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Countervalue Detonations by the US by 2050?

Flourishing Futures Nuclear Risk Horizons Project


Countervalue targeting is "the targeting of an opponent's assets that are of value but not actually a military threat, such as cities and civilian populations". Compared to nuclear strikes against counterforce targets or battlefield targets, countervalue nuclear strikes would typically cause both many more immediate fatalities and much more smoke (increasing the risk of nuclear winter).

This question asks, conditional on the US detonating a nuclear weapon against another country, what fraction of its individual nuclear detonations will be countervalue detonations.

What proportion of offensive nuclear weapon detonations by the US by 2050 will be countervalue, if any detonation by the US occurs?

This question resolves as the proportion of offensive nuclear detonations carried out by the US by the end of 2049 (12-31-49) which are considered countervalue strikes, including strikes on capital cities. A detonation is considered countervalue for these purposes if credible media reporting does not widely consider a military or industrial target as the primary target of the detonation (except in the case of strikes on capital cities, which will automatically be considered countervalue for this question even if credible media report that the rationale for the strike was disabling command and control structures).

Offensive nuclear detonations carried out by the US includes only authorised, inadvertent, and accidental offensive detonations, not test detonations, peaceful nuclear explosions, or detonations by non-state actors who seized US-owned weapons.

The question resolves ambiguously if there are no offensive nuclear detonations carried out by the US by 2050.

Test detonations and peaceful nuclear explosions are defined as detonations which are claimed as being a test or a peaceful nuclear explosion by an official government communication within 30 days of the event, without this being disputed by reliable media, state reports, or multinational reports. If information is unclear, then resolution will be left up to the resolution council or Metaculus admins.

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