nuclear weapons ever tested by all nations.
    …The Tsar Bomba is not just a subject for history; some of the same dynamics exist today. It is not just the story of a single weapon that was detonated six decades ago, but a parable about political posturing and technical enablement that applies just as acutely today. In a new era of nuclear weapons and delivery competition, the Tsar Bomba is a potent example of how nationalism, fear, and high-technology can combine in a fashion that is ultimately dangerous, wasteful, and pointless.”

  22. Mike says:

    “In a dramatic escalation of East-West tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian nuclear forces put on high alert Sunday in response to what he called “aggressive statements” by leading NATO powers.
    The order means Putin wants Russia’s nuclear weapons prepared for increased readiness to launch and raises the threat that Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and the West’s response to it could boil over into nuclear warfare.
    …The practical meaning of Putin’s order was not immediately clear. Russia and the United States typically have the land- and submarine-based segments of their strategic nuclear forces on alert and prepared for combat at all times, but nuclear-capable bombers and other aircraft are not.
    If Putin is arming or otherwise raising the nuclear combat readiness of his bombers, or if he is ordering more ballistic missile submarines to sea, then the United States might feel compelled to respond in kind, according to Hans Kristensen, a nuclear analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. That would mark a worrisome escalation and a potential crisis, he said.”
    https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-business-europe-moscow-2e4e1cf784f22b6afbe5a2f936725550
    Putin threatened in the days before Russia’s invasion to retaliate harshly against any nations that intervened directly in the conflict in Ukraine, and he specifically raised the specter of his country’s status as a nuclear power. See NYT Feb 24, 2022 https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/24/world/europe/us-putin-nuclear-war-nato.html

  23. Oopsie says:

    9 November 1979: Computer errors at the NORAD headquarters in Peterson Air Force Base, the Strategic Air Command command post in Offutt Air Force Base, the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon, and the Alternate National Military Command Center in the Raven Rock Mountain Complex led to alarm and full preparation for a nonexistent large-scale Soviet attack.
    NORAD notified national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski that the Soviet Union had launched 250 ballistic missiles with a trajectory for the United States, stating that a decision to retaliate would need to be made by the president within 3 to 7 minutes. NORAD computers then placed the number of incoming missiles at 2,200. Strategic Air Command was notified, and nuclear bombers prepared for takeoff.

  24. Ashes2Ashes says:

    CIA Director William Burns said Thursday that the U.S. cannot “take lightly” the possibility that Russia could use tactical nuclear weapons as it grows more desperate in its military attack on Ukraine.
    “Given the potential desperation of [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons,” Burns said Thursday following a speech at Georgia Tech.
    The CIA chief noted, however, that the U.S. has not yet seen “practical evidence” of Russia moving to use such weapons. https://thehill.com/policy/defense/3267819-cia-director-us-cant-take-lightly-possibility-of-russia-using-nuclear-weapons/

  25. Kuzma's mother says:

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia has successfully tested the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, saying the weapon capable of carrying nuclear charges will make Kremlin’s enemies “think twice.”
    The Sarmat — dubbed Satan 2 by Western analysts — is among Russia’s next-generation missiles that Putin has called “invincible,” and which also include the Kinzhal and Avangard hypersonic missiles. https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/04/20/sarmat-missile-will-make-russia-foes-think-twice-putin-a77427
    It is speculated that the Sarmat could fly a trajectory over the South Pole, completely immune to any current missile defense system and that it has the Fractional Orbital Bombardment (FOBS) capability.

  26. Seventh Seal says:

    Retired General Wesley Clark shares his opinion for how to stop Putin from using a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine.

  27. La-dee-dah says:

    “Putin Ally Announces First City Russia Will Strike if World War 3 Starts
    Andrey Gurulyov, a former deputy commander of Russia’s southern military district, made the comment during a discussion about Lithuania’s blockade of the neighboring Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.” https://www.newsweek.com/putin-ally-first-city-russia-strike-world-war-3-ukraine-1719157
    “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought the threat of nuclear warfare to the forefront. But how would modern nuclear detonations impact the world today? A new study published today provides stark information on the global impact of nuclear war.” https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/958087
    “Nuclear war would rewire the physical, biological and ecological states of oceans
    Rutgers scientist helps produce world’s first large-scale study on how nuclear war would affect marine ecosystems” https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/958225

  28. Ante up says:

    “The United Kingdom’s national security adviser, Stephen Lovegrove, has warned of the growing risk of nuclear confrontation with Russia and China, amid a breakdown in the backdoor communication channels that helped maintain peace during the Cold War.
    Speaking in Washington, DC, Lovegrove said that the lack of dialogue was taking place at a time when there were not only a “broader range” of strategic risks, but also more “pathways to escalation” as a result of advances in science and technology, the proliferation of weapons, and increasing rivalry in areas such as space.” https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/28/uk-adviser-warns-of-nuclear-risk-amid-communication-breakdown

  29. By the bye says:

    “Some two-thirds of the world could starve to death in the event of a nuclear war between Russia and the United States, according to a Rutgers University-led study published Monday. Nuclear conflict would lead to “catastrophic” disruptions in food supplies, as sun-blocking soot and ash wilt crops around the world, researchers wrote in the peer-reviewed study published in the journal Nature Food.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/08/16/us-russia-nuclear-war-global-hunger/
    “Even a smaller-scale nuclear war between Pakistan and India would devastate food supplies, slash global production by 7 percent within five years and kill up to 2.5 billion people. Food insecurity in these cases would be deadlier than the nuclear blasts, the study predicts.
    “The data tell us one thing: We must prevent a nuclear war from ever happening,” climate scientist Alan Robock, co-author of the study, said in a statement.”

  30. Sexual metaphor says:

    “Inside the $100 Billion Mission to Modernize America’s Aging Nuclear Missiles” https://time.com/6212698/nuclear-missiles-icbm-triad-upgrade/
    …“Americans have forgotten about the inherent danger of nuclear weapons,” says Lindi Kirkbride, 73, a Wyoming activist who led demonstrations in the 1980s against the military’s last attempt to replace ICBMs. “Younger people don’t seem to realize these weapons pose the same existential threat to the world as global warming.”

  31. Countdown says:

    “Russian Sees Only One Reason Putin Won’t Start Nuclear War” https://www.newsweek.com/russian-anton-shalaev-one-reason-vladimir-putin-wont-start-nuclear-war-1745903
    ‘An Army of Zombies Is Leading Us to Hell’ : An interview with a Moscow professional who just quit Russia to escape Vladimir Putin’s military draft.
    The Atlantic, Sept 23, 2022) https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/09/russia-exile-putin-military-draft/671541/

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