How do 'nano weapons' work, and why does U.S. trail China in molecular nanotechnology?

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By Lev Navrozov

Lev Navrozov emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1972 He settled in New York City where he quickly learned that there was no market for his eloquent and powerful English language attacks on the Soviet Union. To this day, he writes without fear or favor or the conventions of polite society. He chaired the "Alternative to the New York Times Committee" in 1980, challenged the editors of the New York Times to a debate (which they declined) and became a columnist for the New York City Tribune. His columns are today read in both English and Russian.
Lev Navrozov

August 8, 2004

These are the two questions that my readers ask especially often. Let me confront the first of these two questions by the question asked in 1900, 1941, or 2004: how does nuclear power work? Pyotr Kapitsa, the favorite disciple of Rutherford, the founder (in England) of nuclear physics, came for a conference in Stalin's Russia in 1934 whereupon he was told that since he was, formally, a “Soviet citizen,” he would not be allowed to return to England and his laboratory would be bought from Rutherford and brought to Russia.

So, already in 1934, Stalin understood the importance of nuclear weapons. In 1941 “Pravda” carried Kapitsa's speech describing a weapon able to destroy a city, while an ordinary bomb or shell can destroy only a building. That was all. Stalin, Roosevelt, and Hitler knew no more, since none of them had studied in school nuclear physics, which was introduced into the school curriculum after 1945. Without nuclear physics at least at the school level, it is impossible to understand anything about nuclear weapons except that one nuclear bomb or missile can destroy a city. Hitler and Stalin could not develop nuclear weapons during the conventional war, which consumed all their resources, but they understood their geostrategic importance very well: Thus, Hitler said that the advent of nuclear weapons would be equivalent to the advent of firearms in the epoch of spears and bows.

Even today those who studied nuclear physics at school can rarely go, in their understanding of nuclear weapons, beyond the sketchy rudiments of the atomic structure and desultory terms like “chain reaction.” Yet this has not prevented them from understanding the military importance of nuclear weapons in the past sixty-five years or so.

In contrast to nuclear physics, (molecular) nanotechnology is not in the school curriculum of any country (except China). But this does not prevent the understanding that molecular nano weapons will be superior in their destructive power to nuclear weapons just as the latter were superior to conventional firearms. Molecular nano weapons are expected to be able to destroy enemy means of nuclear retaliation, needed for Mutual Assured Destruction—submarines with nuclear missiles aboard, bombers with nuclear bombs high in the air, and nuclear missiles deep underground.

In other words, the side that falls far behind in the molecular nano-weapons race faces annihilation or unconditional surrender, as did Japan in 1945 due to the U.S. nuclear weapons, which Japan did not have.

Those wishing to study the theory of operation of molecular nano weapons may go to the specialized literature on the subject, such as indicated in

This brings us to the second most frequent question my readers ask me in their e-mail. Thus, on July 29, Gene Essman wrote in his e-mail to me:

    I read all of your articles concerning nanotechnology. You continue to make the arguments that we, the USA, are not doing anything substantial and serious concerning R&D in this technology. I read an article on . . .

Gene supplied the article. Indeed, it says, in a sense, the opposite of what I have been saying.

First of all, the article makes no distinction between the geostrategic molecular nano-weapons research and the civilian nanotechnology—nanobusiness. The author speaks of nanotechnology as a single entity. In his opinion, nanotechnology is not ready for massive business investment, but American businessmen are so enterprising that more than $1 billion venture capitalists and corporations have sunk into startups since 1999. Or [recall] the $4.6 billion the federal government has authorized for both R&D and programs of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office. This level of financial attention to an emerging market is usually a sign that something big is afoot.

So how on earth can China be ahead of the United States in nanotechnology if U.S. businessmen have been racing ahead of nanotechnology itself?

The trouble with this vision is that in the commercial peaceful or civilian nanotechnology the U.S. business may be claimed, in principle and without any proofs, to be racing ahead of China—and of nanotechnology itself! But the geostrategic molecular nanotechnology might be at zero in the United States because businessmen did not invest in the nuclear Manhattan Project of 1942Ý45 and would not invest in the nano Manhattan Project, while the U.S. government and Congress cut late last year the allocations for molecular nano research in their famous Act financing nanotechnology in the next four years.

The tragic irony of the situation is that according to Chris Phoenix, an associate of Eric Drexler, the founder of nanotechnology, the nano Manhattan Project may require only $5 billion, that is, a fraction of what the nuclear Manhattan Project consumed if the investment is recounted in U.S. dollars of today! Nor will the duration of the project be essentially longer than was that of the nuclear Manhattan Project. The tragedy is that the relevant investment and duration apply not only to the United States, but to China as well. For China, $5 billion for a project as a result of which the “supreme leaders” of China will gain world domination is chicken feed.

Actually, the “” article is yet another sample of the general Western tragic blindness: The author's world is a utopia, a fool's paradise, a world without China as a military power.

Indeed, the Western oblivion of China as a military power has reached the highest peak. “People's Daily” (China) noted on July 23 that during their election struggle Clinton accused George H. W. Bush “of trying to be on good terms with China,” and George W. Bush “attacked Clinton on his appeasement with a 'strategic rival'.”

The present electioneering is the first case when neither presidential candidate tries to accuse his rival of a pro-China stand. China as a military power has disappeared even from the presidential electoral struggle. Both presidential candidates are impeccably pro-Chinese.

No wonder that in its survey of nanotechnology the “” article forgets that there is a country named China—the biggest dictatorship in history, and that this dictatorship is developing the geostrategic molecular nano weapons, just as Roosevelt, Hitler, and Stalin were developing nuclear weapons—for different purposes. Hitler wanted to help his conventional war for world domination, Roosevelt did not want Hitler to develop nuclear weapons ahead of the democratic West, and Stalin wanted to keep Eastern Europe against the Western opposition.

The “supreme leaders” of China want to prevent the democratic West from subverting their absolutism by the very fact of existence of the democratic West. Hence the latter has to be crushed as was the Tiananmen Square gathering that displayed an effigy of the Statue of Liberty. And a way to crush the West is the molecular nano technology, able to circumvent Mutual Assured Destruction by destroying the Western means of nuclear retaliation.

Lev Navrozov's (] new book is available on-line at To request an outline of the book, send an e-mail to

August 8, 2004

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