Seriously... if you use a nuke first these days, the entire planet will cut you off, if they don't come at you with everything they have. If you were nuked first, then the taboo has already been broken, and the world would almost expect you to unleash hell on whoever bombed you.
I realize that global politics is a lot more subtle and complex than most folks realize, and maybe I'm wrong, but on this subject, it seems pretty damned cut and dried.
I really couldn't disagree more. If Russia or China nuked anybody, there would be a lot of world wide anger, but any actual acts against them? Ha ha ha ha ha. Even the USA's BFF the UK really could not possibly be more of China's bitch on a constant basis.
Here's how I see the nuclear powers.
Bad actors: Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea.
Good actors: USA, France, UK, Israel.
I doubt that any of the "good actors" would ever use a nuclear device first. Putin may be just trying to make everybody else think he's unbalanced or he may actually be crazy enough to possibly use a nuke first. I'm not happy with either possibility. India probably wouldn't use a nuke first, but Pakistan may be crazy or irrational enough to do so. North Korea is definitely irrational enough to do so. I doubt that China's civilian government would use a nuke as a first choice, but I fear that the Communist Party may not have as great a control over the PLA as they'd like to think and if the PLA has the ability to launch strikes without the CCP giving the order, there just might be generals crazy enough to do it because they don't believe anybody has the guts to make them pay for it. No amount of public pressure can make the 'bad actors" I listed back off and if anybody honestly thinks the USA, France and the UK are the greatest threats to the world, then you're delusional to a point that nobody can bring you back from.