Originally posted by American Mad Man
Actually, just about everyone attributes the end of the cold war to Russia over spending in an attempt to keep pace with the US.
- Well there's an American talking!
No; my take on those days (and I'd be so bold as to suggest more than a few people here) attribute the end of the cold war to the advent of Mihail
Gorbachov and a desire to stop the dangerous and ultimately pointless channeling of vast amounts of the annual 'Soviet' and 'Warpac' countries'
budgets to arms.
I will say though that it is probably fairer to describe that as a point of view as much as anything I guess.
Neither of us can actually 'prove' it either way.
Generations of extended cold war would have eventually led us to nuclear war. No doubt about that.
- It's open to question, not a definite either way.
Whilst I'd say an on-going 'arms race' was capable of creating instability and leading to a large-scale conflict, each side for the most part
understood this and usually restrained themselves to some degree.
Certainly we had at least 2 generations of cold war without a global hot one.
On top of that, how many people are better off not living under soviet rule? How about east Germany? What of them and the dozens of countries
- Funnily enough, and hard as it might be for you to accept this, that's not a great example; more than a few ex-GDR people lament the passing of
their old communist state (as the strong support for those equivalents to the old communist party in elections in eastern Germany now
Simply sttated, you don't pick fights with clear superiors. You won't see a 3rd grade bully pick a fight with a high scool sports star, and
you won't see a country like Russia attack NATO if NATO is clearly stronger.
- But this is just simplistic silliness, AMM.
When you are talking about 'forces' at or around a pretty even balance either then attempting to move away from that to obviously gain a "clear
superiority" simply makes the situation about as dangerous as it can get.
Wrong. And the cold war proved you wrong. Build up and superiority ended the cold war coldly.
- Like I said IMO we all simply got very lucky, a few times at that.
As you yourself earlier pointed out we almost (on more than a couple of occasions) accidentally suicided the planet thanks to our absurd military
fetish and the resultant (wholly predictable) feeding of each others' paranoia.
Simply put, because if it wasn't for them, you would be soviet communists.
- I know you will insist on believing this but that doesn't necessarily make it so.
Or else why did every western European country ally with the US?
- I'd say things like the obvious historical, economic and cultural links have a lot to do with it (particularly when there were relatively so many
compared to Russia/USSR) and the whole almost 20th century long desire to isolate communist Russia.
If we are so bad, and are only going to get you nuked, your government surely would have realised this.
- Situations change; in any event it's not a question of always "being so bad".
Amounts of the 'trust' that existed post war to the mid 1970's evaporated as the US decided to pursue a more confrontational policy more and more
in accordance with her own narrow view.
Surely it is obvious (and only natural) that the whole idea of ones' position as 'leading' or 'leader of the free world' is somewhat eroded when
one consistently takes such a path more and more?
You can't have it both ways.
The fact is, you were reliant on the US for your defence, and because the US is great a great and noble ally, we put OUR country on the line
- Sorry, that's just an American opinion, not a fact at all.
We had our own deterrent (in France and the UK.....one we now know caused the old Soviets great 'pause for thought').
I do not deny the US contribution to Europe's cold war defence but your continual portrayal of this as some kind of selfless nobility is simply
partisan thinking stretching things too far.
It is undeniable that it generated huge political and economic benefits for the USA and was at least as much all about those interests as it was
anything to do with anybodies' actual 'defence'.
My how history is twisted. It was EUROPE in danger from the USSR, not America.
- There's nothing "twisted" about it; Europe being caught between the pair of you exposed her to dangers resultant from the 'adventures' of the
pair of you's.
Show me these "significant numbers of Americans in positions of power and influence" having 'day dreams' of nuclear wars. I want links with
specific quotes from the 80's.
- You don't need links AMM.
The fact that people were developing a new generation of 'first strike weaponry' (MX, B2, Pershing 2, Trident D5 etc etc) and necessarily then
planning (cos that is what military planners do) their use in a winnable 'first strike' attack is obvious.
Note there difference between a 'first strike' capable weapon and an actual attempt at a 'first strike' policy.
(Perhaps this is the nub of our disagreement here?
I contend that none of those supposedly 'first strike' wepons actually make a real 'first strike' attack possible anyway - despite their accuracy
and/or undetectability which gave rise to them getting that particular 'tag' in the first place - because they could never have destroyed enough of
the Russian retaliatory weaponry.
Nor they the USs' with their supposedly 'first strike' missiles.)
Yes - US intrests DO come first for America, just like French intrests come first for France and Russian for Russia.
- That kind of talk is fine when we are talking almost anything but, to all intents and purposes, human destruction.
We might at times be blind, pig-headed and stupid but we are none of us surely quite that
pig-headed, blind and stupid?
Dress it up however you like, but had certain members of the UN security panel not been on Saddams pay role, it would be the UN in Iraq
and not the coolition.
- Is this a debate about the UN and Iraq, now too?
Bottom line, according to UN LAW, Iraq was violating it's terms for peace. The UN under it's own law should have been compelled to
take action. Instead, Russia, China, and France chose their own interests over what was supposed to be done and called the US on it's bluff. We
- You (like many Americans.....when it suits) seem to have a little difficulty getting the point that simply being in breech (marginally) of UN
resolutions does not then automatically justify a war.
To move from there requires UN approval.
is actual UN "law".
(course when it is an American regional ally in breech or America prefers not to move because she thinks it will only make matters a thousand times
worse then that is a different story, right?
Funny, a few short posts ago you were saying that spies and assets could track any preparation for a first strike, but now they
- I'd contend that there is a world of difference between being able to build a picture of activity that warns and alerts you to the possibility of
a surprise attack and going so far beyond that that one will actually attempt to pre-empt and actually kick off and risk beginning armageddon/WW3 etc
Make up your mind Sminkey!
- Sorry but I think there is actually no contradiction between those comments.
Actually, it is proven that Saddam had a nuclear weapons program, hence, our reason to go in was perfectly justified. We have all of
his scientists, and they all say the same thing, "we would have had the bomb in under half a decade".
- There's an obvious and rather transparent little game of half-truth and a highly selective pick and choose going on in the US.
Yes, it is quite true that following gulf war mk1
the UN eventually found out that Saddam had a secret nuclear weapons program, but it was
uncovered, documented, stopped and destroyed.
That program had nothing
to do with gulf war mk2.
Except that no such move was made, Sminkey.
- Yes there was, 'tripwire' was NATO's nuclear policy, it was abandoned in the mid-1960's.
And yet you are the one saying that no one could survive a nuclear war. So I guess only weapons can survive, which are surely the primary
- Of course they were/are the 'primary targets' but that does not invalidate the policy each side held.
Each side has levels of 'stocks' in so many diverse locations (and don't forget the SLBM forces) that sufficient would be sure to survive.
Sure, the country would be killed but before it expired completely the retaliation would be sufficient to ensure no winners survived anywhere.
Sorry, but you are completely wrong here Sminkey. Just do a little research and look at the numbers. Every NATO commander agreed. If the USSR
made a move to invade western Europe, the only chance NATO had was the use of tactical nukes.
We simply didn't have the numbers to fend the Russians off.
- Well if they were the itching drooling predators you would have us believe we obviously had enough, eh?
Otherwise they would have attacked.
We did in fact have a sufficient balance of all categories of weaponry.
The proof is in the absence of an attack and subsequent WW3.
That state of relatively peacefull balance was maintained by each side trying to one up the other, Sminkey. Namely, the US and Russia getting
into a nuclear arms race.
- The "race" was the dangerous part of it!
Once a relative balance had been reached (1960's - to end 1970's) was possibly the safest point.
Egging each other on in that lunatic and pointless "race" was what led to the tensions, danger and instability.
The MX Peacekeeper was the greatest ICBM deterent the world has ever known. It was also a first strike weapon.
- I think you need to bear in mind the difference between a so-called 'first strike' weapon and an actual 'first strike' policy.
I am well aware of the term 'first strike weapon
' but that is not quite a policy (for which, yes, you do indeed 'need' first strike
As I keep saying, my point is that regardless of the munitions and their imagined capability an actual 'first strike' policy is a dangerous
delusional falsehood of the highest order.
The nuclear ballistic submarine is the greatest naval deterent the world has ever known. Yet again, another first strike weapon. The B-2
bomber is the greatest bomber deterent. First strike again.
The same goes for Russias high speed bombers. Those were first strike weapons.
- You can describe the weapons as 'first strike weapons' all you like but the point of a 'first strike policy' is one where one attempts to knock
out so much of ones' opponents' retaliatory capability that one need not fear said retaliation.
Given the enormously capable retaliatory responses available to 'east' and 'west' such notions are a rather childish fantasy (for anyone on either
side).......and that, after all, was the entire point of this thread.
It remains the stumbling block one cannot just wish away and it renders all this talk of B2s, stealth cruise missiles, MXs, Tridents, mobile ICBMs etc
etc just so much chat.
(an interesting chat I grant you but nevertheless it's like an elephant in the room, ignore it all you like but it is still there and very very
No, the attempt to gain such an ability is by it;s nature deterence. If you are vastly superior, you will not be attacked.
- You stand a good chance of raising tensions to the point of WW3 trying to move from a point of relative stability and balance trying to get to that
Which is what almost happened.
Like I said, IMO it was more luck than judgement that we didn't.
Not safe at all, hence we would not have attacked them
- Well, what are you on about then?
That is entirely my point about the inherent danger of the US policy at that point.
You are mistaken about RR. His whole strategy was to back Russia into a corner militarily so that they couldn't keep up, and then come
to them in a peacefull way. In that case he had the upper hand, and he made the rulse because Russia was at our mercy.
- As you said yourself; if it had been the other way around you guys you would have attacked (giving humanity and the world the horrors of WW3 etc,
incidentally) rather than wait for them to establish a clear "superiority".
They couldn't afford to keep up, so arms reductions were the best option for them.
- The option of arms reductions was always an open one; right back to the post Cuban crisis days of Kennedy and Kruschev.
Sadly each 'side' at times conspired to ensure there was no trust or appetite for them.
Better late than never I suppose.
[quote but had this program beem given uninterupted funding for the last 20 years, we would be much fursther along.
- OK, but that's just an opinion and a guess.
I would contend that considering the staggering amount of effort, man-hours (of some of the world's finest minds for nearly 30yrs now) and mountains
of money already expended that there is no such confidence to be had.
Just my opinion.
As it is now, we have laser technology which is nearly mature enough to deploy.
- Hmmm; not quite 'Star Wars' though is it?
I mean, laser tech pre-dated the RR announcements and all.
Had we continued to fund it, I think we would be at the point where 15 or so years from now, a viable multi-layer missle shield capable of
taking out, say two to four hundred ICBMs before they released their nuclear warheads would be there.
- OK, but once again an opinion (and on that stretches away off even further into the future).
..... and would you not say that 200 - 400 is but a drop in the ocean when compared to the estimates that put the USSR's nuclear arsenal once at
around 15- 20000 warheads?
And I must say that no one will care, since it will have yielded a shield that protects us from medium threats such as North Korea and
- We shall see and we shall also live in the hope it is never tested either way (although personally I do not see any possibility of a missile attack
from either....I happen to believe that, horrible as it might appear, 'deterrence' does actually work.
I'm not sure I know what you are speaking of
- I was referring to some press that claimed parts of SDI worked but had to be kept super-duper ultra secret which, given the purpose of the 'kit',
When talking about nucear deterence you do. Hell, none of ther air defence systems would be worth a damned by the time any bombers got to the
USSR. EMPs and thousands of MIRV warheads you know?
B-2's would do just time. You might even say it would be easy.
- Either you see a role for a manned bomber or you don't (and it's also true some aren't totally convinced either way but want them to try and be
Either way ICBMs are not the same.
The US flew missions over Russia with the Blackbird all the time.
I think the correct way of putting this is 'the US flew missions over but mostly near and around Russia with the Blackbird for a time'.
We had the technology in the 80's to make such a bomber (hell, we had one designed and flying before that), and at MUCH cheaper
- Yet the B70 was cancelled on cost grounds when it became very obvious it was going to cost vast amounts with no guarantee of combat
the only reason to go for stealth over speed is for surprise, and the only reason for surprise is for a first strike.
- No it is not true it is not the "only" reason.
Survivability is prime.
Seems more fantasy then fact to me.
- Not at all, really, it was a 'mainstream' view in the 1960's and 1970's.
Even the anti-matter bombs being worked on now wouldn't be that powerfull.
- No, you are on the wrong tack here, the actual idea of brute 'power' is not really the point (although to produce sufficient pollutants etc it
would indeed have to be large and powerful).
Actually, that is completely untrue.
Nuclear devices get less and less effecient as the yield gets to such extreme sizes. Otherwise Tsar bombs would be all anyone produced for strategic
- No it isn't, AMM.
I think you are getting hung up on the idea of 'efficiency' as well as combat effectiveness.
It is true that apparently several small 'kilo tonne' yield nukes can 'kill' a target (like a city or large military/industrial area) far far more
effectively and efficiently that one great big one of many mega tonnes, hence the birth of MRV and MIRV warheads each side moved to in the 1970's and
As for efficiency?
Tsar was a downscaled bomb from one capable of around twice the power. Even if absolute efficiency does decline with size so what?
What does it matter if the end result is an effective 'Doomsday device'?
It's not like one could hit some kind of limit and construct a nuclear weapon so large that it ceased to be functional!
The heat is something I would not presume to know much about, but I am sure if such a weapon was being worked on, it was theoretically
- Until they find a way to make an undetectable rocket launch and flight it is a key part of the US's and anybody else's method of detecting an
ICBM/SLBM/IRBM being fired.
As for the flight times... This is a fact - anywhere in the world in about an hour.
- Then I am mistake AMM; yes I know missiles are that fast but I thought you were referring to the B2s here.
As it goes though, I have a feeling we are going to be told to "stay on topic", so I won't get into the ability to 'win' a nuclear war
anymore here. If you would like to continue the conversation, let's do it in another thread.
- Nice one.
(just let me know where, eh?
(mind you I don't see how we are so far 'off topic'; surely the whole idea was originally all about B2s and where they fitted in with the
possibility of trying to carry out such a 'first strike' attack?)