What's the point to pursuing nuclear weapon programs nowadays?

All this talk about Iran lately is making wonder if anyone can explain, in realpolitik terms, what they have to gain by trying to acquire nuclear weapons. Look at all the other countries with nukes. Not a single one has been used militarily since 1945. We got thousands sitting around collecting dust. Joining the nuclear club seems like joining Mensa–all bragging rights, but ultimately pointless.

And even if Iran acquires them and sets one off in the battlefield, wouldn’t that just bring universal condemnation, not to mention a higher likelihood to use ours to reduce their country to a puddle of molten glass?

Iran is run by people who think they will all be sent to heaven if they die in the act of exterminating the enemy (in this case, America and Israel.) They’re not like the Americans or the French or even the Soviets; as bad as the Soviets were, at least they didn’t want to see the entire country of Russia completely vaporized just to make a point about how great Communism is. Whereas many people in positions of power in Iran are not afraid of dying.

They are not afraid of dying. Do you understand how huge of an issue this is? They honestly believe they will go to heaven - and that all the people who are killed in the counter-attack will also go to heaven, as they will die the “glorious” death of a “martyr.”

I do believe that they are trying to get nukes because they actually WANT to use them, unlike everyone else who got or tried to get nukes because they DIDN’T want to use them.

[quote=“Argent_Towers, post:2, topic:610577”]

Iran is run by people who think they will all be sent to heaven if they die in the act of exterminating the enemy (in this case, America and Israel.) …/QUOTE]

Do you have an actual cite for this, as it sounds like it’s total bullshit to me.

Countries build nuclear weapons as a threat, and it’s arguable whether they are worth the investment. Generally the threat is posed in defensive terms – if you invade or attempt to destroy us, we will nuke you and destroy you. That is the rationale America used to build tens of thousands of nukes, and the concept was known as MAD (mutual assured destruction) – no matter how hard you hit us, our retaliation will assure that yours will be a (literally) pyrrhic victory.

Look at all the other countries with nukes. Not a single one has been attacked militarily since they got Nukes.

Doesn’t that answer your question?

Like other military technology, researching and building weapons has side effects (intended and unintended), it’s possible that researching nuclear bombs can provide insight into nuclear phenomena useful for energy that may not come up when researching nuclear power point blank (in researching how to make it more violent, you may inadvertently stumble onto some property that allows you to contain it better – as a completely made up example). Granted, that’s for STUDYING it, I can’t give a good reason for physically BUILDING it.

As I said in a different thread, nukes give a country political power first and foremost.


That may not be the case. Israel supposedly had some nukes before the 1973 war, but I don’t know if this has been confirmed. But, in general support of your point, even if they had a few, odds are their enemies didn’t know it yet. And deterrence doesn’t work of the other side doesn’t know you have the weapons.

Vicullum, I didn’t know that Argentina had nukes. When did that happen?

Jragon, for a couple of non-invented examples, nuclear weapons research has been a huge boon to the astrophysics community in studying supernovae (basically, you can use much the same computer codes to simulate either), and has also been good for research into extreme magnetic fields (you can use the same techniques for imploding a lump of plutonium and for imploding a supermagnet to compress the field lines). Though of course I’d much prefer that such programs be supported directly, rather than eating the scraps from the military’s table.

Argentina invaded an island the British considered theirs. Sounds like being “attacked militarily” by me.

The U.K. would not have nuked Argentina during the Falklands War, as that would have been an over-reaction. However, if Saddam Hussein had had nuclear weapons when the U.S. invaded, it would have made sense for him to use them, either against U.S. bases or against Israel. North Korea would have a similar logic: if you invade us, we nuke Seoul and/or Tokyo. And people in the U.S. are now talking up war with Iran: if the U.S. is threatening the existence of Iran, it makes sense for Iran to want nuclear weapons as a counter-threat.


I’m with “Argent Towers” on this one.


cough bullshit cough

In case you haven’t noticed the people who actually RUN these countries tend to manipulate easily led young believers into carrying out suicide attacks but are remarkably careful about themselves. Has any leader of any Islamic country ever actually been involved in a Suicide attack themselves?

Iran wants nuclear weapons to prevent the US from being able to overpower them with massive airstrikes. Same reason North Korea wants them.

Has a country with nuclear weapons ever been invaded?

Has any leader of any western country ever actually been involved in a military offensive on the front line?

I wish I had thought to ask that. :wink:

Begging your pardon, didn’t see you post. I actually wasn’t sure if it were definitely the case. Although it depends I suppose it depends on what you define “attacked militarily” as. For instance, Iraq’s scud attacks on Israel during the First Gulf War. Or did any of apartheid South Africa’s neighbours attack it while it had nukes?

Yeah, if you want to seriously stretch the definition as Vicullum did you can probably claim that all the nuclear powers have been invaded.

Back in the real world, no attack on a nuclear power has been serious in the sense of actually threatening the existence of the state or the welfare of its citizens. If you compare that to the German invasions of a pre-Nuclear USSR or France or the Japanese invasion of a pre-Nuclear China or the US invasion of a pre-Nuclear North Korea the difference is stark and the reason for wanting nukes seems pretty damn obvious.

a) yes, the mad mullahs really are that crazy. They really believe they’re in a jihad which justifies their using nuxe against infidels. Why the reluctance of Westerners to accept this? Does anyone doubt the Nazis & Imperial Japanese wouldn’t have used em had they gotten them in WW2? Democracies going to war against totalitarians now realize the savagery of the enemy they’re fighting. Iran would set the world aflame were it to bring an end to the jihad (and consequently the infidels in the process).
b) the ‘don’t-fuck-with-us-because-we-got-nuxe’ effect - obviously a good deterrent against any invasion, helpful to close the Strait of Hormuz, etc.
c) proliferation - perhaps the biggest threat & reason why we must deny them - they have no need to perfect delivery systems once the fissioning is worked out - they merely can hand out suitcase nuxe like lollipops to terrorists like Al Qaida & have them do all the freelance dirtywork, like Syria does with its (non-nuclear) weaponry in Lebanon & elsewhere.
d) bargaining chip/blackmail. ‘You want us to abandon our nuke program? Fine. Give us $20 billion dollars. Or force Israel to abandon its land. Or give us 200 F35 fighter planes.’. We sorta did this with Libya, removed them from the terror-state list & gave them some compensation in exchange for them abandoning their program.
In short, it’s to the Iranians’ advantage, & civilization’s detriment, for them to push on.