New Cold war

The USAF are busy today sending a message to Putin. Are we entering a new cold on two fronts with Russia and China?




We’re not entering anything, it’s been that way for a very long time.

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I think this is probably a largely political area of conversation but I do think that should things develop much more then we would likely see a similar kind of situation; having said this I also believe that things aren’t yet at that point and I wouldn’t agree that it’s certain that we’re headed for hostilities with China and Russia

We’re not stupid enough to enter armed conflict with them. It will all be proxy wars so we can drag many not countries and innocent people into it without too much risk to ourselves.
The same applies to them entering conflict with us

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We aren’t likely to enter armed conflict with Russia or China any time soon. Russia aren’t prepared for such a war with NATO and China are still expanding their influence in the pacific.

The next likely war which would involve nuclear weapons would be Pakistan and India. This would be a localised conflict with minimal impact on the rest of the world however that is the danger. Once this happens and the environment impact is likely not as bad as believed previously, this makes the use of nuclear weapons far more likely in the future in other parts of the world.

However Pakistan are supported in a big way by China - certainly in terms of their military equipment.

India, while there is some Chinese input, have a bigger US and European influence in their orbat.

That’s where it could get tasty.

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Absolutely. Days are gone where you could see a potential direct confrontation from the NATO and the East, however they could likely become involved indirectly as you say, which could then lead to problems.

That’s why we have the deterrent, so that we can enforce Mutually Assured Destruction.

We also have the worlds largest stockpile of Plutonium. Thanks to our fast breeder reactor at Dounrey.

Once you have the plutonium, everything is just causing, wires and electronics.

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Well Valiant, that’s interesting because I made a similar prediction in a paper in 1985. I also anticipated that first use of nuclear weapons would occur by the end of the 20th century. I got the date wrong but I’ve seen nothing so far to change my view as to the likely protagonists. It just needs a malign conjunction in the respective leaderships and it could happen very quickly. Modi has long worried me but has been surprisingly quiet about some of the longstanding Indo\Pakistan grievances.

Where I do disagree is about the impact of even a limited nuclear exchange, it would be catastrophic. Having had insight into what an exchange of nuclear weapons would mean believe me that anything that has gone before pales into insignificance and the after effects would be unprecedented.

It is not an inter-state exchange that poses the danger of making subsequent use more likely, the danger in that respect lies with very low yield battlefield weapons. These feature in the Russian inventory and is is likely that their doctrine predicates use upon the lack of a credible response. After all who is going to respond to the detonation of a 5kt tactical device with a 20-50kt weapon, let alone something larger?

I do have concerns that our current crop of politicians and their advisors do not properly appreciate the threat that nuclear weapons represent. My generation grew up with them and we were prepared to use them, for it is the demonstration of that resolve on which deterrence is founded. When we stood Q we weren’t pretending and the fact that the Soviets took Able Archer in 1983 so seriously shows that we had convinced them we were serious although their analysis was incorrect. We understood that should we fail to deter it would likely result in the end of life as we recognise it and I am concerned that those whose “lived experience” is post Berlin Wall do not properly appreciate the appalling finality that nuclear exchange would mean.

Just take it from me that there’s a lot more to it than that. The physics are the easy bit of employing a weapon.


I’m afraid I can’t agree with you there.

Firstly assuming that the Russian Commaders remain rational the actual utility of a 5kt weapon in the modern age is lower than the subsequent risk of retaliation.

Secondly the Soviets always expected any war with NATO to go Nuclear certainly at the Tactical Level, NATO had the same expectation and any hot war almost certainly would’ve gone Nuclear, either as part of the opening strike or by whichever side was losing trying to rectify the situation. If the Soviets expected that I don’t see any reason why modern Russians would have a significantly different mindset. (Which would likely help them to remain rational in the first place).

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There are many papers of varying quality on the subject but this one is quite good and worth reading in full:

> Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons


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Interesting interview this morning on Radio 4 with C