What’s Wrong With This Chart?

Posted: June 29, 2011 in Songs of Space and Nuclear War
Tags: , ,

Please carefully examine the following 2009 chart which is attributed to the Federation of American Scientists.  The FAS logo is not ‘Back off man, I’m a scientist.’

I see a few things.  One is the first arrow points to less than 40 Chinese nuclear weapons when the estimate is 75 to 100.  The next arrow points to 100 Chinese nuclear weapons when the estimate is said to be well over 100.  The third arrow says the number of Chinese nuclear weapons could more than double but still points to 100.  The fourth arrow (again) says the number of Chinese nuclear weapons is expected to grow to well over 100 and now points to 120.

Here’s a snippet from the original:

Unfortunately, “well over 100” can mean anything so it is hard to compare this NASIC’s projection with the CIA projection from 2001 of 75-100 warheads…

Yes, but 75-100 doesn’t mean less than 40, nor does well over 100 mean 100. The general idea trying to be conveyed by the FAS is “Such predictions tend to promise too much too soon,” (except, of course, when they don’t) even as it’s acknowledged

Yet unlike the other four original nuclear weapon states, China continues to increase its nuclear arsenal and has boosted its nuclear-capable weapon systems by roughly 25 percent over the past five years, according to Pentagon estimates..

Of course, the numbers discussed are limited to those thought to be targeted against the United States.  So why no angst and gnashing of teeth from the arms control cult industry community regarding China or the non-original nuclear weapons states?  Perhaps it’s because we so need another bilateral nuclear treaty with the Russians or a treaty not even Richard Lugar can get behind, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.


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