The world is heading towards a new era of nuclear armament

At the beginning of 2022, the nine nations will the bomb (Russia, US, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) held 12,705 nuclear warheads, 375 fewer than in early 2021, according to International Institute for Stockholm Peace Research (SIPRI) estimates.

Since its all-time record in 1986 (more than 70,000 pieces), that total has been divided by more than five by the steady decline in the enormous Russian and American arsenals built up during the Cold War. In fact, Moscow and Washington together control 90% of the world’s nuclear arsenal.

But that era of disarmament is surely coming to an end, and the risk of nuclear escalation is now at a post-Cold War high, according to the Swedish Research Center report.

Soon we will come to a point where, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, the number of nuclear weapons in the world could begin to increase, which is a truly dangerous phenomenon. »

A quote from Matt Korda, one of the report’s co-authors

After the drop marginal As observed over the past year, the global arsenal should grow again in the next decadecorresponding SIPRI.

The shadow of Russia

The war in Ukraine has led to several explicit references to the use of nuclear weapons by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and several countries such as China and the United Kingdom are officially or unofficially implementing plans to modernize or develop their arsenals, the institute points out.

Because of this war and the way Putin talks about his nuclear weapons, it will be very difficult to make progress on disarmament in the years to comeaccording to Mr. Korda.

For him, these statements are disturbing causing many of the other nuclear powers to reconsider their own nuclear strategies.

Despite the entry into force of the nuclear weapons ban treaty in early 2021 after being ratified by more than 50 countries and the five-year extension of the Russian-US Start Treaty, the context has already deteriorated in recent years, the agency said SIPRIagainst the background of concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and the development of hypersonic missiles, which are even more difficult to intercept.

The decrease in the total number of weapons is due only to the dismantling of Russian and American nuclear warheads. retired from service a few years ago. The number of weapons considered operational remains the same relatively stable.

Here are the latest estimates from SIPRI :

  • Russia: As of early 2022, 5,977 nuclear warheads (-280 over a year) are deployed, stored or awaiting dismantling. According to the institute, almost 1,600 of these would be ready for use.
  • The United States: 5428 heads (-120) but with more guns deployed (1750).
  • Next are China (350), France (290), the United Kingdom (225), Pakistan (165), India (160) and Israel (90), the only power of the nine not to officially recognize that it is a nuclear power owns gun.
  • For North Korea is the SIPRI estimates for the first time that the regime has assembled 20 nuclear warheads and has enough fissile material to produce about 50.

Despite diplomatic declarations All nuclear-armed states are increasing or modernizing their arsenals, and most are heightening their nuclear rhetoric and the role of nuclear weapons in their military strategiescorresponding SIPRI.

A significant build-up in China’s nuclear arsenal is underway in China, with satellite imagery showing the construction of more than 300 new missile silos. »

A quote from SIPRI declaration

Pentagon says Beijing could have 700 nuclear warheads by 2027.

The UK announced last year that it would raise the ceiling on its nuclear arsenal and chose not to disclose the number of operational weapons it has.

France launched a new nuclear submarine program in 2021, and India, Pakistan and Israel also appear to be developing their arsenals, according to the report. SIPRI.

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