The New Nuclear Math

July 1, 2009

Loretz_John_smartstuffBy John Loretz

Pick a number. Any number. How about 1,500? That’s how many nuclear weapons General Nikolai Solovtsov wants to keep in the Russian arsenal at the conclusion of the next round of START negotiations with the U.S. “We must not go below 1,500 warheads,” the head of Russia’s strategic missile forces said in an interview this week.

Maybe you prefer 160?

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That’s the number of operationally deployed warheads the U.K. has settled on as “a minimum, safe, and effective” nuclear deterrent. The Indian Defense Ministry reportedly likes the number 400, which would suggest that Delhi still considers itself a few hundred warheads shy of a “safe minimum.”

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