China Ballistic Missiles and Nuclear Arms Thread


Ok, but then what is the purpose of revenge? It is completely expected that citizens and perhaps the individual leaders of the besieged country wants to exact the same kind of treatment it was dealt, but as a military establishment deciding the country's future, what is the end benefit of destroying your attacker?

There is only one scenario in which case your logic would apply: when Country A attacks a portion of Country B. In that case, Country B can launch a retaliatory attack to deter further strikes on its territory. But in a scenario in which Country B is completely destroyed, is there a logical necessity to retaliate?
Your logic is crazy; do you even understand the concept of "revenge"? It doesn't mean to do something to deter further things from done to you. Think like an actual human being, not like a computer programmed to calculate benefit. Human beings want revenge when they are wronged. If you came into your house and saw that someone had just stabbed your wife and children to death and is now standing there at your mercy because you happen to have a loaded gun, you'd shoot him, probably several times starting from the legs up. At least I would. You wouldn't think, "Hmmm, killing him won't bring back my family, but this bullet cost me money and an extra body means even more mess to clean up. Best to let him go since there's no benefit from killing him. Hey, my son's dead now so let's ask him if he wants to be adopted. I could use an adult son who can help clean up this mess..."
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
Ok, but then what is the purpose of revenge? It is completely expected that citizens and perhaps the individual leaders of the besieged country wants to exact the same kind of treatment it was dealt, but as a military establishment deciding the country's future, what is the end benefit of destroying your attacker?

There is only one scenario in which case your logic would apply: when Country A attacks a portion of Country B. In that case, Country B can launch a retaliatory attack to deter further strikes on its territory. But in a scenario in which Country B is completely destroyed, is there a logical necessity to retaliate?

Of course there is -- in a scenario where Country B is completely destroyed, nuclear retaliation becomes even more pressing so as to inflict as significant of casualties on Country A who had caused genocide against you in the first place.
If your country no longer exists and you have the option to exact revenge, then if you are a military commander then retaliation becomes not merely an option but a duty.

===

Frankly, I'm not going to reply further to this particular thought experiment, but I want to make clear in my moderator shoes, that you should tread significantly more carefully in the future.

I am not sure if you posted this "thought experiment" simply arising from being naive and not thinking it through, or if it is a case of being deliberately and quietly malicious.

Either way, this seemingly innocent "thought experiment" -- when read with the immediately preceding debate about Chinese nuclear weapon requirements -- will inevitably be interpreted and read by some users as not-so-subtly imagining a nuclear scenario between China and the US, and suggesting that one of these countries, if suffering a nuclear attack by the other, should consider it appropriate to not retaliate.
I say "one of these countries," but with the phrasing of your original post and the current balance of nuclear power in the real world means people will reasonably imagine a scenario whereby China suffers a nuclear attack by the US and should not launch nuclear retaliation following an attack.

Either intentional or not -- and frankly I've read enough of your posts to harbour doubt -- the mere suggestion of China (or the US for that matter) suffering a nuclear attack and then floating the idea that they should not retaliate, is ludicrous and massively inflammatory.
It is the equivalent of "innocently" asking -- if China (or country XYZ) suffers a nuclear genocide from an opposing country, what real benefit is there in retaliating against the country that launched it?


The only reason I am not banning you for a lengthy duration as a warning shot is because of your long history here and because of plausible deniability that you "didn't know what you were doing". But honestly, it is rather close.

Therefore consider this as a mere formal warning to consider the implications of what you're writing more carefully in future, so as to avoid unintentionally stepping on people's toes.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
I request further discussion on this "thought experiment" to avoid continuing for the sake of avoid becoming a flame war, but at this stage I won't ban further discussion if things are civil, however the tolerance for civility is also short and I will openly delete posts that are obvious bait or obviously offensive.
 

SinoSoldier

Colonel
I won't discuss this topic any further on this thread, but if the mods feel that such a debate could take place on a new discussion-centric thread without too much of a risk of inflammatory personal attacks, I'd be open to that.

Take note that I have and will continue to use exclusively "Country X" and "Country Z" to avoid stoking any underlying nationalistic sentiments on this forum.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
You can discuss this topic between each other via PMs if you wish.

But frankly the context in which this "thought experiment" arose should have been easily predicted to know that it would be controversial if not offensive, and it likely would have been the same no matter which nation's defense forum was posed such a question in an equivalent context.

There are some questions that should be treated with a level of deference, and the "rationale" or "benefit" of nuclear retaliation is one of them. Maybe in less politically fraught times or on a different forum more willing to tolerate flame wars this could have been allowed, but now? No, I'm sorry but this is flame bait.
 

Dolcevita

Senior Member
Ok, but then what is the purpose of revenge? It is completely expected that citizens and perhaps the individual leaders of the besieged country wants to exact the same kind of treatment it was dealt, but as a military establishment deciding the country's future, what is the end benefit of destroying your attacker?

There is only one scenario in which case your logic would apply: when Country A attacks a portion of Country B. In that case, Country B can launch a retaliatory attack to deter further strikes on its territory. But in a scenario in which Country B is completely destroyed, is there a logical necessity to retaliate?

I won't discuss this topic any further on this thread, but if the mods feel that such a debate could take place on a new discussion-centric thread without too much of a risk of inflammatory personal attacks, I'd be open to that.

Take note that I have and will continue to use exclusively "Country X" and "Country Z" to avoid stoking any underlying nationalistic sentiments on this forum.

There is really nothing to discussed in this or any other thread because the premise of your line of reasoning is flawed to say the least and dangerous if you really believe it.

Basically you are saying that Country B, being completely destroyed, should accept his/her fate because Country B was not competent enough to completely destroy Country A first.

If I were your neighbor and I know you think this way, I will destroy you at the slightest provocation, since you believe you should destroy everything precious to me and expect no retaliation. I will do everything within my power to prevent that from happening. Just imagine if everyone thinks like you do and everyone has a nuclear bomb.
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
Estimating warhead numbers is almost impossible, since in theory many of the tactical use ones could be stored and hidden.

But in my opinion counting such tactical warheads is not even that crucial if one talks about deterrence and world war. For that only warheads that could be delivered to the enemy in a timely fashion, without too much chance of interception are important.

And number of such kind of warheads COULD be estimated with a bit better certainty. Today such warheads are still best delivered, by far, by large ballistic missiles.

And large ballistic missiles ARE easier to count. As they have to be deployed somewhere and as they're too pricey to just have around in huge numbers, even if the crews aren't around.

What IS evident is that China has been increasing the number of such missiles in previous decades. From 20-something such missiles in 1980s to something like 140 such missiles today. The number of warheads is, of course, still up to debate, but some details about warhead counts per missile could be surmised from the known/available missile specs. So I'd say it's not 1 or 10 warheads per each of those missiles but for some missiles it's very likely that they carry just one, some are very likely not to carry more than a few and for some it's plausible they carry up to 10. With fairly decent estimates of numbers of each missile type, one can even thus make an estimate of strategic warhead numbers.

And the very same thought experiment can be made for US or Russian missile and warhead inventories. And both of those has not really risen in numbers for many years. If anything, those missile figures have been steadily falling since the 1990s. Warhead figures are a little bit different, as those US/Russian missiles *can* carry more warheads than they're usually deployed with, according to START treaty reports.

But when it comes to actual strategic missiles: the disparity isn't 20 to 1 or something like that, but closer to 1:4.5 against the US and 1:3.3 against Russia. Again, number of warheads disparity on those missiles is bigger, but that requires some years to change, until newer, bigger missiles become prevalent in Chinese arsenal.
 

adiru

Junior Member
Registered Member
So I bring up this thought experiment once again: what is the point of actually (note the word) launching a retaliatory strike if your country gets hit by nukes? The entire point of having nuclear deterrence is to deter the enemy from launching in the first place. If this primary function has failed, then why is there a point of actually launching a retaliatory strike that will only lessen humanity's chance of survival?

Sure, China will be destroyed and the US (or any other country) will survive, but destroying the other country won't bring China back. It's a horrible thought experiment but a question nonetheless. The nuclear arsenals of these countries exist purely as a psychological deterrent.


Nukes aren't as powerful as people commonly imagine. Sure they can wipe out cities, but it wouldn't be an end of the world event by any means. MAD doctrine is that of in the context of modern civilization, nukes can be civilization destroyers. It can destabilize and destroy the fabric of nations etc but there aren't enough nukes to destroy all life on earth.

Nuclear power reaches point of diminishing returns:
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Therefore it would be in the best interest of China to reach nuclear deterrence parity with that of the US.

Now when people say "long term", scope is important. In the very long term all matter decay back into radiation and nothing will exists in the universe anymore and even time and space will someday lose distinction. A billion years from now the sun will go red giant and as it burns out fuel, making it so large it will swallow the earth itself.

So how long is the appropriate context of long term then? China has recorded history of 5,000 years or more. If we are to say "long term" means another 5,000 years, then does it matter what happens in the next 5 or even 50?

If we define 5,000 years as "long term" then what happened the last 100 years and the Chinese Century of Humiliation was merely an aberration and in the long term China strives to regain its preeminence.

So lets say US does a surprise first strike of China using nuclear weapons taking out the CCP in one blow and basically decapitating all C&C. My only concern is the remaining military commanders in the position to retailate against the enemy would or could be too pacifist and won't actually follow through to completion... nevermind the technical hurdles and other contingencies.

But to me it isn't about "revenge" per se, MAD does not mean all life on earth get destroyed, just all modern civilization. Animals will still do great...

MAD is actually about leveling the playing field and using nukes as the "great equalizer" so that what is left of modern civilization can then start over and rebuild. If US nukes China and China decides not to retailate then that will mean America will secure the next ten centuries or possibly forever. The first nation to truly master AI and time travel or other exotic tech will stay on top forever....

MAD is really about leveling the playing field with nukes as the 'great equalizer' in this ultimate scorthed earth policy, and therein is the deterrence, that even if China is completely nuked it can still effectively bring US civilization back to zero and then whats left of both nations can rebuild from scratch... I don't see how nukes can ever wipe out humanity as a species, but it can be the ultimate reset of nations and civilizations. If China was attacked in such a manner and choose not to retailate then that would be like willingly giving the future to the Americans yet again. So in this regard I believe nuclear parity is very important, China should and must catch up to the US quantitatively and qualitatively and spare no expense to nation guard.
 

AssassinsMace

Brigadier
You can estimate a ballpark figure how many nuclear weapons a country can potentially make because of international nuclear regulatory organizations and agencies that monitor such things. If a country signs on, they can trade nuclear technology and materials but they have to abide by the rules which includes allowing inspectors access to the country's nuclear labs and power plants where they can see how much plutonium that is produced from nuclear reactors. If a country doesn't sign on, signatories are not allowed to trade nuclear technologies and materials with them. Because they know how much plutonium a reactor can produce, countries have to show how much plutonium they have stored where if numbers don't match, then one can estimate how many nuclear weapons could have been made in that country's possession. Look at Japan, they don't have nuclear weapons but people say Japan can make a thousand nukes in a few months if they decided to. How do they come up with that? Inspectors go in and check how much plutonium Japan has stored and see if it fits number of reactors Japan has that can produce plutonium. If they match then you can say they probably don't have nuclear weapons because the plutonium is accounted for. Of course it's not exact but like I said you can estimate a ballpark number.
 

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