On Tuesday the Biden administration issued a report detailing the number of nuclear warheads in the US arsenal. It’s way down from where it was.
As of September 2020, the U.S. stockpile of nuclear warheads consisted of 3,750 warheads. This number represents an approximate 88 percent reduction in the stockpile from its maximum (31,255) at the end of fiscal year 1967, and an approximate 83 percent reduction from its level (22,217) when the Berlin Wall fell in late 1989.
Additionally, 2,000 of the current warheads are scheduled to be dismantled, which will reduce the US stockpile to no more than 1,750 warheads.
I can only say: So what???
If all those 1,750 warheads were used – and please God not even one of them will be! – this planet would become as near to uninhabitable as it’s ever likely to get. Nuclear fallout would circle the globe, riding the winds of the high altitudes. It would pollute farmland, preventing food crops from growing; it would cause literally billions of deaths and/or cases of radiation sickness; it would devastate economies, nations, alliances and continents. Throw in similar numbers of warheads being used by our enemies against us, and you might as well write off the planet Earth and the human race altogether. All that would be left are a few unfortunate astronauts hanging around in space, who could watch their former home turn into a radioactive cinder while they starved to death, with nowhere to go.
Nuclear weapons have always been a weapon we dare not use in any sort of quantity. We didn’t understand that implication in 1945. We certainly do understand it now.
I don’t care if Russia, or China, or any other nation, amasses thousands of nuclear warheads. If they use them, they’ll be toast just as much as their target nation will be toast. This is a two-edged sword that will cut the aggressor as deeply as the victim.
By all means, let us have a stockpile of nuclear weapons sufficient to deter attack – but let’s be under no illusions about the consequences to ourselves of using them.