Nuclear Arsenal : Oddities of graphics

The concept of Minimum Credible Nuclear Deterrence (MCND) is debated in ‘informed‘ circles without really specifying what it means. Some notions have been aired such as ‘Second strike capability’, which are really a throwback to the cold war era doctrines evolved at Rand Corporation & elsewhere. Whether any attempt has been made to contextualize these borrowed concepts in regional & global frameworks of the 21st century, I am not aware.

I found following 4 graphics in the course of my quest for some information yesterday. The graphics at first glance seem revelatory but on closer scrutiny appear either doctored to meet some hidden agenda or are simply wrong.

  1. Warhead Arsenals : While Russia’s overwhelming numerical superiority was the popular whipping boy of US cold war propaganda rhetoric about the ‘Evil empire’ and ‘Red terror’, the grand sophistication & full operational readiness of US nuclear warheads was little known. The de jure Soviet edge was actually a de facto sham. The real oddity though is Pakistan tipping the scale at 60 to India’s 50 warheads.
  2. Global Reach : China is a surprise clear winner at a range of 8,100 miles to Russia’s 6,850 miles & US 6,100 miles. This does stretch credulity beyond a point of no return. Is it yet another indication of who US considers the next credible potential threat?
  3. Casualties from a similar 1 megaton Airburst : While no city from US or Russia figures in the comparison, neither is the implication of the word ‘airburst’ clear. May be outside London no other metropolitan unit from the developed world has a population density comparable to that of Delhi & Beijing and therefore its selection over others. Delhi has twice the casualties of Beijing while its population is less by 8%. Is it on account stronger and better infrastructure in Beijing along with superior post-disaster management system?
It would be educative to have views of the people who are knowledgeable in these matters. Its utility in the discourse on ‘123 agreement’ will be readily recognized by many.

PS : The link to the web-site, which had these graphics, is unfortunately lost. If it is found, I will update the record.


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