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In the event of a war between nuclear powers, would there be a nuclear exchange?

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posted on Feb, 25 2008 @ 11:51 AM
I think the subject line is a very interesting question. Although the conventional wisdom seems to be that a war between nuclear powers will inevitably result in a nuclear exchange, is this necessarily true? I submit that it may not be, because either side would be greatly hesitant to initiate a process that would lead to the defeat of all sides in the conflict. Nevertheless, it's very much subject to debate.

What do y'all think?

posted on Feb, 25 2008 @ 03:07 PM
Of course not. In a limited war -- such as India-Pakistan over Kashmir or similar -- nobody would be interested in that kind of escalation. There are parallels with other wars in recent decades where one or both sides has deliberately held back from excessive destruction where there is no political benefit.

posted on Feb, 26 2008 @ 09:41 AM
reply to post by Wembley

I think this is an alarming discovery. If MAD won't stop, say, America from going to war with China or much longer until war erupts?

posted on Feb, 26 2008 @ 10:48 AM
who really the knows the answer to this question?

I mean in the end it comes down to who is the craziest, who has enough "balls" to push the button. Pretty much nuclear weapons are just a deterrent or a symbol of power.

But if you believe such things, maybe in the end of time those who are in power will use them to prolong the inevitable. Or maybe wipe out a particular amount of the worlds population

A mass use of nuclear weapons is in my opinion unlikely, but they could be used in a time of world war to take out a strategic target, or end the war just like with japan.

posted on Feb, 26 2008 @ 11:39 AM
I would have to agree with Blitz. There is no telling what could happen when the bullets start flying. Saner minds may prevail and militaries back down after a few intense engagements. Or the conflict may continue until one side is on a losing streak and they feel the best way to stop the enemy's oncoming forces is to use a tactical nuke (not strategic nuke, big difference).

Heck, Israel probably has many contingency scenarios of using nuclear assets during escalated conflicts. After all, the last war they were in they were facing multiple countries on multiple fronts.

What would happen if a conflict between India and Pakistan spilled over multple countries in the region, including Russia and China? Or what if China decides to invade Taiwan (which they have been planning since the mid 90s)? Things can easily change over night.

posted on Feb, 26 2008 @ 11:45 AM
reply to post by guppy

I'm really nervous about the standoff in the Balkans, which is the main reason I ask this question.

posted on Feb, 27 2008 @ 05:15 PM
Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not either side believes it would have a realistic chance at destroying the other's nuclear deterrent while taking relatively mild losses in the process. If either side believes that, yes, a nuclear war would probably occur, because one or both sides would have an incentive to launch a first strike.

It can really be broken down into 2x2 game theory, with the two sides given the choice to a) launch first or b) standby and fight a conventional war. If at any time, the consequences of fighting a conventional war become worse than launching a nuclear first strike, that side will launch a nuclear first strike. Its pretty much that simple.

posted on Feb, 27 2008 @ 05:16 PM
[removed double post]

[edit on 3/3/08 by masqua]

posted on Feb, 27 2008 @ 05:27 PM
Absolutely, there would be multiple exchanges of nuclear weapons.

The reason is that the fear of nuclear weapons is highly over exaggerated in the minds of people. The USA could easily absorb several nuclear hits and the vast majority of people would have to read about it in the newspaper to learn this happened.

Once the fear of nuclear war has been diminished, replaced by hatred, the chances of global nuclear war increases.

Picture a knife fight. You get cut once or twice -- you realize you aren't dead yet! You continue fighting, absorbing a few more cuts in your anger.

The really bad news -- eventually you are cut so badly that you die. That wasn't something you saw when you were first cut.


I have no doubt that once a single nuclear bomb detonated, there will be more. The USA would take ten hits, deliver ten in return. As we checked and controlled our fear, the number would escalate to become hundreds or perhaps thousands of nuclear explosions, to the ultimate extermination of global civilization and perhaps humanity itself.

(Not a pretty thought, but I think it is the likely senario.)

[edit on 27-2-2008 by Buck Division]

posted on Feb, 27 2008 @ 05:49 PM
In my opinion, why would you use nuclear weapons to destroy an infrastructure that you would later want to use yourself?

I mean, if the Soviet Union had atomic weapons at the end of WWII, would they have used them on Germany? I don't think so, Russia went in and took everything they wanted from Germany and held it down, pinned. If they had nuked the country, they would not have been able to proceed freely and mold Eastern Germany into what they wanted.

Same goes for now, you don't go to war with nukes because at the end of the war you would want to take what you want without the worry of radiation and it being destroyed.

Also, nuclear weapons aren't really tactical at all anymore, technology now permits us to place small yield weapons accurately and effectively on targets (like bunkers and bases) all the while watching out for collateral damage. At least while two super-powers are involved.

Nuclear weapons simply put, are mere deterrents.

Shattered OUT...

posted on Feb, 27 2008 @ 05:56 PM
reply to post by ShatteredSkies

If we're talking about a US/Russia conflict, I don't think either really has any intention of occupying the other. If a nuclear war were to occur, its likely that both would suffer so much damage as to be incapable of occupying the other.

In a scenario where a large-scale nuclear war occurs, I think there are only two real objectives; a) ending the threat posed by the other side, and b) minimizing damage to your own side.

posted on Feb, 27 2008 @ 06:05 PM
Well I'm talking about a regular war and I presented my idea on why a nuclear exchange would not occur, so because it wouldn't be a nuclear war, then yeah I'd think the victor of that conflict would occupy the other nation and siphon off as many resources as possible, Russia after all does have oil.

That doctrine also I believe is moot here. In nuclear war, the means does not justify the end, because if you're going to attempt to minimize as much damage to you as possible, you're gonna need to launch a heck of a lot of nuclear devices and it's almost guaranteed that neighboring nations would feel the effects.

Then other nations would step in and before you know it, you have an all out World War which you cannot minimize damage to yourself any longer, so your means to an end has pretty much just been shat on.

Of course, just my opinion.

Shattered OUT...

posted on Mar, 3 2008 @ 05:18 AM
The one thing which concerns me about these scenarios is pre-delegation ... I'm unsure what the position is nowadays but certainly during the Cold War commanders in the field already had authority to use nuclear weapons in the event of a "bolt out of the blue" attack.

During the Cuban missile crisis & unknown to the US President & strategists, the Russians had already pre-delegated authority to their commanders in Cuba & instructed them to use battlefield nuclear weapons against any US invasion force. Their use would have led to nuclear retaliation. Where would that have ended ? And who knows what orders have been given to Indian/Pakistani/Chinese nuclear forces ?

IMHO conventional war between nuclear powers will simply slip slide into nuclear war by ignorance, miscalculation or simple human error.

posted on Mar, 3 2008 @ 06:21 AM
reply to post by ShatteredSkies

that because the military define a `tactical` nuclear weapon as one thats used in germany - and how far are german towns apart? about 5 kilotonnes....

posted on Mar, 3 2008 @ 07:33 AM
A nuclear weapon, no matter which way you look at it, is a strategic device.

Shattered OUT...

posted on Mar, 3 2008 @ 10:46 PM
As others have pointed out, war between two nuclear-armed states does not, in itself, imply a nuclear exchange...India / Pakistan is an excellent example. This implies that under the right conditions, a war might stay conventional. The fact that Israel hasn't used its nuclear arsenal to put paid to one or more of their neighbors also lends credence to the idea that (for whatever reasons, usually political and / or economic) nuclear weapons aren't the first choice to settle disputes.

With that said, there's one circumstance that virtually guarantees the deployment of every nuclear device available. Someone above me came close to it when he asked whether (assuming they had the capability) the Russians would've used nuclear weapons against Germany in World War II. The better question would be whether the Germans would have used nukes against an invading Russian army...and the obvious answer is "Bet yer backside!". No nuclear armed state is going to go down to ultimate defeat without using its nuclear weapons. To revisit an example mentioned earlier, India and Pakistan had a war that didn't escalate to a nuclear long as they were fighting along their border. Let the Pakistani army get within shouting distance of New Delhi, and you'll more than likely see mushroom clouds.

It's far too late to make a long story short, but I can summarize it. Would a war between nuclear armed states involve nuclear weapons? Answer: Under most conditions, the odds are heavily against it...but in one condition (that of decisive strategic defeat), almost inevitably.

posted on Mar, 3 2008 @ 10:55 PM
There is no way in my opinion that there would be nuclear exchange in the event of war between nations with nuclear capabilities.

What would be the point?

The countries participating in the nuclear exchange would both face total annihilation and they would know that. Even if some thought they could escape this nuclear holocaust by hiding in a bunker, who would want to spend the rest of their life down there trying to avoid all of the radiation?
The only reason nations have them is because they are a deterrent. If no countries had them there would be no need for them. But because one nation has them, others need them as well to keep any one nation from ruling.

posted on Mar, 3 2008 @ 11:05 PM
The world of politics is elleghorical and follows some very weird lines of action.

When nuclear powers have a "war", they use proxies. They fund and train up some third world nations and they are pitted against one another. These flashes happened all throughout the 60's, 70's, and 80's.

India hasn't waged war on a nation in over 5,000 years, so they are not a concern. Pakistan, Iran, N. Korea...they are a concern.

Russia will follow the above described model. The others don't have enough firepower to blow their tally's off.

posted on Mar, 7 2008 @ 01:01 PM

Originally posted by ShatteredSkies
A nuclear weapon, no matter which way you look at it, is a strategic device.

Shattered OUT...

Depends on how well you can employ it. Say a serious penetrator with a little bomb on it - gauge it so that you can take out an underground laboratory without anything but a bump and an implosion, and there's no collateral damage, no picturesque mushroom cloud, no radioactive fallout, nothing for people to complain about, but one less centrifuge enrichment place in the world....

posted on Mar, 7 2008 @ 02:20 PM
I was under the impression that underground bases were strategic targets.

And even if they weren't, how do you gauge a nuke to do less damage? Have you done it? And if you would even go that far to avoid collateral damage, why not just simply use C4/Satchel charges? It seems cheaper and simpler to use plastic explosives instead of a nuclear device, kind of defeats the purpose in my opinion.

Shattered OUT...

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