Sunday, March 18, 2007

This Ain't a Scene...

Do you know how many countries in the world have nuclear weapons? The answer is 8 (read: 9).

There are five nation states that are officailly allowed to possess them, according to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was opened for signature on July 1st, 1968 and extended indefinitely in 1995.

They are:

United States - Not only were The Stars and Stripes the first country to complete the development of a nuclear weapon, we also have the distinction of being the only country to ever use one, against Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the conclusion of the second World War. We were also the first to develop and test a hydrogen bomb, "Ivy Mike" in 1952. These days, the U.S. maintains a working arsenal of about 10,000 warheads. Fuck yeah.


Russia - The U.S.S.R got 'em next, in 1949. Their nuclear program was created and funded in the wake of the Cold War, in order to balance world hegemony. At one point, the Soviet Union built and detonated the most powerful explosive ever created by man, the "Tsar Bomba." Unfortunately, they also whole-heartedly embraced Communism, and consequently, their empire collapsed in the early 1990's, putting their stockpile
(the largest in the world, by the way, with upwards of 40,000 chemical and 16,000 nuclear weapons) in the hands of their wise and even-handed president (read: crazed, brutal, iron-fisted would-be dictator).

United Kingdom - The wayward Brits were next, beaten to the punch by the Ruskies despite full, unimpeded access to the documents and research from the Manhattan Project. They finally got theirs in 1952, testing a weapon called "Hurricane". Today, Britain's arsenal consists mainly of their "Trident System" which is essentially a few submarines loaded with nucs that will act as a deterrent in the event of an attack. Unlike the U.S. and Russia, the Brits actually paid attention to the NNPT, and destroyed their general stocks in the 1960's.

France - We know, it sucks. France's first successful test came in 1960, designed as an independent deterrent from the U.S.S.R, after they weakened their ties with NATO. For awhile in the 1990's, it seemed like the French were disarming, they got rid of 175 weapons and modernized their arsenal to include mostly submarine-launched ballistic missiles and medium range air-to-surface missiles, but since the looming threat of international terrorism has greatened, Jacques Chirac reversed his countries stance, mobilizing new nuclear squadrons in Afghanistan and deploying the Charles de Gaulle, a nuc-powered aircraft carrier. Viva la Resistance!

China - In 1964, China became the first Asian nation to develop a nuclear weapon, in response to the perceived threats from both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. They have a public "no first-use" policy as well as a policy of never using these weapons against a nation-state that does possess them. Officially, China claims to possess the "smallest nuclear arsenal" among the nuclear-weapon states. With a program cloaked in secrecy, however, and a government not heralded for its forthrightness, unofficial estimations as to its actual size are, appropriately, all over the charts.

There are three (read: four) other states that are known to have nuclear weapons but have not signed the NNPT and therefore are not bound by its provisions.

They are:



Iraq - Just kidding.






India - In response to China, India tested what they called "a peaceful nuclear device" in 1974 (it was even called the "Smiling Buddha", so how bad could it be?), raising all kinds of fucking questions about the functionality and justifications behind the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. They have since tested weaponized nuclear warheads. The U.S. recognizes India as a responsible nuclear state and even signed a "civil nuclear cooperation deal" with them in 2006. They are believed to possess around 40 or 50 warheads.

Pakistan - In response to India's program (startin' to see how this works?), Pakistan began a covert nuclear program that is generally believed to have been supplied by Western nations.
(Read: Us?) Some estimates put the appearance of their first armed device around 1990, but they did not go public with their program until 1998, when they conducted a test at Chagai Hills. Pakistan has refused to join the NNPT before India does and rumors abound about an "overwillingness" to use these weapons during the Kargil Conflict.

The U.S.' relationship with India and Pakistan in regards to nuclear matters is complicated, but the most telling aspect of it, is that after the attacks of September 11, we lifted economic sanctions that were in place against both countries because of their nuclear policies, perhaps in return for their cooperation for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

North Korea - Yeah, despite governmental limitations on his populations electricity usage, Kim-Jong Il has nucs, kind of. In 2006, North Korea reported a successful test of a nuclear weapon but experts seem to believe that the test was only partially successful. As of this writing, the North Koreans are supposed to be dismantling any warheads they have and shutting down their Yongbyon reactor in exchange for beginning the process of normalizing relations with the U.S.

Israel - Israel does not have nuclear weapons.
(Read: Israel has about 200 working nuclear warheads whose existence they refuse to confirm or deny. Everyone knows they exist but we aren't supposed to talk about it. However, Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert "accidentally" gave up the goat (is that an expression?) in an interview last December when he said that Iran hopes "to have a nuclear weapon as America, France, Israel, and Russia (do.)"

Also,

Iran is in the process of developing nuclear weapons even as the rest of the world tries to stop them.

Saudi Arabia is most likely in possession of them (from Pakistan) and have said publicly that, in light of worsening relations with the U.S, they feel it is incumbent on their government to begin a program of development, although this does not seem to have actually happened.

South Africa used to have them, along with a bunch of former U.S.S.R satellites, but they were either dismantled or sent to the motherland after each country signed the NNPT.

The list of countries with failed programs is long and includes Japan, Spain, Egypt, and Romania when it was under the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu.

(Wow. That took a long time. In the course of our writing this, almost every team we picked to advance to the Sweet 16 had time to lose.)

7 Comments:

At 9:13 PM, Anonymous pistol said...

yes yes a chilling overview of the high stakes brinkmanship in which we are all powerless pawns.

but speaking of iraq, i just saw "3 kings" on tv the other night for the first time in years. i gotta say, despite having ice ("Dey snakes out dere dis big?!") cube and mark ("how'd these monkeys get so smart?!") wahlberg in starring roles, it was pretty dang entertaining. it got bonus points for using the words Sunni and Shiite in 1999. I am curious what the toad thought of this flick.

 
At 9:17 PM, Anonymous pistol said...

I forgot to mention it also had spike ("I've got to praise you like I shoouulololoud") jonze and george ("darfur") clooney. I'll take my answer off the air.

 
At 9:41 PM, Blogger The Awkward Toad said...

we remember enjoying "three kings" but we will have to watch it again before rendering further judgment

we don't, however, understand how the pistol can think that having ice cube would ever be a detriment to a film - maybe he didn't see "Ghosts of Mars" perhaps, or the Master P (er) masterpiece "I Got the Hook-Up"

 
At 9:44 PM, Blogger The Awkward Toad said...

p.s. - you'll take your answer however we choose to give it!

 
At 3:20 AM, Blogger SMangat said...

ghosts of mars was the hotness

 
At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Nicolae C. said...

Du-te, buh!

 
At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Keith said...

"Bandwagon's full, please catch another..."

 

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