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[flagged] Billions could die if India and Pakistan engage in nuclear war (nationalinterest.org)
49 points by sricola 55 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments

India and Pakistan are not going to have a conventional war, let alone Nuclear war. They will have this special ops/ militant proxy fights. Things have escalated because of election season in India, once the election is over, the tempers will lower.

Billions could die is a good headline, to get attention. Without taking lightly of serious situation, the appetite for a full war is not there in neither countries, all they want is some bragging rights. Politicians are willing to serve some of it.

>Things have escalated because of election season in India, once the election is over, the tempers will lower.

Things have escalated because of the worst single incident since 1989, in which a radical terrorist suicide bombed 40 people in one go.

I really doubt things would be calm if it weren't election season.

I agree with you in that the will for this kind of thing mostly isn't there, but the problem with nuclear arms is and has always been a failure of C&C structures and miscommunication during a crisis leading to an unintentional first strike. Manufactured or no, I think we can say that the skirmishes between India and Pakistan are a crisis that has the potential to lead to actors in either country fucking up. BTW, this isn't unique to India or Pakistan, it was the primary concern for most of the cold war as well.

i must disagree that the appetite is not there. consider this indian TV station: https://www.republicworld.com/livetv

you will note that on the marquee at the top, one of the statements reads "DECISIVE BATTLE IS NEED OF HOUR."

on twitter, both indians and pakistanis appear to be calling for escalation of the war while believing that their side is the one that is winning the skirmishes. the people i've been following on both sides appear to think that their militaries will prevail. of course, their statements cannot be mutually true in reality. but the public opinion apparatus appears to be oriented towards pushing an immediate escalation of the war, and there may be significant grassroots support for escalation independently of that.

on the other hand, pakistani airforce removed the fuzes from bombs which they dropped on several indian positions, so it was more like a "we could have gotten you, if we wanted to" action. and the indian air force appears to be bombing empty ground from the get-go, which serves the same signalling purpose. furthermore, for all the artillery shelling the two sides have been doing, it seems like casualties and damage are nearly nonexistent at present.

i doubt that billions will die. but this isn't a minor flap anymore -- it's the precipice of a larger and more destructive conflict. such a conflict could still be limited, however, such as in the kargil war.

> This is no accident: as Khan said, Pakistani leaders intentionally leave their nuclear threshold ambiguous.

It's interesting to me that this strategy persists. While outwardly cunning, the danger of an unarticulated threshold is total annihilation. A double edged strategy, to say the least.

There is not going to be any war. Elections season, patriotic drive.

Even if all 140 nuclear warheads of Pakistan are deployed their impact will barely destroy a district in India. Same applies for Indian warheads. It is dangerous but nowhere near what media exgaggerate. Try nukemap site and see coverage area.

Disclaimer: National Interest is a neocon soapbox.


From 2017, i wonder if the comments about the nuclear arsenal are out of date now.

Nuclear weapons take time and money to develop. I doubt much has changed in the last two years.


Eliminating 6% of global emissions won't solve anything. The nuclear fallout, clean up and rebuilding will make it much worse.

I’d imagine you’d need quite a few nuclear blasts to get anywhere close to 6% global emissions

Is 6% the right number anyway? I wouldn’t be surprised if emissions in that part of the world were growing.

I took a number from 2015 where it said India had 6% of emissions and Pakistan had less than 1%.

There's still the rest of the world…unless you're trying to say that there won't be an environment left to save?


According to the article, I don't think it's India who is portrayed to be the rogue state -- it's Pakistan.

>> Among the most audacious were the 2001 attacks on India’s parliament and the 2008 siege of Mumbai, which killed over 150 people. Had such an attack occurred in the United States, Narang said, America would have ended a nation-state.

The reason why India didn’t respond to force, according to Narang, is that—despite its alleged Cold Start doctrine—Indian leaders were unsure exactly where Pakistan’s nuclear threshold stood. That is, even if Indian leaders believed they were launching a limited attack, they couldn’t be sure that Pakistani leaders wouldn’t view it as expansive enough to justify using nuclear weapons. This is no accident: as Khan said, Pakistani leaders intentionally leave their nuclear threshold ambiguous.

The first time I have ever heard India portrayed that way is in your comment. The linked article decidedly does not portray India that way - in fact, the opposite, IMO.

How much South East Asia related news do you consume?

Did you even read the article, it addresses pretty much all of these points. It doesn't portray India in a negative light, it talks about they may eventually feel forced into a proportional response to terrorist attacks like those you mentioned. That proportional response might encourage Pakistan to start a nuclear war.

That's very realistic scenario that absolutely does not require India to be at all a "rogue, failed state with crazy leaders".

Perhaps it is only anecdotal on my part but the Australian, French, and British media I've regularly consumed during my lifetime has never portrayed India as a failed state with crazy leaders heartset on nuclear war. I would imagine there are fringe media who might, but mainstream media depicting them as a failed state or rogue state? Unlikely to impossible.

Apparently this person gets their news from the Civilization series.

Pull up BBC articles about India in past 10 years and I guarantee you that 90% of politics related opinion and news pieces are very biased.

The rest of your comment aside, the colonial mindset of western media is very apparent. Look at the BBC's treatment, very inflammatory.

Pakistan is the rogue state - in fact it's almost two states. The government, and then the shadow government/deep state of ISI that seems to do what it likes EG hiding Osama Bin Laden, funding/organising terrorist attacks in India etc.

It is only one state - the army. The government is just a figurehead. As Imam Tawhidi said, other countries have armies. In Pakistan, the army has a country.

well, duh

Ok, I know this is a low effort comment. But, this is a low effort article. Nuclear war bad! Next up: Water wet!

No country should be allowed to have mass-destructive weapons unless it has enough resources to compensate the damage that it can bring with it. More over the countries that possess mass-destructive weapons should pay insurance to its potential victims. I think it is the right way to disarm entire world.

How do you propose to make someone with a nuclear weapon do something they don't want to do?

It is the same problem as with human rights but multiplied by billions. If the world’s majority will accept this proposal, then it could make the minority to accept it too as it is fair enough. Technically it could be smarter sanctions and militarizing the borders of violator

Weapons are the reason there is peace in the world after WW2. Countries with no lethal weapons like Syria are facing war as of now while North korea doesn't.

Firstly, this peace has no guarantees, secondly, the potential destruction is only increasing with the time. Do you think that every country will have nukes in the future? Do you think it is the smartest of all possibilities?

Nuclear weapons could make irreversible changes on the Earth. It is much dangerous than any war.

Any country that launches nukes will likely be retaliated against with nukes from another country, one allied with the original target maybe.

After that, they may not have "enough resources to compensate the damage"

That is why I propose to pay insurance so that resources will be outside

What is the insurance premium on causing untold death and destruction due to nuclear hellfire?

It is zero by now. I propose to make it as high as possible

I look forward to reality where the US pays Mexico just for being its neighbour.

US may have enough resources to pay compensation “above zero” if it will be crazy enough to use nukes against Mexico. So it is the question of risk of applying of nukes and stated premium amount whether US should pay anything or not (btw insurance should be paid to safe places such as union of nations who will be able to give this money to victims)

The idea is to make a law against poor unpredicted countries with nukes (such as Pakistan or North Korea) so that they don’t use nukes as argument in the politics to make profits as it could end up badly.

Didn't your original message say "neighbors"?

Nuclear politics are a lot more complex than this.

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