If it actually came down to it, would USA/Russian/China nuke major cities, or is that bluff?
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May 22, 2024, 04:49:51 PM
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  If it actually came down to it, would USA/Russian/China nuke major cities, or is that bluff?
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Question: Well?
#1
USA would nuke major cities of the other two , not just military targets
 
#2
Russia would nuke major cities of the other two , not just military targets
 
#3
China would nuke major cities of the other two , not just military targets
 
#4
None would nuke major cities that devastate much more than military targets
 
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Author Topic: If it actually came down to it, would USA/Russian/China nuke major cities, or is that bluff?  (Read 1240 times)
Blue3
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« on: March 22, 2024, 10:27:34 AM »

For deterrence sake, we know why we have the current assumptions and public language.

But if it really came down to major war between any of these 3 would any actually nuke major cities? Or if theres a military target in/near a major city, would they really use the biggest nukes instead of smaller ones? Would the U.S. nuke Beijing and Moscow with their biggest nukes, just because we are at war? Would Russia or China nuke NYC and Chicago and Los Angeles and Philadelphia with their biggest nukes just because?

Or do we think some of it is bluffing, so it never gets to that point so we never find out? But that they would actually show restraint and not civilization-destroying measures?
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Del Tachi
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2024, 11:24:58 AM »

I question your premise.  When has any nuclear power demonstrated, even rhetorically, a willingness to use nukes against civilians?

The goal of any first strike would be to take out your rival's (1) command and control centers (i.e., so Washington gets hit but not Orlando) and (2) reduce the capability of your rival to retaliate, which means hitting military targets like airfields, missile silos, and navy ports.  Below this first tier are secondary targets like power plants, communications hubs, and other major civilian infrastructure.  Taking out these facilities degrades your rival's military indirectly by disrupting their supply chains, communications, mobilization, etc.

A lot of civilians would certainly be killed in these attacks but that wouldn't be their purpose.  There is no strategic advantage gained from leveling Midtown Manhattan, and brazenly attacking civilians needlessly risks escalating the conflict beyond control.  Attacking cities only makes sense as an end-game maneuver to diminish your rival's long-term ability to rebuild and recover after their military has been destroyed, but at that point your armies have already moved in and taken control for themselves.
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dead0man
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2024, 11:50:15 AM »

Russia is the only unknown here, and I doubt they would.  It's not 1963.
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Ray Goldfield
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2024, 08:56:37 PM »

I think Putin would, but the odds are he would be shot in the head before he managed.
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Beet
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2024, 09:02:57 PM »

This is one of those things where the less people think it could happen, the more likely it is to happen. By the way, I still remember a coworker of mine suggested nuking Mecca back in around 2011. I don't remember what the context of it was, but there was nothing going on in the international stage that would have caused it. IMO whether by terorism or war, its only a matter of time before a major city is nuked.
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Blue3
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2024, 01:08:48 PM »

I question your premise.  When has any nuclear power demonstrated, even rhetorically, a willingness to use nukes against civilians?

The goal of any first strike would be to take out your rival's (1) command and control centers (i.e., so Washington gets hit but not Orlando) and (2) reduce the capability of your rival to retaliate, which means hitting military targets like airfields, missile silos, and navy ports.  Below this first tier are secondary targets like power plants, communications hubs, and other major civilian infrastructure.  Taking out these facilities degrades your rival's military indirectly by disrupting their supply chains, communications, mobilization, etc.

A lot of civilians would certainly be killed in these attacks but that wouldn't be their purpose.  There is no strategic advantage gained from leveling Midtown Manhattan, and brazenly attacking civilians needlessly risks escalating the conflict beyond control.  Attacking cities only makes sense as an end-game maneuver to diminish your rival's long-term ability to rebuild and recover after their military has been destroyed, but at that point your armies have already moved in and taken control for themselves.
This is literally what I'm asking. There just seems to be an assumption amongst the population that an major war between these nuclear powers would be extinction.
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Ferguson97
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2024, 06:27:52 PM »

I suppose it depends on what you mean by if it came down to it. I dont think any of them would strike first, but all of them would retaliate.
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TheReckoning
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2024, 11:14:15 PM »

I suppose it depends on what you mean by if it came down to it. I dont think any of them would strike first, but all of them would retaliate.

So the USA could do Desert Storm in Ukraine without risk of nuclear war?
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Vosem
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2024, 09:26:20 AM »

I think all three would certainly try (why wouldn't they?), though there are definitely questions about things like Russia's ability to target locations very precisely. (Also, for all three countries, the decades-long pause in testing means we don't really know if any of them are actually nuclear powers -- it might be better to write something like 'presumed nuclear powers'. That said, the generally good performance of antiquated US tech in Ukraine is a strong sign that American military maintenance probably is up to par.)
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dead0man
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2024, 01:59:04 AM »

I think all three would certainly try (why wouldn't they?), though there are definitely questions about things like Russia's ability to target locations very precisely. (Also, for all three countries, the decades-long pause in testing means we don't really know if any of them are actually nuclear powers -- it might be better to write something like 'presumed nuclear powers'. That said, the generally good performance of antiquated US tech in Ukraine is a strong sign that American military maintenance probably is up to par.)
I'm admittedly very biased, but I have full faith in the US's triad working good enough to get the job done.  (and that we wouldn't target population centers with no military value in such a situation, because why would we?)
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jfern
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2024, 02:32:36 AM »

I question your premise.  When has any nuclear power demonstrated, even rhetorically, a willingness to use nukes against civilians?

Other than August 6 and 9th 1945?
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dead0man
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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2024, 02:59:57 AM »

I question your premise.  When has any nuclear power demonstrated, even rhetorically, a willingness to use nukes against civilians?

Other than August 6 and 9th 1945?
they were both military targets.  Hiroshima was the military HQ for all of souther Japan.  Nagasaki was the most import port in the south and held a lot of military industry.  There was other things at play, sure, but there was military justification for the bombings.

<again, I'm admittedly biased>
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DaleCooper
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2024, 12:42:43 PM »

I question your premise.  When has any nuclear power demonstrated, even rhetorically, a willingness to use nukes against civilians?

Other than August 6 and 9th 1945?
they were both military targets.  Hiroshima was the military HQ for all of souther Japan.  Nagasaki was the most import port in the south and held a lot of military industry.  There was other things at play, sure, but there was military justification for the bombings.

<again, I'm admittedly biased>

These types believe that if there are civilians present then it immediately ceases to be a military target. That's why it's so impossible to discuss anything with these people. I wouldn't even be surprised if they'd say Hitler's bunker wasn't a military target because his secretaries were there.
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jfern
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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2024, 09:05:51 PM »

I question your premise.  When has any nuclear power demonstrated, even rhetorically, a willingness to use nukes against civilians?

Other than August 6 and 9th 1945?
they were both military targets.  Hiroshima was the military HQ for all of souther Japan.  Nagasaki was the most import port in the south and held a lot of military industry.  There was other things at play, sure, but there was military justification for the bombings.

<again, I'm admittedly biased>

These types believe that if there are civilians present then it immediately ceases to be a military target. That's why it's so impossible to discuss anything with these people. I wouldn't even be surprised if they'd say Hitler's bunker wasn't a military target because his secretaries were there.

When you kill 80,000 people with a nuke, it's a civilian target. Ironically the Hiroshima nuke killed more US citizens than any other bomb in history.
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jfern
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2024, 09:21:47 PM »

All of Japan was treated as a military target. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen because they were 2 of the least bombed cities and because of the weather conditions. Kokura was ruled out because of weather. Henry Stimson vetoed Kyoto.
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Burke Bro
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2024, 12:48:08 AM »

I think at one point in the Ukraine conflict when the Ukrainians were eyeing retaking Crimea, there was a serious concern that Putin would nuke Kyiv. Obviously, the tides have turned, but I dont think we should ever discount any country using a nuke when their perceived sovereignty is at risk (in a conflict with a non-nuclear country, of course).
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Beet
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« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2024, 09:41:48 AM »

I question your premise.  When has any nuclear power demonstrated, even rhetorically, a willingness to use nukes against civilians?

Other than August 6 and 9th 1945?
they were both military targets.  Hiroshima was the military HQ for all of souther Japan.  Nagasaki was the most import port in the south and held a lot of military industry.  There was other things at play, sure, but there was military justification for the bombings.

<again, I'm admittedly biased>

These types believe that if there are civilians present then it immediately ceases to be a military target. That's why it's so impossible to discuss anything with these people. I wouldn't even be surprised if they'd say Hitler's bunker wasn't a military target because his secretaries were there.

When you kill 80,000 people with a nuke, it's a civilian target. Ironically the Hiroshima nuke killed more US citizens than any other bomb in history.

Ultimately, if there's one civilian there, some people will say it's a civilian target. Otoh, if there's one soldier there, someone will say it's a military target. Thus, the whole military/civilian targets distinction is worthless. Everyone will have a different opinion. But we are the only ones who have used nukes in war, indisputably.
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omegascarlet
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« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2024, 01:55:12 AM »

I question your premise.  When has any nuclear power demonstrated, even rhetorically, a willingness to use nukes against civilians?

Other than August 6 and 9th 1945?
they were both military targets.  Hiroshima was the military HQ for all of souther Japan.  Nagasaki was the most import port in the south and held a lot of military industry.  There was other things at play, sure, but there was military justification for the bombings.

<again, I'm admittedly biased>

These types believe that if there are civilians present then it immediately ceases to be a military target. That's why it's so impossible to discuss anything with these people. I wouldn't even be surprised if they'd say Hitler's bunker wasn't a military target because his secretaries were there.

When you kill 80,000 people with a nuke, it's a civilian target. Ironically the Hiroshima nuke killed more US citizens than any other bomb in history.

Ultimately, if there's one civilian there, some people will say it's a civilian target. Otoh, if there's one soldier there, someone will say it's a military target. Thus, the whole military/civilian targets distinction is worthless. Everyone will have a different opinion. But we are the only ones who have used nukes in war, indisputably.
"Distinguishing between military and civilian targets is completely worthless because some people will split it in ridiculous ways" is a bad take.
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gerritcole
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« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2024, 09:21:54 PM »

An extinguished soul is an extinguished soul, it matter not what uniform or clothes they wear, I doubt any of us would call ourselves military targets because we lived within driving distance of some ammo depot. Ultimately we cannot police the evil out of war, war is inherently unjust, but better them than us
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