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Subject: U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability
frenk    2/3/2005 1:39:48 AM
if this two nations gets angry to each other and goes to nuclear war...which we hope wouldnt happen...who has the capability of winning the the nuclear war? frenk
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gixxxerking    RE:U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability   2/3/2005 1:46:03 AM
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USN-MID    RE:U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability   2/3/2005 2:09:16 AM
Russia has NO chance. US...I wonder how good of an estimate you could get. The point is, no matter WHAT the Russians do, they will never knock out our 2nd strike ability in the SSBNs. In contrast, we could probably tag their SSBNs leaving pretty easily, especially with the shrinking Russian navy. The question then is, how effectively could we eliminate all the Russian ICBMs? How long would it take for the Russians to figure out what's happening? Lots of questions, little answers.
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frenk    RE:U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability   2/3/2005 2:39:40 AM
Russian missile technology is far more advance than the it be? russians has more ICBMs than the could it be?
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elcid    RE:U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability   2/3/2005 3:54:56 PM
No one can win in a general nuclear war between USA and Russia. I am surprised there is not a consensus on this here - you guys tend to be fairly well informed. Both countries have about 6,000 strategic weapons and about 4,000 more which could be turned into weapons. Both countries have a triad of nuclear delivery forces, sufficiently robust there is zero statistical chance of an effective disarming first strike. Both sides have extensive confidence building measures - some long believed impossible - like Open Skies. There are no important secrets (we let each other into the most secret of places) and no illusions about the nature of nuclear exchanges. The only problem is this: what happens when we finish the build down? Where to next, with the confidence we have now and have had for many years? That question is not answered and I will let it remain that way. No, we cannot "easily" trail Russian boomers and the cat and mouse games of the Cold War are substantially history, not practice today. We don't want the Russians to think we have a first strike capability, and we don't want to risk getting caught threatening nuclear units. We also like them not trailing us any more, so we cut a deal, and this is not something that will go away because we broke it. We actually like the kind of understanding we have, and the absence of confrontations like we used to have. We both learned from history - things were worse than we knew more than once - and it is almost a miracle we didn't have at least a limited nuclear war. The great theorists of the nuclear age were the Russians. We pretty much thought we were, because we started it all, and basically ignored Russian ideas, until the Reagan era. Kenneth Adelman caused us to start actually reading Russian materials, as a negotiation strategy, so we could "talk their language." In the end we did, and it worked - but it worked in an unexpected sense - we became converts to Russian ideas. The Russians were very practical, and they believed you COULD win a nuclear war, but ONLY if you got rid of most of the enemy weapons, and then were prepared to survive what remained by good preparations. They were theoretically more correct than we were - believing in a system that had to be perfect - and having no defense preparations at all so when something went wrong it was all over. But over time it became way too hard to get modern systems, and no one really has any illusions that a disarming first strike is possible, except with respect to a tiny nuclear power. There are no such illusions now. Write to Gen Butler - last boss of SAC and a guy willing to talk about this stuff - if you want to know more of what it looks like from the inside.
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Shaken    RE:U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability   2/3/2005 4:52:14 PM
Janes had an interesting article a year or so ago talking about the state of the Soviet ICBM/SLBM inventory. In the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia ended up without a number of key capabilities for making and maintaining long-range ballistic missiles. The existing inventory of ICBMs has been well maintained, as it was viewed as the most cost-effective portion of their inventory. But certain irreplacible parts are reaching the end of their shelf-life and their manufacturer (in the Ukraine) has been blocked from making replacement parts by their government. (I believe the SLBM force and its submarine carriers are considered much less cost effective and their readiness has dropped significantly. The Russian Navy has been trying to scrape up money by using the SLBMs as satellite launch vehicles, which is indicative of the state of affairs). At the time, the Russians did not have a solution to this problem and the article voiced concerns that the uncertainty about their nuclear delivery capability could destabilize the Russian defence posture and thus be more prone to rash actions. I have not seen any follow up articles on this topic. -- Shaken - out --
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bsl    RE:U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability   2/3/2005 10:11:13 PM
This has been one of the most extensively - and, expensively - discussed questions of the post WW2 era. Whole careers, whole institutions were formed around it. There's no clear or easy answer. Never was. But, as an aide in thinking about it, it helps to begin by defining, clearly, what you have in mind by "win". After that, you can begin to look into the voluminous writings on strategic warfare, keeping in mind that you need to downgrade, somewhat, the Russian capacities given the state of their military establishment these days. Nevertheless, I think the outlines remain remarkably constant.
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editor    RE:U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability   2/8/2005 12:25:17 PM
Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement last week agreeing that they would still cooperate on parts for Russia's missile needs, and they mentioned the dire need for spares. I'm in favor of it, as I think that anything that isn't decomissioned should not be faulty. Makes it less liable to go 'boom' when it ISN'T supposed to. Still, I'd like to know your parameters for winning.
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elcid    RE:U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability   2/10/2005 9:22:36 AM
The Russian navy had admirals who felt they could divert SSBN maintenance funding "because no one will ever know if they cannot shoot." Putin called a launch drill and they got caught. Now they are in prison. A drill a couple of weeks ago shows they can shoot - by surprise - on order - without knowing which boat or missile must fire. When the century turned, Russia had no production of any system - and planned none before 2005. But Chinese funding permitted reopening of all major defense industries - even all eight shipyards - which are hardly required post cold war. Do not bet any critical part is not now being made again.
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elcid    your parameters for winning    2/10/2005 9:28:28 AM
No such thing in a general nuclear war between Russia and USA. I know senior officers of all political stripes - Democrat - Republican - Libertarian - None of the Above - and ALL say you cannot win a war with arsenals of the sort we have both had since the late 1960s. The last boss of SAC (Gen Eugene Butler) and analysts of repute doubt that such a war can be ended - every time an SSBN decides to honor its orders you get another round - maybe days or weeks after you thought the war had finally ended. There are no nice scenarios, for anyone, anywhere in a general nuclear war. The absolute certainty is a global economic collapse, and more people will die of starvation than die in the target areas themselves.
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   RE:U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability   2/10/2005 2:19:29 PM
I'm reminded of the film War Games. We have to teach you chest thumpers that some games can't be won..
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