reply to post by victor7
I would doubt that China still has only 20 nukes to deal with its adversaries.
The problem isn't nuclear warheads.
Commies do not think like that.
I'm sure communism is the root of their strategic nuclear planning....
They sure have several hundreds in the underground. Pak alone has 100-120 warheads and so has India. Israel has more than 200.
If you look at the source article, you'll see that they have a total estimated arsenal between roughly 500 and 800 nuclear warheads, total.
The issue is that they only have a small number of delivery systems. Further, not all warheads are made equal. Most of those are tactical yield
nuclear warheads - below 20 kilotons.
The real costs of maintaining a nuclear arsenal come from the delivery systems necessary to make them relevant weapons. The ICBM made the
intercontinental nuclear bombers 'obsolete' - their role being converted to the delivery of tactical yield nuclear missiles. However, the missiles
are far more complex than the warheads they carry. They cannot rely on any radio homing system as the ionized gasses created during more intense
portions of the boosting phases and upon re-entry interfere with any kind of guidance signals (not to mention the difficulty in transmitting these
signals around the planet).
ICBMs rely on inertial navigation systems that are technologically complex. Older systems (likely still in use by the chinese) still utilize inertial
masses (as opposed to the more accurate Laser Ring Gyroscopic systems) and must be very well maintained if you want to land the nuclear weapon in the
city (let alone aim for some kind of landmark - a good LRG could land you within a cubic centimeter of where you wanted to go from a ballistic launch
around the planet).
Beyond that, you have the electromechanical controls for the rocket, which must be able to provide a very stable boost phase, etc. Since most of
these are liquid fueled, as well - they require considerable ground support to keep them in a mission ready state.
Further - China still sees itself as poised for an economic MADD policy against the U.S. (the only western power they would potentially consider a
nuclear war with... Argentina isn't exactly posing much of a threat to them). It doesn't make much sense for them, with that perspective, to
develop costly long-range missiles that would only really be used against one country they can simply target with trade sanctions.
Somewhere I read China has 3000 nukes stashed away in secret sites.
You're talking about a very interesting (and controversial) project.
Led by a hard-charging professor, a former top Pentagon official, they have translated hundreds of documents, combed through satellite imagery,
obtained restricted Chinese military documents and waded through hundreds of gigabytes of online data.
The result: the largest body of public knowledge about thousands of miles of tunnels dug by the Second Artillery Corps, a secretive branch of the
Chinese military in charge of protecting and deploying ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads.
Journalism, apparently, isn't dead.
However, it's not without its criticism.
There is, certainly, stuff to go on. However, the report did neglect to do the science on the industrial footprint the manufacture of new missiles,
new warheads, and other major issues involved in a substantial arms buildup (that would, likely, already be tracked by intel analysts).
If 911 caused a $500B instant damage and threw US into recession then I do not know what would a dozen nukes do. The economic system is like a
chain reaction itself, too many structures are inter winded together. One goes off the other is ready to go off automatically.
There was a slight down-turn following some drops in stocks. However, the -real- economy is productivity. You'll find that nuclear weapons are an
even larger motivator that capital investment.
As for cascading failure:
In dynamic architectures (people), cascading failure is only a temporary disruption as load is shifted to surviving nodes (which then adapt).
Node/network dynamics are an interesting and relatively new area of research and modeling. The models are known for being very reliable in
forecasting social and economic behavior under various stressors.