One of my company on Twitter, Venkatesh Rao, recently challenged of us to jot down one hundred tweets on one topic. I took the bait, and wrote one hundred opinions on nuclear battle. It become as soon as more difficult than I notion, however felt fancy an staunch declare. It helped me realized where I had huge gaps of info, and additionally helped me create bigger some opinion that I had been chewing on. Read the thread right here or on Twitter.
1) Nuclear Battle is unlikely to reason human extinction. Working on a put up about this now.
2) The 2nd scariest thing about nuclear battle, after the massive preliminary destruction and death, is the uncertainty about what would happen the following few years after…
3) Fallout shelters work and so they’re easy related. In a huge scale nuclear battle, so much of of millions would die from fallout, however so much of these lives would possibly be saved with extra fallout shelters. All it takes is a pair toes of soil and food and water for a week or two.
4) Climate outcomes from nuclear battle, “nuclear frosty climate”, are a real possibility however the space is severely understudied. Climate science is laborious to originate with. It’s even more difficult when the preliminary stipulations are paunchy of uncertainties. Consultants disagree.
5) Whereas there are most efficient 9 nuclear powers, there are no much less than that many who don’t contain nuclear weapons however with out difficulty would possibly. They create their maintain nuclear reactors, put collectively nuclear engineers, and would possibly create nuclear weapons within a few years within the event that they decided to.
6) Dr. Strangelove is the correct movie. It’s no longer most efficient artistically hasty-witted, it’s additionally spacious instructional for pondering the ancient previous of the cool battle and risks of nuclear battle.
7) Nuclear EMP weapons contain the seemingly to disrupt society in necessary programs. They’re a shrimp simpler to create than a used ICBM–it takes getting a nuclear warhead to space, however does no longer require re-entry shielding required–something NK would possibly stop
8) Whereas 7) is staunch, we don’t know how necessary a nuclear EMP assault would be. It would disrupt energy and waste so much of electronics, however I truly contain seen no cautious estimates of injure to GDP–no longer even tough repeat of magnitude estimates.
9) Nuclear battle is extra likely within the following 70 years than it become as soon as within the final 70 years. The nuclear taboo is stronger, however there are extra actors, and additional seemingly areas for warfare. There are extra nuclear palms races going on simultaneously.
10) Radiological weapons are truly gruesome, however it with out a doubt wouldn’t be easy to assemble a “Doomsday Instrument” that unfold prolonged-lived radiation all around the sector. Fashioned hydrogen bombs are lethal radiological weapons if ragged as flooring bursts, however their fallout is short-lived.
11) India and Pakistan, every with nuclear weapons… Not an staunch difficulty. They portion a border and contain a ancient previous of warfare. There could be a prolonged ancient previous of political instability and factionalism. Yikes.
12) The US and Russia are going via serious (nuclear) relationship factors. The US left the INF treaty this year, and the most compulsory treaty, NewSTART, expires in 2021. Here is at possibility of no longer getting renewed, which would possibly be the worst nuclear treaty lapse ever.
13) In phrases of ICBMs, missile protection is spacious no longer easy, and most unlikely to be fine in opposition to countries with serious nuclear programs. Due to it’s laborious to take a look at below sensible stipulations, it’s very laborious to snatch exactly how ineffective they’d be.
14) It’s unhealthy when nuclear weapons to find sooner or stealthier. Each and each create bigger the feasibility of a first strike that takes out remarkable of an adversary’s nuclear ability, and this weakens deterrence.
15) Even supposing stealth ability that improves viability of a first strike is destabilizing, stealth that improves survivability of nukes to a first strike is stabilizing. It’s very correct for the sector if nuclear submarines proceed to be laborious to detect and be conscious.
16) Nukes are OP
17) What happens in a nuclear battle is NOT predetermined. Runt escalation can even very smartly be conceivable, we don’t know! Acting as if it’s predetermined is unhealthy since it will turn out to be a self-gratifying prophecy. As in, don’t rob any nuclear battle is MAD
18) Assuming a nuclear battle can even merely also be “winnable” is additionally destabilizing. For most scenarios, a nuclear battle would be strongly assemble destructive for all participants.
19) A precommitment to all-out nuclear retaliation to any utilize of nuclear weapons creates a stronger deterrent than a much less excessive precommitment, if believed. Nevertheless, if it’s no longer believed, it will weaken deterrence, and despite the fact that it’s believed, it makes the nuclear battle a ways worse.
20) Nuclear non-proliferation efforts were surprisingly remarkable! Most serious thinkers within the 1940s & 50s, equivalent to Herman Kahn, notion there would be 20+ nuclear powers by now.
21) Thomas Schelling and Herman Kahn every made ample contributions to our notion of nuclear competition dynamics. They’re in most cases portrayed as disagreeing on most issues, however they agreed on many non-glaring capabilities.
22) The Draw of Battle and On Thermonuclear Battle are every price learning for these attracted to nuclear deterrence opinion & risks of nuclear battle. On Thermonuclear Battle, even supposing dated, is the most serious strive I truly contain seen to mannequin what would possibly happen in a real nuclear battle.
23) The Doomsday Machine and Disclose and Management are vivid reads. The veteran for notion the madness of early nuclear battle plans and the bias in direction of nuclear readiness over safety, and the latter for mistakes in weapons possibility administration.
24) The Making of the Atomic Bomb is vivid whereas you don’t mind excessive facet. It’s no longer magnificent about the bomb–it additionally covers the exciting ancient previous of physics as we realized WHAT THE UNIVERSE IS MADE OF
25) Human minds aren’t equipped to deem smartly about nuclear weapons or possibility of nuclear battle. Folks on the final lope off the topic, since it’s too overwhelming to deem about, and it doesn’t with out difficulty match into our narratives about existence or society.
26) Global zero, as in complete nuclear disarmament, isn’t a stable equilibrium as prolonged as ample powers are engaged in protection force competition. Nevertheless, with sufficiently remarkable 2nd strike weapons, states would possibly agree to slash back their arsenals to dinky # of so much of
27) Governments and militaries aren’t competent sufficient to attend watch over nuclear possibility over the prolonged duration of time. Except something principal adjustments in geopolitical members of the family, nuclear battle is inevitable within the prolonged duration of time.
28) No sing needs to originate a nuclear battle. The most definitely technique a battle would happen is the final consequence of runaway escalation. If a sing believes an all-out nuclear warfare is inevitable, they’ve a robust incentive to strike first to waste the different sing’s nuclear ability.
29) Civilization would get better after an all-out nuclear battle. It can even merely or can even merely no longer happen snappy. There could be a civilizational fall down where complete applied sciences & supply chains are lost. Within the close they will likely be rebuilt.
30) Now we contain very shrimp opinion what would happen if there become as soon as a nuclear battle between India and Pakistan. It would be an unheard of catastrophe, extra casualties than WWII, however financial and social outcomes are very no longer easy to mannequin, and I haven’t seen any correct makes an strive.
31) Nuclear terrorism is conceivable however a ways much less unhealthy than nuclear warfare between states. If any terrorists are in a position to stealing & the utilize of nuclear arena subject, they are able to have to be exceptionally smartly organized and resourced.
32) It’s laborious to intuit how remarkable extra extremely fine as much as the moment nuclear weapons are when put next with these ragged on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The kiloton to megaton advance came about snappy.
1945 Hiroshima = 15 kilotons.
1954 “Citadel Daring” take a look at = 15 megatons
1000x in 9 years
33) The 2 closest calls, the times we came closest to nuclear battle, came about throughout the Cuban Missile Disaster. One become as soon as when the captain of a Soviet submarine below perceived menace from depth prices wished to launch a nuclear torpedo, and become as soon as talked down by one more officer.
34) The opposite closest call become as soon as when Kennedy almost launched a flooring invasion of Cuba. He become as soon as below mountainous strain from his protection force leadership and political advisors to prevent so. But they didn’t Cuba become as soon as defended with tactical nukes. They would were ragged.
35) Uncertainty about rival nuclear powers’ capabilities is unhealthy, as 34) reveals. The perceived “Missile Gap” resulted in an mountainous create bigger in nuclear stockpiles, even supposing the missile gap did no longer exist.
36) Public accountability is double-edged sword in phrases of nuclear posturing. The public can push for de-escalation, as within the case with the Nuclear Freeze. Nevertheless, leaders can face strain to no longer survey worn, as Kennedy did, and to no longer “compromise with the enemy”
37) Verbal exchange between the leadership of nuclear powers is extremely essential to defuse disaster scenarios, however right here’s in most cases when leaders face the worst political strain to “survey tricky” and “no longer compromise”.
38) There can even merely easy be a hotline between every nuclear energy to be used throughout emergencies. This for the time being exists between the US and Russia, and form of exists between Pakistan and India. Every other nuclear energy can even merely easy be conscious trip smartly with.
39) I predict Iran will efficiently take a look at a nuclear bomb within the following 10 years. 😬
40) Aegis missile protection systems can additionally be ragged offensively. The US can even merely easy no longer contain withdrawn from the INF.
41) The proliferation possibility from nuclear energy is extra necessary than the environmental and smartly being risks from nuclear ruin.
42) Nuclear energy plant life and spent nuclear gasoline sites are weak targets in nuclear conflicts. Long-lived radiological weapons are no longer easy since it’s laborious to trip so remarkable arena subject on a warhead. Nevertheless, it’s barely easy to hit a spent gasoline online page with an ICBM.
43) Nuclear powers can even merely easy negotiate about which which targets that can even merely easy be prevented in a nuclear battle. Nuclear energy plant life & gasoline sites, dams, and so on. can even merely easy be hit in no plan.
44) It appears paradoxical that states would possibly opinion for nuclear wars which would possibly ruin millions of of us, and but additionally negotiate in advance to slash back the injure of such wars. It’s much less paradoxical than it appears, and if completed smartly wouldn’t be destabilizing.
45) Early US nuclear focused on protection become as soon as extremely inflexible and needlessly genocidal. Whereas the US easy has the worst of these plans, updated with as much as the moment capabilities, they ALSO contain plans that will well spare cities and steer certain of all-out nuclear battle.
46) Situation 6 / Poseidon is an underwater, high yield, self sustaining, radiological weapon being developed by Russia. There would possibly be loads to unpack right here. First, that is also the first time a nuclear sing has equipped a weapons design aimed explicitly at radiological space denial.
47) Situation 6 can even merely additionally be the first self sustaining nuclear weapons design with the skill to prevent the rest extra advanced than merely attain its goal. ICBMs are “self sustaining” in a sense however they aren’t very neat.
48) The underwater palms is much less visible than the UAV palms move, however it with out a doubt’s truly the most attention-grabbing one. UAVs can even merely also be remotely operated, however Unmanned Underwater Autos in most cases can’t. AI permits all kinds of original underwater capabilities.
49) Stealth unmanned autos need extra self sustaining ability than other kinds of unmanned autos. Managing possibility of ample energy battle within the 21st century will require cautious thinking and planning about self sustaining autos & their interactions.
50) In a definite mild, nuclear battle would be involving. 🔥
51) Reputable launch detection ability & missile monitoring is an staunch thing for world stability. Uncertainty in this arena creates extra strain to behave on short timescales, which would possibly be detrimental in a disaster.
52) A handful of physicists fascinated with the The huge apple mission, fancy Szilard and Oppenheimer, contributed extra of their philosophical and visionary contributions than they did of their physics work.
53) The political and governance problems of nuclear weapons are extra no longer easy than the technical problems. Leo Szilard & others dared deem via the implications and imagined conceivable solutions, as a substitute of the deterrence bandaid we ended up with.
54) Within the close, Szilard, Oppenheimer, & the different protection-oriented physicists acquired politically outmaneuvered. This doesn’t mean they were naive or their work become as soon as unimportant. It’s a laborious game to play and so they were steady for attempting to play to bewitch, even supposing their chances were dinky
55) Within the close, the question of what to prevent about nuclear weapons is a query of geopolitical energy and governance. Cherish climate change, nuclear weapons pose risks for every sing, however differ in that they are managed by a dinky need of actors.
56) Native institutional incentives desire maintaining a sing’s earnings in deterrence ability, which is stable within the short duration of time, as we’ve seen. Nevertheless, the prolonged duration of time, deterrence will fail and nuclear wars will happen.
57) Human establishments are no longer perfectly rational and nuclear deterrence is no longer magic.
58) We’ve lost something precious that some intellectuals within the 40s and 50s possessed: the bravery and creativity required to imagine systems of international governance that would greatly minimize possibility of nuclear ear. Take a look at out the assortment of essays “One World or None”
59) It’s easy to be cynical about the seemingly of real international governance of nuclear weapons. The early efforts in direction of this never came end to succeeding. That doesn’t mean we can even merely easy give up.
60) Idealism and cynicism are every robust attractors for these working to slash back possibility of nuclear battle. The veteran imagine we are in a position to attain Global Zero with out substantial geopolitical shifts, and the latter imagine we are in a position to most efficient shield deterrence. Each and each are importantly unhealthy.
61) The look of the implications of nuclear battle is severely passed over, given its importance. Funding, talent, and trip alongside with the movement of info all contribute to the neglect. Nuclear issues uncover so much of media protection, however very shrimp money is spent on, shall we reveal, modeling nuclear frosty climate
62) Classification silos weaken our records of the dangers of nuclear battle. Even consultants with classified to find entry to most efficient contain to find entry to to a fraction of the realm materials related to notion their arena.
63) There are legit causes, from every a national and international standpoint, to hang many dinky print of nuclear weapon tech, learn, & deployment a secret. Nevertheless, we are no longer smartly calibrated on which info can even merely easy be public.
64) The The huge apple Project physicists had robust views about the question of the best solution to balance secrecy and openness touching on to nuclear weapons learn. They most smartly-liked a ways extra openness than protection force and political leaders, however secrecy received out.
65) Particulars about the building and deployment of nuclear weapons can even merely easy proceed to be extremely classified. There can even merely easy be extra openness in learn about outcomes of nuclear battle. On questions of palms administration and verification, records sharing can even merely easy be negotiated.
66) The repeat and plan forward for nuclear deterrence is within the oceans. Ballistic missiles contain gotten extra unbiased steady and maneuverable, stealth & hypersonic tech has improved, so land targets are extra weak to first strikes.
67) Whereas UUVs received’t fully exchange nuclear submarines anytime soon, I inquire of the undersea arena to be an increasing selection of self sustaining as UUVs turn out to be extra suited. Stealth and lurk capabilities are the glaring advantages. A dormant UUV can take a seat on the bottom & received’t to find drained or bored
68) It’s very correct for stability if counterforce strikes (in opposition to a competitors’ nuclear weapons) remain prohibitively no longer easy. For now, the US, China, and Russia are rather remarkable from a remarkable counterforce strike. The train would possibly to find larger or worse, hoping on the tech
69) Advances in machine learning contain the seemingly to every give a take to and weaken stealth tech. They’re going to give a take to self sustaining capabilities of unmanned stealth autos, however additionally give a take to note processing & detection capabilities
70) The 21st century palms races are costlier than the 20th century races, involve extra actors, and span a broader dwelling of applied sciences and theaters. We’re residing in attention-grabbing times…
71) Wikipedia is a ample resource for learning about nuclear battle.
Hot take I know 🔥
72) North Korea is no longer going to disarm below the most as much as the moment regime. Kim Jong-un does no longer wish to trip the technique of Gaddafi. He received’t belief guarantees made by Western powers and doesn’t wish to be managed by China both. Nuclear weapons supply protection to him from launch air intervention.
73) The US, China, and Russia wish to cooperate to prevent extra countries from obtaining nuclear weapons! The US and the Soviet Union were in a position to prevent this despite their warfare. It’s unhappy that the most as much as the moment climate is so hostile to this.
74) Hands administration is underrated, especially as we command time. I wish to survey extra luminous younger college students look palms administration. It’s a miserable time for diplomacy, time to indicate that around!
75) Artwork and media positively contain a job to play in reducing possibility from nuclear weapons. I’ve been very influenced by Dr. Strangelove and The Day After. I’d fancy to survey movies that explore prolonged duration of time solutions to our nuclear problems.
76) The Day After is a ample, horrifying movie. It’s real laborious to viscerally truly feel what a nuclear battle can even very smartly be fancy. The Day After gets at that. Put in a dinky Kansas city, a bunch of practical American citizens trip about their traditional lives after which they don’t.
77) Charming and unhappy account about possibility administration and radiation poisoning: The demon core become as soon as a mass of plutonium ragged for sorting out that killed two physicists in much less than a year.
78) The US – Russia nuclear hotline is a rarely ever ever ragged. The final time it become as soon as ragged? President Obama warning Russia no longer to intrude on election day. Interesting signaling.
79) Why is nuclear battle unlikely to reason human extinction?
The most definitely mechanism of extinction is nuclear frosty climate. The worst scenarios survey fancy ~20 C cooling in heart latitudes, with remarkable much less cooking within the southern hemisphere. These outcomes dissipate after 5 or 10 years.
80) If there become as soon as a nuclear frosty climate as described, billions of of us would possibly die. It incessantly is the worst tragedy humanity had ever seen. And but that’s no longer end to killing all americans. Not much less than millions of of us would continue to exist within the southern hemisphere.
81) Nuclear frosty climate outcomes are reckoning on so much of issues, fancy whether or no longer the battle is throughout the frosty climate or the summer season. It additionally is dependent loads on focused on. An effortless technique to steer certain of a nuclear frosty climate is to steer certain of focused on cities or the rest that can even merely reason a firestorm.
82) The opposite seemingly mechanism for human extinction from nuclear battle is radiation. Nevertheless, quite a lot of the fallout from a nuclear battle would most efficient be lethally radioactive for a week or two, and would be localized to the continent where the bombs detonated.
83) Folks contain hypothesized that prolonged-lived radiological weapons would possibly ruin all americans, however 1) it would possibly maybe maybe well take a hell of so much of them and a pair of) with one conceivable exception (situation 6) no person has any.
84) Although a nuclear battle didn’t ruin all americans, per chance the inhabitants would be so diminished, and society so dysfunctional, that humanity would be killed by something else. Whereas conceivable this isn’t likely. There aren’t many programs for millions of of us all around the sector to die instantly
85) Possibly an outbreak would possibly carry out humanity off after a nuclear battle? Not likely, for two causes. One, a world pandemic spreads by job of human transportation. If human society hadn’t recovered, then there isn’t remarkable transport. If it had, then there additionally is as much as the moment(ish) pills.
86) Natural pandemics are self-limiting after a definite point. It’s remarkable, remarkable more difficult for a disease to ruin 99% of a inhabitants when put next with 90%, as hosts turn out to be scarcer. Folks are laborious to create extinct!
87) We on a standard foundation discuss about nuclear battle as if it would possibly maybe maybe well most efficient happen as soon as. But I deem nuclear battle would possibly happen repeatedly. A awful prediction: World Battle IV is potentially no longer fought with sticks and stones, however moderately with nuclear weapons, magnificent fancy World Battle III.
88) It’s conceivable nuclear weapons would possibly be one in all many factors that drives humanity extinct over so much of or thousands of years. Cyclical nuclear and traditional wars, climate change, environmental destruction, and so on. would possibly in the end create earth uninhabitable.
89) Nevertheless, for the sluggish extinction scenarios, we easy wish to posit mechanisms of human extinction. By default, americans will climate the storm.
90) When pondering put up-nuclear environments, of us in most cases repeat fossil gasoline depletion as a barrier to rebuilding. Here is with out problems staunch, however it with out a doubt’s a part that can sluggish rebuilding, no longer prevent it entirely. Folks are ingenious, and there are many forms of gasoline.
91) It’s attention-grabbing how some parts of tech stagnate whereas others development. The hydrogen bomb of as we command time is de facto corresponding to the one in all 1950. Provide systems, on the different hand, contain advance a prolonged technique and contain a prolonged technique to trip.
92) The ultimate nuclear bomb ever tested become as soon as the Soviet Tzar Bomba at 50 megatons, even supposing it become as soon as designed to trip as much as 100 megatons. They would well contain built larger bombs, however there become as soon as no point. It become as soon as extra efficient to create extra smaller warheads.
93) It can even merely or can even merely no longer be conceivable to create weapons extra extremely fine than nukes, however one hopes if these are conceivable they received’t ever be developed. Nuclear weapons seem like at peak destructive skill for any strategic motive.
94) The flexibility, reliability, and demonstrability of nuclear weapons would possibly be the explanation we peep so few organic weapons programs. The militaries most in a position to organic weapons programs already contain nuclear weapons, so why ruin resources on a much less invaluable weapon?
95) The largest organic weapons program so a ways become as soon as the Soviet Biopreparat, with it’s 30,000 employees. It didn’t create remarkable strategic sense, however potentially acquired inside give a take to as a result of the foundation that it would possibly maybe maybe well relief compensate for nuclear predicament.
96) I’m hoping states contemplating bioweapon programs would survey at the failed Soviet program and predicament the paradox of this kind of program. Whenever you happen to create it public, you’ll receive robust international condemnation. Whenever you happen to don’t, “your complete point is lost whereas you attend it a secret!”
97) It’s invaluable to survey to South Africa and the Ukraine for cases where states had or would possibly contain had nuclear weapons ability and voluntarily gave it up. The South African case is the strongest, since they developed their program on their maintain as a substitute of inherited some weapons.
98) If world thermonuclear battle appears drawing end and you’ve got got got got the resources, to find to the southern hemisphere.
99) Battle Video games is a ample movie. I’m no longer certain there’s all that remarkable in it to gain out about nuclear battle, even supposing “the most efficient a hit trip is no longer to play” feels fancy a expedient sentiment despite the fact that it’s no longer actionable. But there’s nothing fancy an 80s teenage hacker movie featuring nukes and AI.
100) Risk of nuclear battle is scary however the train is plan from hopeless! Folks are amazingly resilient, and somehow now we contain robust incentives to cooperate. With unbiased steady fortune, we are in a position to hill climb to extra stable equilibria, and gain a path to longterm peace and stability.