For several decades, the main change in Soviet and American nuclear weapons policy has been to build more and to build better. Each country's new technological developments have been quickly copied by the other. Instead of becoming more secure, our countries—in fact, all countries—have become more uncertain of our security, more threatened. We are threatened both by the numbers of weapons we have developed and by their design.
The United States now possesses approximately 25,000 nuclear warheads. (Almost 2,000 warheads are stored right here in South Carolina, more than in any other state.) The Soviet Union has between 23,000 and 33,000. Britain, France, and China have each produced hundreds. Other countries, including Israel, probably control nuclear weapons. And many more—South Africa, Libya, Pakistan, and India, among others—have shown great interest in acquiring nuclear stockpiles.
There are more than 50,000 nuclear warheads in the world today. According to Nuclear Battlefields, published by the Institute for Policy Studies, these warheads,
most smaller than suitcases, can each obliterate cities. Just a few can kill millions of people and destroy the environment for decades hence. The smallest smallest nuclear warheads are ten times more powerful than the largest conventional weapons. The largest have the power of forty billion pounds of conventional explosives. (p. 37)
The Congressional Quarterly book U.S. Foreign Policy; The Reagan Imprint describes our most recently developed weapons as “more compact, easily concealed,