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So now Iran has the bomb?(12 posts)

So now Iran has the bomb?eyebob
Feb 10, 2003 10:39 AM
Well, not yet, but with today's announcement that they will not longer be shipping their spent fuel rods to Mother Russia, they now are in complete control of their nublear facility. Which means just about anything goes.

How did we get here? The Russians helped to build their facility, but I'm not sure when. What role did we play? Some of the scholars of this board can surely help me with this bit of history.

What's this mean to our current status as "the Super Power?" It's been said that a country with a nuclear device not only has serious bargaining power, but they themself become a (military) Super Power. One need look no further than N. Korea for the role that having a nuke plays as a bargaining chip. I'm worried by the prospect of yet another nation having this capability while at the same time I'm comforted by the fact that Iran is becoming far more secular so (in theory) the idea of a religious fanatic taking charge is less.


Unfortunately, it's only a matter of time.sn69
Feb 10, 2003 11:04 AM
The nuclear geenie cannot be contained forever, and sooner or later various nations will develop the weapons and/or the capability to develop the weapons. Is that scary? Yes. In fact, it provides some measure of twisted perspective to the concept that the world may have been more stable during the Cold War.

Still, there will be other advances that will transcend even nuclear weapons for strategic power projection. I suggest running a web search on "virtual presence," specifically SSTO space plane application to power projection. The information is out there.... Being able to place a deep penetrating, GPS guided extreme-precision munition anywhere in the globe within 2 hours is fast becoming a reality. Likewise, the ability to fire projected energy weapons mated to the same technology goes far beyond the use of strategic nukes.

The greater fear, IMHO, is that these smaller, less conscious nations will tend towards nuclear weapons employment during tactical skirmishes, such as border disputes or civil uprisings. The human, evironmental and economic fallout will be horrid.
Here's a selfish question.eyebob
Feb 10, 2003 11:28 AM
Say a "small" nuke goes off in a border skirmish between India/Pakistan. What type of effect (environmentally) does it have on us here in the U.S.?

I've only heard it mentioned,...sn69
Feb 10, 2003 11:36 AM
...and never read of it personally, but it's my understanding that the big think tanks like RAND and CNA have studied various permutations of nuclear exchange that do not go global. In many cases, the presumption is that the "exchange" is nothing of the sort, but rather a one-sided use of a single device. Whatever,...the end result has always been said to be the same--mass global economic chaos in the ensuing diplomatic panic, human impact and environmental catastrophe. The thing with nukes is that they keep on killing. They are horror weapons in the extreme.

I'd like to believe that humanity would come together and forever ban the g#$amned things after such an event, but I'm not convinced. Nukes will continue to be the terrorists' star center on their dream team arsenal. ...And it doesn't matter if those terrorists are AQ, Hamas, Shining Path, the IRA, Action Directique, narco-commies, Aum Shinrykio, whomever....

Oddly, I have read some studies on the ensuing affects that a global extraterrestrial encounter or the second coming would have. Both are also catastrophic. Take that for what it's worth to ya.
Not sure I agree about environmental effectMcAndrus
Feb 11, 2003 5:58 AM
Not that I disagree entirely. There would be some environmental effect of a local and limited exchange. But being old enough to remember the real Cold War (50s and 60s) I also remember the extensive nuclear weapons testing by the US, USSR, France, and China.

Until the 70s, all of these weapons were exploded in the atmosphere. There was limited exposure to fallout from these bombs and the long term effects were - as far as I know - non-existent.

I do agree that if, say, India and Pakistan exchanged a couple of nukes that the political, cultural, and military fallout would be staggering.

Here's a fear factor that just popped into my head. Say India and Pakistan do each fire one nuke at the other. After the fact months go by and the world returns to a new form of normalcy. (Yes, the impacted areas would still be disasters.)

I cannot imagine a scenario where the western powers actually punish India and Pakistan for this action. We'll talk until the sky turns purple but we won't actually send in a fleet or drop the 82nd Airbone on them. The other limited nuclear powers like Korea, Iran, and maybe Iraq have just learned another lesson. They can use nukes without fear of real retaliation.
wrong lessonmohair_chair
Feb 11, 2003 7:35 AM
Seems to me that if India bombs Pakistan, Pakistan bombing India would qualify as retaliation. That would be the strongest possible message that you can't use nukes without retaliation. It cannot be interpreted any other way.
The bizarro irony is thatsn69
Feb 11, 2003 8:20 AM
the nukes we, the Soviets and even the French detonated were relatively clean, meaning they were controlled yeild explosions with highly sophisticated construction. Our atmospheric testing was often done at altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet, far beyond the affect of prevailing winds or weather patterns. The below ground testing was done in remote locations like the Nellis and Fallon ranges (although Fallon currently suffers from a childhood-onset luekemia rate that's more than 10 times the national norm...).

By way of comparison, the two nukes we dropped on Japan were dirty and were primitive. Those are the sort of weapons that newly emergent nuclear powers have. Thus, the residual affects would be fairly horrific and long-lasting.

But, the real tragedy is more closely related to the socio-economic infrastructure in the area. The Ganges, Tigris and Euphrates rivers are the epicienters for the vast majority of the populace in Iraq, Pakistan and India. Any sort of long-lasting radioactive or bio/chemical affect would spread throughout population concentrations along those conduits. The residual destrcutive capability would move where the water moves and will not be contained/localized. The death toll--immediate and eventual--would be staggering.
I see your pointMcAndrus
Feb 11, 2003 11:54 AM
I agree that clean high-atmosphere explosions are different than low-atmosphere dirty bombs. I guess what I'm trying to get to is that the environmental mess will be localized to some predictable area - based on weather patterns.

After all, the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombs did not cause any problems I'm aware of in greater Japan, the Phillipines, etc.

Not that I'm trying to minimize such an ugly scene but what would worry me more is the global economic and political panic. The reaction to 9/11 was a sharp downturn in the stock markets that lastest for months. And that was two tall buildings and a fallout area in lower Manhattan. Imagine the economic damage of a limited nuclear exchange that takes out all of New York, London, or Calcutta.

Gee, I just made my own day -- not.
"small nukes in Nevada"rwbadley
Feb 10, 2003 11:52 AM
Were going off frequently in 40's & 50's.

Do a google search for info.

Damage depends on the size and population in the area.

I think it would have much more of a terror effect on a world scale than an actual environmental effect. I am not saying there would be no fallout, or huge problems in the area., We don't know how many have been detonated over the years (quite a few), and we are here to tell about it.

What makes me nervous is the US is considering the use of small Nuke bunker busters. This will open a real can of worms and is the worst example of letting the genie out of the bottle.

delivery systemsDougSloan
Feb 10, 2003 11:55 AM
I suppose all we can hope for is to have some superior delivery systems, such that we can retaliate against any use of nukes by these countries.

That does make it difficult for us to ever justify their use, though. We really don't want to open that can of worms.

The real bitch is terrorists (even at the undisclosed behest/assistance of a nation) potentially using them, because we don't know where to retaliate. That's the new reality.

GW knowsSteve98501
Feb 10, 2003 12:44 PM
I agree. That's long been the puzzle of terrorism. What is the appropriate target for a military response? But GW's got it all figured out; just attack the "Axis of Evil." Except N. Korea, cuz that's got more obvious complications, apparently.

I can't seem to get it straight. Are we gonna' attack Iraq for U.N. resolution non-compliance? Or are we gonna' attack them because it's an appropriate response to 9/11? (Frustration at not having "gotten" bin Laden?)
Where to retaliate and would we?McAndrus
Feb 11, 2003 6:05 AM
My scenario is Iraq (or Iran if you prefer) has one or two nuclear weapons.

Their preferred use of these weapons is as bargaining tools, which is exactly what North Korea is doing now.

As evil as I think Saddam is, I don't think he's crazy ... unless .... unless .... unless he comes to believe we won't retaliate for the use of a nuke.

Would we?

Let's say Saddam manages to float one in in the cargo of a tanker into New York. Boom!

What would we do?

Send the troops into Iraq? Do you know for sure it was Iraq? Maybe is was Al-Qaeda. Maybe it was Iran. Maybe it was North Korea.

Okay, say we somehow prove it was Iraq and it's now months later and the world is still realing from the blow to the largest economic center in the world.

I predict we still would not retaliate - at least not with nuclear weapons. World Opinion (whatever that really is) would still feel dropping a nuke on Bagdad would be an inappropriate response.

If I were Saddam, I would not fear a nuclear attack from the US even under these conditions.