This author is of the opinion that Iran isn’t developing nuclear weapons. But those who believe otherwise might find themselves distracted by what students at Georgetown University are learning. At the Washington Post, William Wan reports:
Led by their hard-charging professor, a former top Pentagon official, they have translated hundreds of documents, combed through satellite imagery, obtained restricted Chinese military documents and waded through hundreds of gigabytes of online data.
The result of their effort? The largest body of public knowledge about thousands of miles of tunnels dug by the Second Artillery Corps. … designed to hide their country’s increasingly sophisticated missile and nuclear arsenal [which, they’re learning] could be many times larger than the well-established estimates of arms-control experts. … China’s nuclear warheads could number as many as 3,000.
The 3,000 warheads aside, what about the thousands of miles of tunnels, which Wan describes as the distance between Boston and San Francisco? One’s first impulse is to wonder why China would needs that many miles of tunnels to hide nuclear weapons. In fact, it sounds more like a shelter for its citizens to survive a nuclear second (retaliatory) strike after China launches a preemptive strike.
Presumably, though, the tunnels are used to transport nuclear weapons and missiles around the country without detection. Whatever its purpose, the tunnels constitute a massive domestic infrastructure project, the likes of which Americans can only dream of today.
Cross-posted from the Foreign Policy in Focus blog Focal Points.