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Friday, August 19, 2005


And now for something completely different...a spot of good news.

The number of deployed nuclear weapons dipped by more than 2,500 over the last year. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's 2005 yearbook reported an estimated 13,470 nuclear weapons deployed worlwide by eight nations -- with an estimated 14,000 other weapons in reserve. The total number of nuclear weapons is also believed to have decreased from roughly 31,500 last year to about 27,600 this year, SIPRI concluded. The dip is mostly attributed to bilateral cuts made by the U.S. and Russia.

Russia has the most estimated deployed warheads, 7,360, according to the article. That includes 3,980 strategic warheads on ICBMs, submarines and bombers, and 3,380 nonstrategic warheads on aircraft and at sea, it says.

The United States came in second at 4,896, with an estimated 4,216 strategic warheads on ICBMs, planes and submarines, and 680 nonstrategic warheads for delivery as gravity bombs by aircraft and by Tomahawk cruise missiles from submarines, it says.

Next is China with an estimated 400 deployed warheads, 120 of those estimated as nonstrategic, France with 348, Israel about 200, the United Kingdom with 185, Pakistan with 30 to 50 and India with 30 to 40. (via NTI's Global SecurityNewswire)
But let's put this in perspective. Imagine everyone on the planet is standing up to their armpits in gasoline and we've just been told that there are slightly fewer matchbooks around. There are still plenty of matches remaining. CHB said a `spot' of good news, nothing more folks.


Blogger strategery4 said...

Can we have a round of "Cumbaya" too? Puh-lease. The number of deployed weapons means almost nothing at this point. Russia's nukes were an infinitessimal threat last year, and now they could be [Cheney voice] reconstituted at any time.

They won't be, of course, because of the political changes that have rendered the weapons counts all but meaningless. By contrast, it matters much more whether North Korea has 5 or 10 than whether Russia or the U.S. has 5,000 or 10,000. So don't lose the forest for the trees.

I guess the residents of nuclear-free Tacoma Park, MD can rest easier with this sort of news, but not me.

8/19/2005 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the problem is that russian weapons are very much a threat to the world. don't ask CHB, ask Sam Nunn for proof. Just this week loose Russian nuclear material was smuggled into Turkey and nearly sold on the black market...CHB

8/19/2005 2:33 PM  
Blogger strategery4 said...

Which has precisely nothing to do with the number of weapons that are deployed; indeed, it's during the time they are removed from deployment but before they are destroyed that is the period of maximum danger (as I think Samm Nunn would stipulate).

Oooh, Strategery4's feeling ornery today

8/19/2005 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but these figures aren't just deployed. total nukes have also declined (yes, we are arguing about deck chair placement on the titanic right now, but damnit, we're americans and it's our right to argue about whatever we choose). both deployed and reserved nuke numbers are down. i never pitched this as the feel good story of the year. only a slight bit of less than awful news for a change. and yes, the more immediate radiological concern is nuclear material, not completed bombs or missiles themselves. but command and control structures, particularly in pakistan, are always worrisome when they're so ridden with holes and potential security breaches. - chb

8/19/2005 3:38 PM  
Blogger melior said...

No estimates of globally deployed backpack nukes?

8/19/2005 4:41 PM  

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