Apr 262023
 April 26, 2023  Posted by at 5:00 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Mark Chagall I and the village 1911



My good friend Wayne brings up some interesting questions about weapons, in the view of the current Ukraine conflict. Are nuclear weapons the most terrifying ones we know? Or have hypersonic precision weapons taken that “crown”? The answer is not all that obvious.

There is a persistent rumor that sometime in March, Russia hit a secret NATO base deep underground near Kiev with a hypersonic Kinzhal missile and took out some 300 people, including a bunch of high-placed NATO commanders. I have neither seen this confirmed nor, perhaps more importantly, denied. But Russia has no reason to boast about it, and the US has even less reason to acknowledge it happened.

What we do know is that US/NATO (or even China) doesn’t have these weapons, and Russia does. And that, from what I’ve read, partly has to do with the fact that since the missiles move at speeds of up to Mach 15 (15x speed of sound), they need a special heat resistant coating that only Russia has been able to develop. Moreover, these hypersonic missiles are not just much faster than any other missile, they are also far better at hitting precision targets. Try hitting a bunker 60 meters or more underground.

Here’s Wayne for some philosophy:



Wayne Hall:

The 1980s were the decade of the Non-aligned Anti-Nuclear Weapons Movement. The Non-aligned movement’s political line differed from that of the Communist-Party controlled anti-nuclear movements, which took their lead from Soviet diplomacy. The Non-aligned current had some party-political cover from Eurocommunist parties. It said “there are no good and bad nuclear weapons”. Implication: Soviet nuclear weapons are bad. To be consistent the movement should have called for Soviet nuclear disarmament when the USSR disintegrated, particularly because it was not clear at first whether Yeltsin would be better or worse than Gorbachev. Some of us did indeed call for unilateral Soviet nuclear disarmament.

NATO policy was for removal of Soviet nuclear weapons from Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine. But not from Russia. Why not from Russia? Well, for a start, that would mean abolition of the Russian nuclear bogy. What justification could there then be for NATO’s nuclear weapons? The Non-Aligned Anti-Nuclear Weapons Movement was clearly confused. Why were they not raising the demand for nuclear disarmament of Russia? They had spent the nineteen eighties ridiculing ideas of “nuclear deterrence”.

Yeltsin turned out to be (or at least to appear) even more open to ideas of nuclear disarmament of Russia than Gorbachev had been. The Non-Aligned Anti-Nuclear Weapons Movement called out NATO for fraud. Even official spokespersons acknowledged that nuclear weapons were “more of political than of military utility”. In other words they were useless, except for politicians (and journalists). The Swedes had recognized the uselessness when the nuclear hawk Olof Palme changed his stripes and became an anti-nuclear activist, presiding over unilateral nuclear disarmament of Sweden.

A demand for unilateral nuclear disarmament of Russia would have been a brilliant poke in the eye for the Tory smartypants who were always jeering: “If you want unilateral nuclear disarmament, recommend it to the Soviets!” Instead of raising the demand, some anti-nuclear activists simply started pointing out to each other that the Cold War is over and this should be recognized. Others didn’t do even that.

Since March 2023, the unnecessary character of Russian nuclear weapons has been confirmed. In March a provocation was staged inside Russia (by Ukraine? By NATO?) with civilians including children being killed and injured. Putin declared that there would be retaliation, and indeed, there was, within days. A command bunker in Ukraine four hundred feet underground (too deep then for run-of-the-mill bunker-busting technology) was hit by a Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missile and hundreds of dignitaries and high-ranking NATO personnel were allegedly killed. The media were pretty silent about it. And pretty soon the gaslighting started.

If this Kinzhal strike typifies the code of ethics that Russia intends to follow in its war making, the superfluous character of Russian nuclear weapons is confirmed. Attacks on civilians are punished by attacks on the top leadership of the side that resorts to them. The media propaganda machine is now bending over backwards to scream that the Kinzhals are “nuclear capable”. So what? Is a nuclear weapon needed to wipe out political leadership in a bunker? It is said that the United States has begun testing its own hypersonic missiles but the tests so far have failed. Will this failure be the prelude to a new arms race, or to abandonment of the 20th century mode of conducting wars particularly from 1914 onwards? The twentieth century mode of mass politics and mass slaughter of civilians?

When one studies the ideas of Hitler apologists it is easy to come to the conclusion that Hitler’s key intellectual mistake was to assume that the category “white people” includes Germans. The Boers had to learn the same lesson in South Africa, I suppose. Given this and given the assumptions of “nuclear deterrence”, which is an acceptable doctrine for the white people of NATO but not for the white people of Russia unless they face the “fact” that they too require to be “deterred” from destroying all life on planet earth, WOKE notions that “only white people can be racist” become comprehensible and the Hitlerian misreadings of the Coudenhove-Kalergi prediction/recommendation(?) of a world of mulattos following the extinction of “white people”, elevatable into a praiseworthy program for the future of this world.

If racism cannot be overcome intellectually there is obviously no alternative to overcoming it, or “trying to”, biologically. Is there? It seems to me that the logic of Russia’s development of hypersonic missiles, particularly given the way they appear to be using them, is the opposite of the motives according to which nuclear weapons were initially developed: i.e. elaboration of a mass “shock and awe” effect. Hypersonic missiles apparently aim at introducing military precision: graduated retaliation, which so far has been used to retaliate for attacks on the civilians of one’s own side. But the retaliation has been strikingly disproportionate, suggesting that one is planning to really stigmatize cowardly attacks on unarmed civilians. In effect stigmatize modern mass destruction warfare.

If it is true that “the West” is behind in this hypersonic missiles technology, how is it going to respond? Through embarking on a hypersonic missiles arms race? If it does to Russia what Russia has just done to it in Ukraine, there is a widespread view that this will trigger generalized nuclear war, which “the West” claims not to want. So what would be the purpose of getting ahead in hypersonic missiles technology? Public relations? Being first for the sake of being able to say that one is first?

It is said that nuclear weapons serve political more than military purposes, but those political purposes have to do with the “shock and awe” effect, not the ability to launch a precision strike at the nerve centre of the enemy (and so trigger the nuclear war one supposedly seeks to avoid). Will “the West” think this through or will it just go ahead anyway and “try to catch up and overtake”? Is “the West” thinking coherently about nuclear weapons?





Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.






Home Forums Western “Thinking” on Nuclear Weapons

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
  • #134157

    Mark Chagall I and the village 1911     My good friend Wayne brings up some interesting questions about weapons, in the view of the current
    [See the full post at: Western “Thinking” on Nuclear Weapons]

    Alexander Carpenter

    Speed of sound


    Small correction: Mach 15 is 15x the speed of sound – the speed of light is still an unbreakable limit in the universe, so far as I am aware!


    Corrected, merci. Wait till you see the speed at which my brain works….

    Alexander Carpenter

    If I were a Ukranian general officer, I would hesitate to initiate any general attack that might generate ethnic-Russian casualties. Were I that general’s boss, ditto. And then…?
    There’s a lot of “eventually” before we get to the Western capitals.
    Perhaps it’s no wonder that the “war” is now one of words, and is not “kinetic.”
    “Putin” plays a great waiting-game, and is more credible for accomplishing “his” stated aims than the cowboys on the other side.
    It will be interesting to watch the foldings we expect, from one or both sides.

    Autonomous Unit

    the speed of light is still an unbreakable limit in the universe

    unless you are a politician. they make their own reality. They are mandating EV vehicles without regard
    to whether or not the electrical grid can carry they load.


    @ilargi ” Wait till you see the speed at which my brain works….”

    Ha ha you should watch mine, you’ll need to take a land mark to see it!


    Wait till you see the speed at which my brain works….

    I jokingly call Ginko Biloba my ‘smart pill’… take 1 a day about an hour before you’d like a clear head. Ginko is one of the oldest plants on the planet, great for circulation and sending o2 to your noggin. Helpful with minimizing HAPE at altitude, yake for 10 days prior to altitude.

    Hawthorn(e) berry is also great to take, excellent Heart support and harmonizes with either high blood pressure or low, no contraindications. Hawthorn taken with Ginko enhances memory.

    Kudos on RF and Soviet weapon development in general. Reliable, functional, effective…easy to field maintain. Their ‘surprise’ tanks kv-1 and t-34s shocked the snot out of the Nazis until the Grmns turned their 88mm anti-air guns to flat trajectory.

    Mosin, great rifle, ak47 to 74s outstanding… SKS… all used actively to this day in conflicts around the globe.

    Makarov… !

    With a broken systemic Govt, broken citizenry unable to reel in its Govt… who or what else will can check the Rogue USG ?

    Either from within…doubtful, or another Nation must intervene for the sake of humanity. RF’s weapons are key to that stabilization.

    Dr. D

    Not sure I’m following his points at all. Maybe it’s the establishment of more context. WHO was doing the Anti-Nuclear? Americans? Hippies who existed at that time? Brits? Germans?

    Yes we followed that, as they were merely sloganeers without a vision, when the slogan passed, they disappeared too, which left them without a path for the newly-fallen Russia. That is, since they only wanted their own theoretical safety, mentally, they didn’t give a rip about Russia or Russians and were perfectly happy for Cheney and Hermitage to kill them all one by one so long as they were safely in Vermont.

    We have the same terrible thinking now. What about nuclear arms? Well a lifetime ago(again, and again and again) a thousand years ago, before we were born, nuclear weapons were Fat Man and Little Boy. They had to be delivered with slow cargo planes and made only a big round crater.

    That continued a long time with B-52, subs, and ICBMS. That leaves MAD as the only option. But slowly they got smaller and better targeted. Once they didn’t NEED as many, AND they’re expensive, they signed treaties to have less…of what they didn’t want anyway.

    So by the late 80s, nukes and conventional bombs had a lot more in common. They were smaller, targeted, and put up a fraction of long term radiation. There were battlefield nukes, and even suitcase nukes were rumored. Therefore, generals wanted to use them. Create a tactical logic tree that integrated them.

    However, the MENTAL reality, that is to say, the STORY, the narrative, the literary impression remained that using a suitcase nuke that took down a building or a tunnel was a “Nuclear War”, that is to say, an instant worldwide ICBM exchange. And nuclear winter. Which was no longer a reality since 1985. Which is logically and morally ridiculous. It’s just fantasy. So we can kill 6 million Iraqi kids is fine, but a microbomb that kills 500 soldiers is a bridge too far? What the actual?

    So for ANOTHER generation, since at least 2000, we’ve not adjusted to this new “Not ICBM” reality, even as occasionally it’s rumored such things are used from time to time, in Ukraine, Syria, etc. Fine by me, I guess, but they’ve made their own problem. That is to say, the problem isn’t real. It’s just made up in your mind. You use the word “nuclear” and “Everybody loses their minds!!!” — The Joker.

    So the Hypersonic kinetics go around a problem we ourselves made up illogically, from thin air. Fine by me, I guess as it keeps Boston from being whacked, but it’s all fantasy. I get tired of having to keep 2-3 realities running parallel all the time. What’s ACTUAL, what’s SAID, and what people BELIEVE.

    So if we get hypersonics and they’re not nukes, we can just level the Kremlin now? And that’s okay? It’s only bad if they ICBM us? No.

    Can we go back to a MORAL base where killing people for nothing, who are no threat to you, but are slightly different, is a BAD thing? We leave them alone, they leave us alone? Apparently not. It doesn’t cross the minds of the generals and politicians of course, but it never crosses the minds of the people either. The very idea of leaving others alone is anathema to them, whether in Texas or in Sudan. In other words, THEY, WE, have no morality, only violence.

    If we have sticks and stones, writs of law, and nightsticks, they’re happy to use them on anything that moves, inside out outside the country, citizen or no, because they have no morality or God. Who cares about the weapons in such a case?

    D Benton Smith

    The speed of light in a vacuum is really really fast, but that’s not the most remarkable thing about it. Indeed that’s not even in second place. Second place goes to the fact that 299,792,458 meters per second does seem to be the limit of how fast things can go under any circumstances, which just goes to show you how quick you have to be to come in second best around here. First place for weirdo nickel knowledge about light has to be that its speed is always and exactly the same (relative to the observer) no matter which way that light or observer is going or how fast either of them are going there. Now THAT’s remarkable. Truly deserving of the prize, I would say, unless you wanted to quibble and say that absolute hands-down FIRST place would have to go to the fact that there even is an observer in the first place to ponder such wonders.
    As for me, I’m still at the starting gate, with a relative speed (apparently) of practically zero, because no matter where I go, or how fast I get there, there I still am.


    Nuclear missiles are currently ICBMs. ‘B’ stands for BALLISTIC. It is like throwing a rock to hit a target several thousand miles away! Ballistic also means a fixed path so interceptor missiles can be positioned along the expected flight path. To hit a bunker you would need to send lots of nukes and HOPE one would be close enough to do damage.

    In most cases an ordinary Kinzhal would be more effective – for destroying bunkers, silos, power stations, dams, etc. They have a range of 3000 km and are accurate so very few are needed.

    Nukes are okay for destroying cities, but it probably wouldn’t be necessary!

    One area where Russia is a world leader is titanium alloys and it is my guess that this is how they have created a material so heat resistant.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.