Bluffing 101
Who Has the Best Nukes?

Vladimir Putin does!

Published on: March 2, 2018
Karina Orlova is a contributing writer to The American Interest and the Washington DC correspondent for Echo of Moscow radio.
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  • AbleArcher

    Putin has been drinking again. Russia doesn’t have the best nukes. The best nukes are accurate, reliable, SLBMs, and Russia doesn’t have a good Ohio-class analog let alone the future Ohio replacement, the Columbia-class. The rest is all yickity yack. Been reading about USN super fast and super long range torpedo work for years, and this all sounds like the Pak Fa debacle. Ohhhh gonna be so big and so bad. Really an F22 analog. Yawn. Yeah a big flop.

    • KremlinKryptonite

      Indeed, neither Russia nor anyone else has a real competitor to the Ohio-class on which I served, or their future replacement to be sure. The closest competitor by size and scope would be Russia’s Akula (typhoon) class of which there’s precisely one, and it’s no longer armed with its outdated nuclear weapons.

      The newer Borei class come to mind, but they are sort of a lazy/half-hearted attempt by the Russians to modernize and replace multiple submarine classes with one new class. Rarely a good idea. There are less than a handful even finished, and they were meant to be more of a competitor with the Ohio class. Seems the Ohio replacement will come to fruition before the Borei program does. In fact, they’ve already had to make an upgraded version of the Borei due to poor stealth among other problems, a sort of Borei B, and it’s named Prince Vladimir. Awe.

      In fact, due to their decades long struggle with submarines, the Russian nuclear force is structured rather differently. Obviously more emphasis on land-based systems, and not without some good reason from their perspective. Of course, that’s as far as strategic weapons go. For the tactical/non-strategic weapons, it’s no real surprised that more of those are deployed along borders with Mongolia/China and North Korea in mind. Additionally, the volunteer component of Russia’s military, that is the better part, is deployed in the same areas. By contrast, the conscripted force is facing Europe. Tells you a little more about what’s really going on.

      • AbleArcher

        I suppose that’s why they built road mobile systems along with silo based. But still stuck on land.

        • KremlinKryptonite

          Mobile launchers are not a great idea. Perhaps they were 40+ years ago. They almost happened in America, twice! Too many disadvantages even 30 years ago. Too expensive. Too much risk for sabotage and other security concerns. And their one advantage 40+ years ago was that they were better at hiding. That’s simply not the reality today or for decades now. The NRO and NGA can track road mobile nukes very well, and so too can the USN with its own highly classified methods.

          80, 90 or even 100 ton trucks cannot drive just anywhere. They can’t cross most bridges and even tear up the countryside which is easily tracked! Also, per the various START treaties, road mobile ICBMs are restricted to military bases anyway. So many netizens seem to have this misconception that the old Topol missiles are just driving around Russia’s vast landscape aimlessly, waiting for doomsday. Well they may be waiting, but they’re going to be wiped out just as any silo based weapon these days if Russia is victim of a first strike.

          • CheckYourself

            Oh yeah haha. The little Russian fanboys who probably just played Ace Combat as the Russians too much cannot shut it about the missiles and planes. SU-35 this. SS-18 Satan missile that. Blah blah blah.

          • KremlinKryptonite

            Oh I know exactly what you mean. Most of them don’t seem to realize that the US deployed it’s own heavy ICBM for 20 years. It was called the Peacekeeper, and it, too, could carry more than a dozen MIRVs/warheads. The problem is that such a missile no longer makes sense. With New START and older limitations on warhead deployment, the best place for warheads is on an SLBM.

            Look at Russia’s nuclear force. With so many warheads still deployed on land, taking out a single SS-18 with what, 10, 12, 14?! warheads with one or two well targeted American warheads just did them a lot of damage, and it was totally worth it from an american first strike perspective. Juicy target. That’s why the US only has one warhead on each of the Minutemans these days, as opposed to the Tridents which house multiple warheads. The minuteman force is there really as sitting ducks. An enemy thinking about a first strike on the US must deal with them, and they’ll spend at least one, but more likely two or more, of their own warheads trying to take them out. Meanwhile, even if they destroyed 100% of the Minuteman force (highly unlikely) they spent so many of their own warheads and haven’t even crippled the most potent element of the US nuclear forces.

          • AbleArcher

            Never thought of it like that. That’s so true! And enemy would have to worry about the 400 Minuteman missiles, but it would take at least one or two even of their own warheads just to wipe each of those missiles out. That’s at least 400-800 of their warheads gone just for the Minuteman missiles, and they aren’t even that important to the US force these days.

          • Z’ing Sui

            Well all this is true, but I doubt Russia is contemplating a first strike on US. That’s why most of these new systems unveiled by Putin make a lot of sense as a retaliation strike option, not so much in a first strike scenario. All Russia really wants is to keep its deterrent, thus the frustration with US global ABM plans, thus the worry about US Prompt Global Strike possibly disarming Russia in a blow.

            A nuke IC torpedo would not trigger US ABM and carry a huge warhead, probably tuned to maximum irradiation of affected areas. Unlimited range cruise missiles make Russian small ships and diesel subs a second strike option, making US first strike much less likely. And heavy land-based ICBMs? Well I imagine a HS glide vehicle weighs more and takes up more space than a normal warhead, so the Russian silo force would be a mix of 10+ standard warheads configuration and say for example 3-warhead HS glide vehicle ones, or possibly even mixed configurations with HS warheads meant for more well-defended and high-value targets.

          • KremlinKryptonite

            Just want to separate out three different things being discussed, for clarity.
            PGS is not a nuclear weapons development program. It is, in fact, abbreviated CPGS for Conventional Prompt Global Strike. The idea is to create a completely conventional, new platform with which the US can strike [imagine some taliban stronghold previously unknown] without having to use a strategic bomber or drone (which generally require at least someone’s boots on the ground to laser designate a target).

            Then we get to the issue of glide vehicles (for nukes) – a separate issue. Anyone with intercontinental or intermediate range missiles has hypersonic weapons, as the warheads reenter well north of Mach 5. Try Mach 25.
            You see, and perhaps you well know, when the warheads are released by the missiles’ bus, ie., when the warheads are in post-boost phase, they are nearly indistinguishable from decoys near to them. Developing methods for better target discrimination while the warheads are in this phase is at the very forefront of BMD.

            The idea of creating a hypersonic glide reentry vehicle is not even a new one. it would extend this sort of invisibility range by extending the length of this post-boost flight stage. Russia, China, India, the US (and therefore UK) are working on it. It’s kind of a tall order. Take a Russian, Chinese or American warhead designed in the 1970s or 1980s and try to fit it into a flatter reentry vehicle? It might not be possible to make these things work to a certainty without testing a new warhead design. You won’t find me complaining because I would love to conduct a few underground tests of the US stockpile. I still somewhat remember the last test in 1992. I was pretty young, but i recall hearing about it, and that’s a long time. A test is long overdue anyway imho.

            Then you’ve got the interest in creating some hypersonic conventional/potentially nuclear cruise missiles, like a new Brahmos, etc. well, good luck to them. Not a game changer by any stretch the imagination if it will ever come to fruition. And then there’s the problem with both America’s CPGS as well as any new nuclear armed Russian hypersonic cruise missiles. Mistakes. These weapons would be useless against a great power adversary unless you’re willing to start a nuclear conflict with that adversary. Even the US using CPGS to target something in Afghanistan, for example, could be misinterpreted.

          • Z’ing Sui

            Yeah I’d say I’m aware of all that. US focus on ABM and a desire for an ability to hit targets quickly on a strategic depth with programs like CPGS are the main rationale behind Russia’s updates on its strategic deterrent, in my opinion. And when Putin changed the Russian doctrine from nukes used only in response to a nuke strike to Russian military now being allowed to respond to a conventional strike ‘that threatens the existence of the Russian state/nation’, it got many people in the West worried. But really what is meant here I think is Russia reserves the option to use nukes in response to its deterrent being targeted, or in the case of the now potentially possible conventional decapitation strike.

            The second-strike nature of all the new weapons fits that picture.

          • AbleArcher

            That’s not some new or novel thing. Both the US and Russia have had nuclear torpedoes and SAMs and cruise missiles. The nifty 50s had nuclear everything. Probably even a nuclear dishwasher.

          • Z’ing Sui

            VLS ships of 1000 t displacement and smaller carrying perhaps a dozen of tomahawk-size, unlimited range cruise missiles, are 50es tech? 50es and 60es had some experimental projects of that sort yeah, but a nuke power-plant small and light enough to power a small cruise missile would be a breakthrough.

            Nuke torpedo, unlimited range ICBM, and hypersonic glider warheads are not as sci-fi as that, but they don’t have to be to be a pain to deal with in terms of current and projected US ABM assets.

          • AbleArcher

            Oh! Shoot. You actually believe that. Lol. Sorry. Thought you speaking in jest. Yeah. Russia can’t make a fifth-gen fighter work well but it’s got nuclear powered nuclear armed cruise missiles. Sure.

          • Z’ing Sui

            Well, I see Russian PAK FA and the similar PAK DA and the like as Russians just having priorities. For example the US doesn’t have a supercavitating torpedo, no supersonic cruise missiles fielded of any kind, no small VLS ships or subs at all. US didn’t have an off-boresight targeting until 2003 at all, while it was a thing on Soviet MiGs in the 1980es. This isn’t because US engineers are simply unable to build them. It just wasn’t ever a priority. A stealthy air superiority fighter is important, but not as mach as nuke deterrence for Russia, that expects to operate its Air Force mainly inside or near their domestic A2/AD.

            US sources confirmed Russia is testing a nuke-powered cruise missile in the arctic. So the project is at least at the testing stage. And that’s big. All I’ve said is should those tests produce an actual working weapon, as Russians claim is the case with some other projects, that’d be a game-changer.

          • AbleArcher

            The US has the SM-6. It’s a multi purpose BMD and anti-ship missile. It’s supersonic too. It’s also VLS, same with the Guided Missile Subs (the four converted Ohio class carrying 154 tomahawks each. And who cares about a supercavitating torpedo? Cavitation sounds like a cannon underwater. Gives away the ship!

          • Z’ing Sui

            SM-6 is definitely not a cruise missile. So no, US doesn’t have that.

            And it is anti-ship only in the same sense that Russian S-300 is a ground strike weapon just because Russia tested that capability. Syrian MiGs have reportedly used air-to-air missiles to hit targets. No, that doesn’t make them now ‘multi-purpose’ missiles.

          • AbleArcher

            Oh lol get outta here yes it is. It could also be a ground attack missile, but a Tomahawk is cheaper for that role. The USN has that same capability, and what it has that Russia and China dont is a subsonic, stealthy, smart missile, like LRASM.

          • Z’ing Sui

            Well if you’re going to be so unreasonable about it, well, let it stand for the purposes of this conversation that 35-40 years after Soviet P-700, US has entered a supersonic anti-ship missile club. Don’t see how that overly expensive, small-warhead, not stealthy, not sea-skimming anti-ship missile attempting a catch-up on the Soviet 70es-80es technology changes anything in our argument. Same as off-boresight targeting for short-range ari-to-air, it’s a capability that US was clearly behind on. Still is.

            LRASM is in trials, isn’t it? So somewhere between the Russian nuke-powered cruise missile that is in flight testing, and the Mach 10 Russian Kinzhal that is in limited initial deployment with Russian troops, at least allegedly.

          • AbleArcher

            No it’s out there, buddy. LRASM is locked and loaded atm! I don’t even know why they demonstrated the capability with SM-6. Who cares if it’s supersonic for ships? Means so little compared to LRASM. Subsonic stealthy and smart beats supersonic. Especially when the subsonic, stealthy, and smart weapons has a warhead and range that dwarfs both SM6 and Brahmos type weapons.

          • Z’ing Sui

            I didn’t mean to get into this sort of a duck-waving competition, but I’d say LRASM is the first US asset that finally catches up, in an air-launched configuration, to Soviet submarine-launched ASMs in terms of range. Stealth beats speed is very much debatable, 2 minutes from horizon to target when some CIWS (most notably Russian ones) have optical tracking vs less than 40 seconds but not stealthy, there’s an argument to be had there. Subsonic cruise missiles should be 1000nm+ in this day and age, it’s 80es tech ffs.

            200-300nm subsonic just seems like an overdue update on Harpoon, it’s, or course, shorter than the Indian BrahMos range.

            LRASM is a weapon that’s been in testing in 2017, if you got a source on it being fielded, I’d like to see it. The one thing I know is they promised it in 2018, missed the announcement if there was one. Well again, according to Russian MoD, they’ve low-rate fielded a Mach 10 hypersonic air-launched missile with their troops in december 2017 with a range over a 1000nm. That’s slightly better than a Harpoon+.

          • SeaAyeA

            Oh howdy. You’ve emigrated from TNI I see. JASSM is a great missile, and RT went into Putin fury overdrive when the US sold them to Poland lol. Good times. Peter Lavelle’s bow tie was nearly spinning. If LRASM is truly as advertised-a smarter, more autonomous JASSM-then that’s a really big deal. Brahmos and SM6 carry light loads and have short ranges. This puts the launch platform in greater danger, obviously.

          • SeaAyeA

            Yeah the SM-6 could be used as a ground attack missile, but it won’t be. Better suited for its BMD and anti-ship missions. Upgraded tomahawks and even a new SLCM are better for that purpose.

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    • Z’ing Sui

      Heard of a Trident test failure last year?

      • AbleArcher

        So? That’s the British who did that. Anyways I’ve never heard of a intercontinental ballistic missile with a completely perfect record, and I wouldn’t believe it if somebody claimed it. Isn’t there an attempted Russian analog called the Bulva that’s practically still in testing and has a bad record? The Trident has many many successful shots since the 1980s! And you’re talking about American ABM? We’re not in 1975 anymore. We’re not even in 1985 anymore. If Russia and China didn’t help Pakistan and North Korea go nuclear and sell better missile tech st least to Iran then maybe the US wouldn’t have a good reason to have pursued ABM so much these past few decades.

        • KremlinKryptonite

          This is so interesting. This is what separates the trained engineer and military intelligence officer from the laymen, and often even from civilian intelligence counterparts as well.
          The layperson sees an incident of a British-owned trident having a problem and they first think “do all Tridents have a problem?” or “are the British just poor at launching missiles?”

          Military intelligence from say, Russia, look at that same incident and wonder “what are they up to?” “They are upgrading these missiles [we are!], so is the upgrade so important that it completely changes the characteristics of the missile? What’s going on there?”

          It’s exactly how we would view a perceived failure by a Russian missile that has otherwise been around for decades and has a good track record. Put differently, its not likely that the entire series has a problem. It’s not likely that the Russians simply forgot how to correctly launch.
          It’d be far more likely that they’re up to something.
          Upgrades can be, and usually are, fairly innocuous, like fuel replacement and upgrading/replacing minor components, or it could be they secretly stuck a new type of warhead in there and it threw the trim characteristics of the missile off. Now, that could have big implications.

          • Z’ing Sui

            When an aged rocket has a test failure, it might be normal failure rate, might be secret upgrades. But it might be age.

            Because the main purpose of those tests, the way I understand it, is exactly that – confirming the old stockpile is still functional. And testing upgrades on one of just 4 British launches since 2000, when US flies way more Trident tests? Well, can’t rule that out. But I wouldn’t put my money on it either.

          • KremlinKryptonite

            Both Russia and the United States reserve the right to respond with nuclear force to a wide variety of potential attacks, with both making note of some sort of major conventional attack, or in response to the use of some other weapon of mass destruction, by chemical weapons, for example, and I find this very natural and reasonable.
            I scoff very much at the so-called “no first use” pledges. What a ridiculous notion. But there’s also the reality for Russia that it’s going to rely more heavily on nuclear forces into the 2020s. The birth decline in the 90s is catching up to it, and it simply doesn’t have as much 25 year old manpower as it did 10 years ago, and it won’t for at least 10 or 15 more years. A lot can happen in 10 years.

            Well ICBMs and SLBMs dont really age like we might think of a car or something in the barn aging. They are routinely updated and upgraded. Fuel replacement. Components replacement. Component upgrades. And testing of new devices and features. On the contrary, a British missile is exactly what you would test something new on – on a shared missile test range with plausible deniability, and so on.

            I can’t get into the specifics, of course, but being in the Navy for two decades I can promise you these new gadgets tests happen, and everybody else knows it. What I can’t say for sure is if the Chinese maintain their missiles as well as Russians and Americans do. But if anything happens to a well-known Russian or American missile, the analysts on the opposite side of things are going to think the way I’ve outlined it before anything else.

          • AbleArcher

            I freely admit that I didn’t think of it that way, but then again I’m not an engineer and I’m not in military intelligence, like yourself. All I know is that the Ohio class and their Trident IIs are the definition of secure second strike. Not only is it on this mobile and stealthy platform, but it could just be sitting at the dock in Kingsbay Georgia, and the Trident still has the range to be launched from homebase and hit at least 7500 miles away

          • KremlinKryptonite

            Now that’s true, where we were at in Bangor we could do even more damage from homeport. However, the Ohio-class subs and their D5s are not merely a second strike weapon, but indeed they are a first-strike weapon as well. They have the number of warheads, the range, and most importantly the accuracy.

            Minuteman missiles are in fixed positions spread across three states. Their launch, particularly en masse, will be detected and unmistakable very early on, and if you’re using them to try and hit Russian silos, well that’s kind of a waste. The Russian missiles will likely be out of the ground in time and you might destroy the silo, but you’re going to get hit – hard. Of course it works in the reverse for Russians trying to take out the Minuteman missiles with their own ICBMs. Not a good idea either way.

            An Ohio-class sub can be close enough and the trident missile can be fired on a depressed trajectory. This means that the Trident can not only deliver more warheads, but it can do so at a fraction of the 20+ minute trip for a Minuteman. Try 5-10 minutes or even fewer!
            This is such a short amount of warning that even if the launch is detected immediately (it may very well not be) that the time it takes to make decisions, the firing sequence, and any other possible delays makes it feasible to take out Russian or Chinese ICBMs. Of course major air bases, air defenses, and many other things are also going to be prime targets of the first strike.

          • AnonymoussSoldier

            I never really understood what this talk of accuracy means with nukes. I mean, generally I get it. The reason why 1950s missiles had those multimegaton warheads because the missile might land like 2 miles off target, but isn’t it good enough now?

          • KremlinKryptonite

            Accuracy means an awful lot, and especially if your goal is to destroy hardened targets! You need to maximize PSI delivered by the blast, and this will be impacted by the height of the airburst which in turn will be impacted by the yield of the weapon. First you need to understand what PSI can do.
            1 psi means rattled and many broken windows. People with shrapnel wounds from flying glass.
            5 psi means widespread fatalities from debris and most homes are collapsed.
            20 psi means most people are dead. Even heavy concrete is cracked or collapsed.
            200 psi is about the same pressure in a steam engine locomotive. It means apocalyptic damage to even well-built concrete and even some specially hardened structures.
            You ready for it? 3000+ psi is the benchmark to destroy very hardened structures, like missile silos, or the underground network at a place like Offutt AFB.

            Let’s look at three American targets that you can be sure are in the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces’ crosshairs:
            1. Whiteman AFB in Missouri (where all of the B-2 and many B-52 bombers are based out of).
            2. The 185th Air Refueling Wing out of Sioux City, IA. The B-2s and B-52s takeoff from Whiteman nearly empty and refuel, or rather fully fuel over NW Iowa by the 185th (if they’re headed to Russia for sure).
            3. And let’s not forget Offutt AFB in Omaha. A major air base and home to extensive underground command centers, including one of the plan B options for POTUS. Indeed, W. was taken to Offutt during 9/11.

            Let’s assume each target is being targeted by the Topol missiles with the 800kt yield warheads. We know they’ll want to maximize the 3000psi range over Offutt, but perhaps only maximize the 200psi range over the other two for total above-ground damage.
            To maximize the 200psi range, that 800kt weapon needs to detonate at 1,500 feet. The 200psi diameter will be about 2,500ft wide, and even the 20psi diameter will be 1.3 miles wide! The Topol can accomplish this goal for a target in range, and probably just one of these will do.

            To maximize the 3000+psi diameter, however, the warhead needs to detonate a mere 330ft high, and that gives you a 1,000 diameter range of that otherworldly 3,000psi. There’s a problem. The Topol has a CEP of 200m/656ft there abouts. Topol, with a single warhead, or any weapon with a CEP of 100m+ is not an adequate choice for such an important mission. At the very least, multiple missiles will be spent on this one target to cover the as much of the area as possible with maximized 3000psi diameters.

          • SeaAyeA

            I suspect they’d hit each with multiple old Topol/new Topol aka Yars missiles, or with like one of their SS-18, but it seems that’s quite inaccurate. But yeah that’s a quandary because you’ve only got so many missiles and only so many warheads. Putting the most warheads on a single missile seems risky. Good if you’re the guy launching a first strike, but risky because it’s a juicy target, as you say, for the other guy if he launches first.

          • KremlinKryptonite

            You can see very clearly what Russia has chosen to prioritize as they’ve worked to meet their New START obligations. They have 68 SS-18 launchers, but they’ve only deployed 20 of them, accounting for 200 warheads, presumably at the max load of 10 warheads a piece. So, there are 48 SS-18s in the storage shed. The SS-27 (the Topol M) is reduced to only 27 mobile launchers, all of them deployed and each with their one warhead, but only 27 nonetheless. The silo-based SS-27s number 60, all deployed, each with their one warhead, so 60.

            By contrast, you see the mobile RS-24 (Yars) accounting for 340 warheads. There are 85 launchers, all deployed, but mixed and matched between 3 higher yield warheads and some with up to half a dozen lower yield configurations, but totaling 340. This is important, because we’ve got 340 plus 200 plus 60 plus 27 plus the limit of one warhead per bomber (13 TU-160 and 63 Bears) so plus 76 equals 703 warheads deployed on land and those one per bomber.
            This is more than half of the total planned Russian warhead deployments (1,335 planned, and at 1,444 as of Feb 5th this year, ticking down).

            Look at the US, with the vast majority of its current and planned warhead deployments on its the Trident IIs, only one warhead per ICBM, and of course only one per B-2 and nuclear-capable B-52s. It is reasonable to look at the US deployments either way.
            I can say “well, we want our warheads on our most accurate, safest platform – an SSBN with its Tridents.”
            A Russian can also say “Look at your deployments, most warheads are barely traceable and on your most lethal platform. That’s a first-strike force structure!”

            Either one of us can be correct, and the other incorrect. It depends entirely on what the POTUS is thinking.

        • Z’ing Sui

          Well when a missile has many successful tests but then at some point many years later a failure, this might be normal failure rate that is accounted for in military planning, but it might also be issues of aging hardware is what I’m saying.

          Nukes in unstable ME countries like Israel, Pakistan are of entirely Western origin, nothing at all Russian about them, this is well-known. NK nuke tech might be Russian, Ukrainian, or both from the era when Russia and Ukraine were broke so didn’t have the nice option of choosing where their money came from, or even Chinese, and all this is a speculation. Can’t really rule out they have glimpsed some from places like Pakistan or even had a good enough domestic research. ‘ABM installations in Poland against Iran’ were a hard to believe sales pitch in 2002 for anyone that’s ever seen a map, right now it’s just a joke.

          And for what it’s worth, Russia actually borders Iran and North Korea. They don’t want those places to have nukes and missile tech, even medium-range. That’s why they take part in talks, sign agreements, stick to them even, that sort of thing. Might even have worked with NK, who knows. They didn’t have the ICBM even a few years back, might not even have it now, not really.

          • AbleArcher

            Lol this is not the breaking news Disqus page. Most people who find their way here are pretty well read, and I know it’s Chinese factories implicated in not only nuclear material but also other critical components like the circular magnets and even weapons design given to Pakistan to keep India off-balance, just like North Korea is meant to keep Japan and South Korea and America off balance in the northeast. Not to mention Chinese missiles sold to Pakistan, or Chinese missiles sold Pakistan via North Korea. Early on it might’ve been some European countries also providing some material or equipment but the lion share is from China or China via North Korea.

            You think you can fool me about North Korea? Everybody and their dog who knows anything about the situation knows that Kim II Sung was installed by the Russians pretty much immediately after World War II, and he invaded South Korea using his Russian equipment given to him by his boss name of Stalin. Mao supported him too. I have no reason to doubt that China did more to help North Korea go nuclear than Russia did, but let’s not kid ourselves here for goodness sake lol.

          • Z’ing Sui

            Well you did say Pakistan and Russia in one sentence, and that’s nonsense. China-Pakistani relations, and China arming Pakistan to keep India off-balance is a reasonable scenario, but it didn’t amount to “China helping Pakistan go nuclear” either. West did that with China supposedly providing some support when nuclear Pakistan was already a thing.

            On to NK, nope no sign Soviets wanted a nuclear NK. Or a nuclear China for that matter. That China wants an unstable NK to keep US off-balance might be true, But Russia post 1990 has relations with the South that are as good or better than with the North. For example Russia jointly developed the first South Korean space rocket, meaning technically dual use technologies, and Russia didn’t do anything of that sort with North Korea, ever. China making use of Soviet rocket scientists loosing their pay post-1990 has little with Russian leadership intentionally trying to spoil things for US, and you know it. Similar allegations vis a vis North Korea amount to the same thing. I don’t see China wanting a nuclear pariah state at their doorstep, to keep US and allies off-balance conventional NK threats to Japan and the South are more than enough. Things getting as bad as US putting Europe-style missile defensed in South Korea and Japan is a predictable outcome of of nuclear Kim that China would’ve avoided if it could.

          • AbleArcher

            Nobody provide as much material support, know how, and designs to Pakistan than China. And you call North Korea a pariah state, then why is the Chinese Communist Party so devoted to maintaining it? Why risk a confrontation with the United States to save the Russian-installed Kim regime? Pff. Yeah it’s a pariah state alright, it’s the Chinese communist party’s pariah state (since they have more to offer these days and for a few decades now than Moscow).

          • Z’ing Sui

            Hey, I’m not going to argue with you that China and Pakistan are cooperating. I don’t see why they shouldn’t. Just saying that your claim that Russia or China “helped Pakistan go nuclear” is false, plain and simple. West helped Pakistan go nuclear.

            Now, your allegation that China uses North Korea as a tool is possible. All I’m saying is it doesn’t follow from that that China is actively helping NK with Kim’s nukes. As to North Korea having Russian-installed regime, this misconception is a product of the Red Scare and perhaps general poor literacy in US then and now. Because a man that held complete control over USSR at the time Kim came to power was born and received primary education on the territory that is now US ally Georgia. Immediately after his death, top USSR governing position was taken up by Khrushchev of Ukrainian SSR origin.

          • AbleArcher

            Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks (London: The International
            Institute for Strategic Studies), 2007.

            U.S. Department of Defense, Proliferation: Threat and Response, January 2001, p. 27.
            Ibid., p. 18. “Responses to Questions Submitted by Senator Coverdell on Behalf of Senator Bennett,” Department of State, August 14, 1996.

            Central Intelligence Agency, Chinese Policy and Practice Regarding Sensitive Nuclear Transfers: Special National
            Intelligence Estimate, January 20, 1983. China transferred a complete nuclear weapon design, according to some
            reports. (See Nuclear Black Markets, 2007, p. 26; Joby Warrick and Peter Slevin, “Libyan Arms Designs Traced Back to China,” Washington Post, February 15, 2004; Albright, David. Peddling Peril: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America’s Enemies (New York: Free Press), p. 47.)

            David Albright, Andrea Stricker, and Houston Wood, Future World of Illicit Nuclear Trade: Mitigating the Threat,
            Institute for Science and International Security, July 29, 2013, p. 37.

          • Z’ing Sui

            Wow those are a lot of irrelevant sources, and you’re even mixing up your Muslim countries there, with your Libya WaPo link. A good thing none of them brings up your crazy ‘Russia created Pakistani nukes’ idea at least.

            Basically, you’re trying to dispute established history with an outdated 1983 CIA report, since it’s the only relevant document in your list. Well, it doesn’t really change history.

          • AbleArcher

            LOOOL read them. You’ll understand why Libya is named. You obviously don’t know that Gaddafi had a WMD program too in the 80s. Man oh man

          • Z’ing Sui

            The only thing I mean is they’re irrelevant to the origin of Pakistani nuke program.

          • John Brocklehurst

            I am sorry, you are completely wrong. Chinese support was at the heart of the Pakistani nuclear programme. They started transferring tech in the early 80s and carried out a Pakistani test on a Chinese test range in 1990. They gave Pakistan the design for the CHIC-4 bomb.

            I’d highly recommend reading ‘The Nuclear Express’ by Stillman and Reed on nuclear proliferation.

  • jayupyongyang

    Mr. Putin needs to be able to establish not 100 percent certainty of the efficacy of his various new weapons systems and the coercive capabilities they give, only the very apparent possibility. The Americans at bottom are not 100 percent committed to Europe’s defense, and Europeans are 100 percent committed to a grossly inadequate ceiling to investment in their own defense. Therefore Mr. Putin is building the foundations for Russia’s hegemony in Europe in the not distant future. His pattern for doing this is from the three-generation Kim family regime pursuit of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems to disengage America from the security of the Korean peninsula. Why this objective? Just as the Kim family regime cannot continue to exist even in northern Korea much longer without the coerced permanent subordination of the rich south (abetted by active agents and fellow travelers in government, media, and education in the south), so also Mr. Putin’s Russia cannot face eventual confrontation with its senior partner, China, over the future of mineral-rich Siberia, without securing unlimited cooperation from the entirety of a subordinated Europe.


    Putin is a dreamer. I’ll say that much about him. Can you imagine being ex KGB yet end up president for life practically in the post Soviet era? Ah! It must bother the guy to no end.

  • Mika Riik

    “Why Florida?” Because of Mar-a-Lago. Could be that Putin was resorting to reflexive control on Trump.

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