Back in '04 on a political forum I visited frequently, a poster posed this question -
"What is the proper situation in which to use Nuclear Weapons?"
Giving this well thought out question every bit of consideration it deserved, I hesitated before I fired off my usual smart ass response. I pondered the variables, weighed the possibilities, and broke down the question to it's core before I answered. I came up with this........
The answer would seem straight forward. The proper situation in which to utilize a little nuclear influence would be when talking nice doesn't cut it anymore and tossing a few billion dollars into the right pockets does nothing to calm the frazzled nerves. Ultimately though it is necessary to get other countries on the same page we are on. And flingin a nuke in the direction of trouble will always get their attention. Besides, what's the point of owning a tool if you aren't going to use it once in awhile?
Possibly more important than when to nuke, is which nuke do you pick to nuke with?
Use of nuclear weapons is not a task to be taken lightly. The deployment and detonation of the wrong size nuke, or even worse, dropping one on the wrong target can be real blunders frowned upon by the boys in the international nuke club. So picking the right weapon for the job is paramount.
You have a little flare up in some backwater country. Assume only the indigenous population is affected. Well, you don't drop a 500 megatonner on the capitol. That would just be a waste of a good weapon. Bush leaguers kill a fly with a sledgehammer. Lobbing a few low yield tactical nukes from a tank or cruise missle is usually enough to calm things down.
But say you have 2 countries going at it hard and vital resources are threatened. This might just call for 2 larger nukes, one for each capitol but safely distanced from the vital resource. This sends a strong message that we don't want any more funny business from either side. At least not while their resources are still there and not here. They may own the ground the resources are in but we own the rights to them. Manifest Destiny and some banana companies proved that over 100 years ago.
After picking the proper nuke for the job, targeting becomes the next important task. People often do not appreciate the importance of this apparently minor detail. But believe me, hitting what you are aiming at will keep the respect of your peers and allow you to sleep soundly at night. Nothing worse than just wounding them. All it does is piss em off and then you have to come back with another, possibly larger nuke. Calculate twice, and blow it up once. Anything else is just inefficient and inexcusable.