Tens of thousands of nuclear warheads, the U.S. and Russia destroyed. The power struggle between India and Pakistan, however, is unpredictable. A look at the self-understanding of the nuclear powers.
The world discusses the danger of nuclear attack. This has to do with the nuclear program of Iran and with the shrill tones from North Korea – but not only. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90s the world order of the nuclear stalemate between the U.S. and Russia was determined. Since then, the situation has become confusing. Nine states have nuclear weapons: the so-called five official nuclear powers – China, Russia, Britain, France and the United States – and four states that have not signed the NPT – India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. A look at the self-understanding of these states helps to assess what kind of danger emanating from them.
Officials: How the Cold War, the U.S. and Russia are now the undisputed nuclear superpowers. Both countries have disarmed but intense, as data show that collect nuclear experts around the world since 1945 and in the “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” publish (BAS). The maximum number of nuclear warheads possessed after the U.S. in the late 60s (31 000), the Soviet Union in the mid 80s (45 000). Today, both of which have much less than 9,000.
The U.S., which developed the atomic bomb for fear of a “silver bullet” from Nazi Germany in the Second World War and later with the Soviet Union provided an arms race track today with U.S. President Barack Obama has a nuclear disarmament policy.In 2010 he settled in the “New Start” treaty with Moscow, a further reduction of strategic nuclear arsenals.
“Nuclear weapons are for the U.S. only the big stick to protect its own existence or that of the allies, if an enemy launches a nuclear attack,” says Joachim Krause, director of the Institute for Security Studies at the University of Kiel. Other hazards could Washington dealt with by conventional means.
Russian nuclear weapons in self-understanding have a much greater importance. Only its nuclear arsenal Moscow nor guarantee its position as a superpower, says Krause.”Moscow wants to even use the weapon only against existential threats, but under, existential understanding of the Russians in addition to nuclear attacks and invasions of foreign conventional forces in their country.” In it reflected the history that is marked by the invasion of foreign powers in the country.
Compared to the U.S. and Russia United Kingdom, France and China have low nuclear forces. They each have a few hundred warheads. London and Paris built the late 50s and early 60s on their nuclear weapons programs to be independent of the United States, which at that time were vulnerable to new nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union itself. After the Cold War reduced their British and French arsenals to a minimum deterrent. London, for example, has scrapped its nuclear bomber and has just four submarines as a portable nuclear weapon delivery systems.
The situation in China is not very transparent. Officially, Beijing, such as London and Paris, the strategy of minimum deterrence with the promise not to use nuclear weapons first.
The other four: North Korea is currently producing most of the headlines, although its nuclear arsenal is the smallest of all the countries that possess nuclear weapons. Thus, it is questionable whether North Korea is ever able to mount its few nuclear warheads on missiles. “Pyongyang’s bluffing,” says Annette Schaper, nuclear arms expert at the Hessian Foundation for Peace and Conflict Studies. Nuclear weapons have only the function to the outside to deter attackers and be leverage to extort economic aid.Internally, it served as a symbol of strength.
The situation is similar expert Joachim Krause. He holds the ambitions of Pakistan dangerous, “because it assesses its conventional army weaker than that of India.’s Why the country has a doctrine, according to which it would use nuclear weapons first, if there would be a conventional war with India.” Since the 1971 war between these two countries in a race to provide for the development of their nuclear programs to prevent the other from an attack and each to be strongest regional power. India wants his weapons but used only for defense.
Fear of its neighbors has moved nuclear upgrade from the late 60s to deter Israel – although the state does not give up the day. “This is pure livelihood,” says Krause.”Israel is a country that could really be wiped out with six, seven nuclear weapons.”