They say the good news never gets reported


Arms Control Wonk presents a table of worldwide nuclear tests by decade. 1980s total: 439. 1990s total: 64 (or so). Final grand total for the double-ohs: two. (And both were probable fizzles.)


They say the good news never gets reported

  1. Hate to be the first somewhat negative poster but…yes those figures are heading in the right direction. But is it really as rosy as it appears? I suspect, nasty cynic that i occasionally am, the the big 5 no longer need to have actual tests any longer – although i'm equally sure some of their military brass would love to still have them. I suppose they conduct electronic testing or modelling or some such thing…the kind of minds that conceived these monstrosities couldn't rest knowing that they might miss a chance to use the bloody things because they didn't know whether they went boom anymore. The numbers are falling, but how about the yields, first strike capability, and window of warning…are we really safer? Well, thank god they're not going up anymore…that's a small blessing i guess?

  2. it's pretty clear we have a lot more to fear with conventional warfare and increasingly sophisticated technology to wage conventional war and insurgencies than being vaporised in a second at ground zero of a nuclear detonation. Which, given how the GWOT promises to be as never-ending and it is stupid and irritating, seems almost like a deliverance at this point. And let's not think about how much this is costing…

    So, no…this isn't "good news." It's not news at all.

  3. Ah, yes. Things are really bad. And when they're good? They're really, really bad.

    May I recommend John Mueller's "Atomic Obsession." That and a glass of whatever remains from New Year's Eve ought to cheer up you grumps.

    • I'm not grumpy. I'm bored.

      At least during the Cold War (which I suppose you don't remember all that well) there was an absurdity about the whole thing that united a lot of us and a gravity about a very real existential threat that motivated sober, temperate thinking. Nowadays, we're treated to hysterical shrieking and ominous warnings about what it all portends when some radicalized loony can't manage to set his underwear on fire. And I'm talking about people we're supposed to take seriously, not us anonymous shut-ins who don't have much else to do at the moment, 'cuz there's nothing on the teevee.

    • there are lots of other things that are good. just not sure that we ought to make too much out of what might be a misleading stat.

    • I knew I was forgetting something in this entry (the "Gardner-bait" tag).

  4. exactly. i also suspects that number of tests is a bit of a misleading proxy for capacity. also any movement in the range of justified provocations to trigger use would be key to know.

    • Nobody suggested that the number of tests is a proxy for capacity, or that nuclear weapons aren't still a problem. It's just a small bit of good news that there haven't been any nuclear explosions anywhere on the planet in ten years, except for two probable fizzles. I'll drink to that! Happy New Year, s_n_m!

      • happy new year to you to C_R. hope it is full of all good things!

        i guess i did read into Colby's post. and, while fewer like you suggest fewer explosions is fewer explosions i still think that the tests are not the biggest concern. i will join you for a drink tho!

  5. "Oh, I remember the Cold War."

    Oh, I'm sure you don't.

  6. Dan's just seven years younger than you are, old boy.

    • Seven years is a lifetime when you're 22 and buying Ostmark on the black market at a real steal and finding out you still got ripped off, since there's nothing worth buying anyway.

  7. "with key non-nuclear weapon states undermining the NPT, rather than serving as its guardians."

    I wonder if he means Canada.

    Some arms control experts have criticized Canada'sefforts at re-opening nuclear trade with India on the grounds that it weakens the NPT, and could permit India to devote domestic uranium to its weapons program, thus further undermining non-proliferation efforts.

    I wonder if the proposed deal with India will comply with article 18, 19 and 20 of UNSCR 1887, from September of last year.

  8. Am I imagining… or didn't France test one in the South Pacific 10-15 years ago?

    • It wasn't a test. They were killing Mothra.

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