The creep of nuclear and other once unthinkable weapons into mainstream war use
Small scale nuclear and biological weapons (so-called 'tactical' weapons) are accepted tools in many conflicts now. This is partly due to their use by Russia and various Chinese-related entities, as well as other states, and by certain terrorists as well, in decades past. Surprisingly, USAmerica started the trend, though perhaps unwittingly, with a change in its nuclear posture defense policy in 2002. This change indicated a lower threshold for possible use of nuclear weapons than America had ever held to before (at least in official terms). This change, along with other unilateral policy changes of America around the same time (which alarmed or worried many around the world), burst the treaty dam previously slowing the pace of global nuclear weapons proliferation, as well as the development of biochemical weapons. One result was the wider sales of nuclear and biochemical technologies from first, second, and third tier powers to pretty much anyone and everyone with the money to buy them-- even wealthy individuals. Sometime later the US and others tried to reverse these trends, but it was too late. Between 2002 and the late 2030s the number of nuclear-capable nations in the world at least doubled, maybe tripled. Hard figures though became ever harder to come by over time, as improvements in many technologies allowed such developments to be better hidden and cost less than in previous eras. Several surprises in ownership of nuclear weapons came to light by the late 2030s.
Certain advances in nuclear weapons technology itself also aided these trends (ever smaller and more limited nuclear explosions are now possible via weaponry, compared to the entire town and city-busters of the late 20th century). Often many parties choose to 'fight fire with fire' in the 21st century, in regards to nukes and biochemicals.
The existence of new 'pure fusion' nuclear weapons with yields sufficiently small to make them acceptable for adding to the range of 'conventional' weapons-- thereby expanding the possibilities for 'limited' use of nukes in all future conflicts. It would be easier to conceal the production of such pure fusion weapons too, compared to previous nuclear technologies.
-- "Activists up in arms over superlaser" by KEAY DAVIDSON, San Francisco Examiner. Distributed by Scripps Howard
News Service, Nando.net, 7-21-98
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