Zbigniew Mazurak's Blog

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STRATCOM commander confirms: the Russian, Chinese, and NK nuclear threat is growing; NK HAS miniaturized its warheads

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 25, 2015


In his most recent testimony before Congress, Adm. Cecil D. Haney, the commander of the US Strategic Command, in charge of the entire US nuclear deterrent, has confirmed that:

1) Russia’s and China’s nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals are steadily growing;

2) China is developing, and has successfully tested, two different kinds of anti-satellite missiles;

3) North Korea has managed to miniaturize its nuclear warheads;

4) In the face of the growing Russian, Chinese, and NK nuclear threat, the US nuclear deterrent must be modernized.

The Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz has reported that:

“On the nuclear and strategic threats, Haney said: “Today’s threat environment is more diverse, complex, and uncertain than it’s ever been, against a backdrop of global security environment latent with multiple actors, operating across multiple domains.”

Haney warned that the aging U.S. nuclear arsenal and infrastructure can no longer be taken for granted as safe, secure, and effective in the future without modernization, which is threatened by budget cuts.

“For decades, we have sustained while others have modernized their strategic nuclear forces, developing and utilizing counterspace activities, increasing the sophistication and pervasive nature of their cyber capabilities and proliferating these emerging strategic capabilities around the globe.

Haney singled out Russian President Vladimir Putin for “provocative” actions, along with Russian modernization of nuclear missiles, bombers, submarines, and industrial base.

The provocative actions included demonstrating nuclear capabilities during the Ukraine crisis and penetrating U.S. and allied air defense zones with long-range strategic bombers. He also mentioned Russia’s violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty.

China also is building up strategic forces. “China has developed a capable submarine and intercontinental ballistic missile force, and has recently demonstrated their counterspace capabilities,” Haney said.

On North Korea, Haney noted Pyongyang’s claim to have miniaturized a warhead capable of being fired from the new KN-08 road-mobile long-range missile.

“As of yet, I don’t see any tests yet that associated with this miniaturized claim,” he said. “But as a combatant commander, as commander of your Strategic Command, it’s a threat that we cannot ignore as a country.”

Iran recently launched a space vehicle that “could be used as a long-range strike platform,” he said.

U.S. nuclear forces remain in urgent need of modernization, he said.

“As a nation, we cannot simply afford to underfund our strategic capabilities, Haney said. “Any cuts to the president’s budget, including those imposed by sequestration, will hamper our ability to sustain and modernize our joint military forces and put us at real risk of making our nation less secure and able to address future threats.””

Haney’s statement that North Korea has likely managed to miniaturize its nuclear warheads is no surprise – in 2012, that country demonstrated its mastery of miniaturizing satellites and mating them with space rockets. The technology used to do so is the same as the technology used for miniaturizing nuclear warheads.

You can read the whole article here.

Posted in Nuclear deterrence | Leave a Comment »

The UK Parliament confirms: Britain’s Armed Forces must be rebuilt

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 24, 2015


When the UK’s current Coalition Government announced deep defence cuts in 2010, under it’s so-called “Strategic Defence and Security Review”, I warned that these cuts would gravely weaken the British armed forces.

The evidence materialised before long. While Argentina was threatening the Falklands, the UK had no meaningful naval capability to counter that. While Russia, China, and North Korea were staging provocation after provocation, the UK had no capability to counter that. When Russia invaded Ukraine, the UK was powerless to stop it. When Russian bombers flew close to UK coasts to test the RAF’s response, the RAF’s few fighter squadrons were overstretched by the necessity to respond.

A British parliamentary committee has now come to similar conclusions: the Coalition Government’s utterly irresponsible defence cuts have gravely weakened Britain’s armed forces, which now need to be rebuilt. As DefenseNews reports:

“Britain needs to rebuild conventional military capabilities lost since the end of the Cold War in order to deter further threats on Europe’s eastern border, the parliamentary defense committee has warned the government.

Maritime surveillance, nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological warfare training, ballistic missile defense, a comprehensive carrier strike capability, full maneuver warfare capability, more warships and aircraft, and possible prepositioning of troops in continental Europe are required, the report said

Entitled, “Re-thinking Defence To Meet New Threats,” the committee said Britain’s future military force structure and the accompany[ing] national security strategy resulting from the 2010 strategic defense and security review (SDSR) conducted by the current Conservative-led coalition government are no longer fit for purpose and need rethinking.

The committee cited the increasing security problems around the globe and particularly the threat to Europe posed by Russia and warned that Britain couldn’t afford to “retreat to isolation.”

“The current national security strategy is no longer adequate for this changed world, nor is the future force structure. It will be necessary to continue to commit to 2 percent of gross domestic product to enhance the NATO alliance and retain US involvement in Europe,” said the lawmakers.

“The UK will need to make tough choices within limited resources, about what to do, and perhaps more importantly, what not to do. … But it is vital to rethink the fundamental assumptions of our defense planning, if we are to help arrest the descent into chaos, which threatens to spread from the Western Mediterranean to the Black Sea,” said the report.

To bring the UK military into line with future needs, the committee said the government needed to build a closer coalition with the US and France, develop new asymmetric warfare capabilities, and develop the capacity to respond to the expanding challenges outside Europe.

Rory Stewart, the committee chairman, said the current SDSR had been overtaken by events and the military had to change to adapt to the new security situation.

“The SDSR and Future Force 2020 were based on the fundamental assumption that British forces should be structured to deploy a single brigade formation to a single key theater such as Afghanistan and sustain it there. But now we can see that we might be needed in a dozen different theaters, concurrently, confronting terrorism or lightly armed paramilitaries in one setting and heavily armed, formed units of an advanced military nation in another. More advanced military threats and multiple concurrent threats both require a fundamental rethinking of our strategy and our force structure,”Stewart said.”

The Committee wrote that “Britain’s future military force structure and the accompany[ing] national security strategy resulting from the 2010 strategic defense and security review (SDSR) conducted by the current Conservative-led coalition government are no longer fit for purpose and need rethinking.” But in truth, the military force structure, budgets, programmatic decisions, and the accompanying national security strategy resulting from the 2010 SDSR were absolutely not fit for purpose even back in 2010! Even then, there was no shortage of threats around the world, and the Coalition Government’s draconian defence cuts were utterly foolish even back then.

Yet, this idiotic Coalition Government, including its senior Tory members, will never admit being wrong. They’re actually PROUD of their record of gutting the UK military – although, of course, they’ll never admit they’ve done that, they still deny doing so and claim to have reformed the Ministry of Defence:

“British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon dismissed the committee’s recommendations, saying the government is already Europe’s biggest defense spender and was committed to spending over £160 billion (US $239.1 billion) on equipment and support over the next 10 years.

“The suggestion that we need to rebuild our defense capabilities is nonsense. Under this government we have gone from the £38 billion black hole in the defense budget that we inherited to a properly funded £34 billion annual budget. That means we have been able to commit to spending over £160 billion on equipment over the next decade to keep Britain safe — including new joint strike fighters, hunter killer submarines, two aircraft carriers and the most advanced armored vehicles.”

The real nonsense here are Mr Fallon’s claims. This government HAS gutted Britain’s armed forces, and the country’s defence capabilities DO NEED to be rebuilt. Under this government many crucial equipment programs have been dramatically cut or cancelled altogether, the defence budget has been slashed (in nominal terms, not even accounting for inflation) from £40 bn in 2009/2010 to £34 bn in 2014/2015, and the size of the armed forces – as well as their equipment inventories – have been slashed to dangerously low, woefully inadequate levels.

As for the weapon programs Mr Fallon cites – “including new joint strike fighters, hunter killer submarines, two aircraft carriers and the most advanced armored vehicles” – Britain committed to ALL of these programs under the PREVIOUS (Labour) government, NOT the current Coalition cabinet. The current government only (reluctantly) reaffirmed these programs – and cut most of them. Excluding the Joint Strike Fighters and aircraft carriers, all of these weapon systems will be procured in woefully inadequate quantities. For example, the UK will procure only seven (7) hunter-killer submarines, which will be barely enough to escort a British carrier strike group and the British ballistic missile submarine fleet. Beyond that, a fleet of just 7 hunter-killer subs won’t be able to do much, if anything.

As for the Joint Strike Fighter, it’s an utter waste of money and a totally useless aircraft. It is not truly stealthy, poorly armed (it can carry only 4 air-to-air missiles internally in its “stealth” mode), slow, overweight, unmaneuverable, smokes worse than an F-4 Phantom, and a single round from an enemy fighter’s gun could easily bring it down. It therefore stands ZERO chance of defeating current and future adversary aircraft. It is also useless for counter-insurgency operations, as it’s too expensive and overbuilt for such situations.

“The UK has the second largest defense budget in NATO and the largest in the EU. We are the US’s largest partner in the coalition air effort against ISIL, bearing more of the load in terms of strikes in Iraq than we played in either of the gulf wars,” said Fallon in a statement.”

Wrong. The UK is NOT playing a greater role – or conducting more strikes per day – in Iraq than during either of the Gulf Wars. The UK is now playing a much SMALLER role and conducting fewer strikes daily. During both Gulf Wars, the UK deployed scores of land-based strike jets and at least one aircraft carrier in each case. Today, the UK can barely muster a handful of strike aircraft – and ZERO aircraft carriers – to the Gulf to strike targets in Iraq.

Today, the UK armed forces are flying FEWER sorties, conducting FEWER strikes, and delivering LESS ordnance daily than during either of the two Gulf Wars.

The UK is NOT America’s largest partner in the coalition air effort against ISIL – France is. It has deployed squadrons of land-based strike aircraft (it has a few bases available in the region) and the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91), with 40 embarked aircraft, a vessel whose capability outmatches anything that Britain – or anyone in the world except the US, for that matter – can muster right now.

More broadly, as DefenseNews reported recently, France is now America’s most important European military ally right now – not just in Iraq, but globally, a marked change from 12 years ago. France is contributing (and is able to contribute) MORE than the UK can.

As for the UK having the largest defence budget in the EU and the 2nd largest in NATO, that is ONLY because other European states spend even less on their defense than the UK does.

As badly as the UK is underinvesting in its own defense, other European countries are underinvesting even more badly. Put another way, although the UK had deeply cut its defence budget, other European countries have cut their defence budgets even more deeply.

As Mr Fallon’s comments demonstrate abundantly, there are three kinds of lies: ordinary lies, big lies, and statistics as the worst possible kind of lies. He’s trying to use irrelevant statistics to cover the Coalition Government’s draconian defence cuts.

“As US Defense Secretary Ash Carter told me earlier this month, ‘the UK military has the ability to act independently, to be a force of its own in the world’. Our response to events in the Middle East, Sierra Leone and Ukraine recently highlight that the flexible strategy adopted under the 2010 SDSR and Future Force 2020 is working.”

This is also utter nonsense. The UK military has NO ability to act independently – even in the defense of its own country! Because this Coalition Government has completely axed the UK’s maritime surveillance aircraft capability, Britain now depends on other countries to fight submarines and to protect its territorial waters from such vessels! As was evidenced recently when Britain had to beg its NATO allies to dispatch ASW aircraft and ships to its home waters to find the Russian submarine that was prowling these waters and threatening Britain’s ballistic missile submarine fleet.

Posted in Defense spending, Naval affairs | Leave a Comment »

The “weapons and technology is unimportant; doctrine and tactics matter far more” myth

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 21, 2015


One of the myths currently being spread by people ignorant of defense issues – such as Pierre Sprey and Winslow Wheeler – is that the quality of weapons and weapon technology is unimportant, and that troop training, military doctrine, and tactics are far more important to determining victory or defeat on the battlefield.

Some people even quote Israeli General Mordechai Hod as supposedly saying (though I have not found any such quote anywhere on the Internet, except the claimant’s blog) that the Israelis would’ve defeated the Arabs in the Six Day War even if the two sides had swapped weapons.

This myth is completely false, both in general and specifically regarding the Six Day War.

The truth is that the quality of weaponry and other military equipment is of PRIMORDIAL importance to winning battles and wars. A moderately competent military advanced with superior weapons will trounce a better trained, better-led, but inferior-equipped force everytime, unless the inferior-equipped force has virtually infinite resources and can either swarm the enemy with sheer numbers or keep losing on the battlefield and keep fighting until the better equipped military tires of the war and gives up.

History proves this rule without exceptions. Throughout history, the only occassions when the better-equipped force lost was when the enemy either overwhelmed it with sheer numbers or had virtually infinite resources, patience, and public support despite losing on the battlefield.

Such has been the case with Israelis during the War of Independence, the Six Day War, and the Yom Kippur War, as well as the 1982 air war with Syria. During each of these conflicts, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) had far better equipment (not to mention leadership), and was better trained, than the enemy. But even if the Arabs had been better trained and led, they would’ve still lost because of Israel’s technological edge. Until the Six Day War, Israel had access to top-notch Czechoslovakian and French weaponry – and since 1967, the US has supplied it with the latest US weapons. The Arabs, OTOH, had only been able to procure obsolete Soviet weaponry.

How important technology is was proven beyond any doubt by the tank battle at the Golan Heights in 1973: just TWO Israeli-manned Centurion tanks were able to defeat an onslaught by 150 (!) Arab-used T-62 tanks and destroyed 60 of them. Just TWO Centurion tanks did this!

In another example, a small fleet of fewer than 400 F-15s has been able to achieve 102 confirmed air-to-air combat kills for NO own losses.

Some people will claim: “but the barefoot Taleban have beaten NATO troops in Afghanistan, the mujahedeen previously beat the Soviets there, the North Vietnamese beat the Americans in Vietnam, and the Israelis have been frustrated by Hezbollah and other Arab irregulars in Lebanon!”

True – but as I said recently, there is one exception to the above rule: it doesn’t apply if the technologically inferior force has far greater, virtually unlimited resources (human, material, financial) and/or popular support.

This is what happened in all these cases: NATO members, Israel, and even the Soviet Union could not tolerate unlimited casualties or costs or wage wars infinitely. Casualties and costs mounted, public opinion demanded withdrawal, and thus, policymakers – even those in Moscow – had to end these wars.

By contrast, the North Vietnamese, the Taleban (a loose movement of militias fighting against NATO), the mujahedeed (a loose alliance of Afghans resisting Soviet occupation), and Hezbollah and other movements resisting Israeli neo-colonialism had unlimited human resources and patience – not to mention huge popular support in their countries and – in the North Vietnamese’s case – around the world (recall the worldwide protests against the Vietnam War during the 1960s and 1970s?).

All of this brings us to Carl von Clausewitz’s summation of what war really is and how it is won. According to Clausewitz, war is the continuation of policy by other means. Its objective is to force the opponent to bend to our will (i.e. our political demands). We succeed if – and only if – he does.

To compel him to do so, Clausewitz says we must entirely crush his physical or his moral strength, i.e. he must lose either the physical ability or the willingness to fight.

Put another way, to wage war, the enemy – like us – most have both the physical capacity (the manpower, the weapons, the supplies) and the willingness to fight. If we deprive him of one (or both of these factors), the war will be over in short order.

But in those wars, the North Vietnamese, the mujahedeen, the Taleban, and Hezbollah lost neither their willingness nor the ability to fight: they still had virtually inexhaustible manpower resources, they were (except the Taleban) still supplied with very effective weapons by their foreign sponsors (the Soviet Union, the US, and Iran and Syria, respectively), and their will to fight was never broken.

To sum up, we can discern the following rule of warfare:

In war, the better-equipped (technologically superior) side wins unless a) it is very poorly trained or led or b) its opponent has far more immense resources (human, material, or financial) and/or immense and unshaken public support.

Posted in Media lies, Military issues | Leave a Comment »

Le gouvernement socialiste est totallement incapable de financer la défense de la France

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 18, 2015


Comme l’a revelé le sénateur de Vienne Jean-Pierre Raffarin (UMP), un ancien premier ministre de la France, il y a un trou budgetaire dans les caisses du ministère de la défense français pour l’an 2015, à la somme de 3 milliards d’euros.

Il est clair que les socialistes n’ont appris rien, même apres l’aggression de la Russie contre l’Ukraine et les attentats terroristes a Paris en janvier 2015. Même maintenant, le gouvernement socialiste de la France est totallement incapable de faire les économies nécessaires afin de financer suffissament la défense de la France – ou même le niveau de dépenses militaires insuffisant qu’il a inscrit dans sa propre Loi sur la Programmation Militaire!

Au lieu de financer d’une maniere approprie la defense de la France, les socialistes preferent de financer l’aide médicale pour les sans-papiers, la bureaucratie étatique obèse, et les soi-disantes “sources rénouvelables d’energie” totallement non-economiques et non-viables.

Il faudra remplacer ce gouvernement en 2017. Mais pour le moment, il faut trouver une solution pour financer l’armée française maintenant. Il faut donc:

1) Réduire le nombre de fonctionnaires civils du ministère de la Défense de 66 000 a 22 000, afin d’économiser 1 Md d’Euros.

2) Réduire, d’une manière forte, le nombre des conseillers du ministère et leur rénumeration.

3) Réduire, d’une manière forte, le nombre des officiers, y compris les généraux.

4) Supprimer la 2ème section, comme l’ont recemment sugeré des jeunes officiers du soi-disante “groupe Marc Bloch”.

5) Accélérer la vente des fréquences très haut débit (700 mégahertz) aux opérateurs de téléphonie mobile.

6) Terminer, d’une manière immédiate, toutes les OPEX, sauf celle en Irak.

(http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2015/03/17/01003-20150317ARTFIG00195-defense-raffarin-s-alarme-d-un-trou-budgetaire-de-3-milliards-pour-2015.php)

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Jeffrey Lewis drops his mask, shows his true face – that of a traitor

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 13, 2015


The leftist Foreign Policy magazine has recently published a ridiculous screed by the ultra-leftist pro-disarmament agitator and pseudo-expert Jeffrey Lewis of the Monterey Institute for International Studies.

In that screed, Lewis – who some have called an “expert” on nuclear weapons and who has testified before Congress on more a few occassions – drops his mask of an “expert” and shows the whole world his true face – that of a traitor, a hyperpartisan liberal Democrat, and a campaigner for America’s unilateral disarmament and for an appeasement policy of allowing hostile regimes to build up their nuclear arsenals.

The title and introducing sentence of that diatribe alone reveal Lewis’s true face:

“Why A Bad Deal With Iran Is Better Than No Deal At All”

“Look here, you hypocritical Republicans”

But Lewis doesn’t stop there, of course. In his diatribe, he lectures Republicans that obtaining an agreement that limits the number of Iranian centrifuges to just 164 or some other low number is impossible. But – says Lewis – if Barack Obama and John Kerry are just given a free hand to conclude a “bad deal” with Iran, Tehran’s nuclear program would be frozen – allowing the West to somehow stop the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons before they’re able to do so but after they decide to resume their nuclear weapons program.

Furthermore, Lewis believes any military strike on iran would be “half-assed” and would only unravel the sanctions regime by depriving the US of the support of its allies, and that the Bush Administration was wrong to withdraw the US from the Agreed Framework with North Korea in 2002. And, as a hyperpartisan Democrat, Lewis strongly condemns the letter 47 Republican senators have sent to Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.

Lewis is dead wrong on all counts.

To start with, the kind of deal that Obama and Kerry are prepared to accept – allowing Iran to keep thousands of centrifuges and continue enriching uranium on a massive scale, as well as continue developing ballistic missiles of ever-increasing range – would only facilitate Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Republican Senators are thus right to oppose any such proposed deal, and to warn Iran’s supreme leader that such a deal would not be legally binding without the Senate’s advice and consent. (More on that later.)

Such a deal would not only be a foolishness, it would actually undermine any effort to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program. That’s because Iran would keep thousands of centrifuges while the US – and the West at large – would have to abolish sanctions against Iran – thus relieving Tehran of economic pain.

That would only greatly facilitate Iran’s path to nuclear weapon state status: thousands of centrifuges producing weapons-grade uranium and sanctions relief. And, of course, no limitation of its ballistic and cruise missile programs.

And that is assuming Iran would actually keep its end of the bargain. If it cheated – and it would certainly do – such an accord would be even more detrimental to US and allied security.

As for the Agreed Framework with North Korea, that accord – agreed by the Clinton administration in 1994 – was an utter foolishness which allowed North Korea to develop nuclear weapons. Under that utterly failed deal, North Korea was allowed to keep enriching uranium and maintaining a reactor producing plutonium – and, of course, to continue developing ballistic missiles. The US, in return, unilaterally withdrew its tactical nukes from South Korea. The Bush Administration rightly withdrew the US from that agreement when North Korea was caught CHEATING in the early 2000s – proving that the Agreed Framework was never worth the paper it was printed on.

As for the Republican senators letter – in which they reminded Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei that no US-Iran agreement would be legally binding without Senate consent – they are absolutely right.

Under the US Constitution, the President may conclude legally binding agreements on behalf of the United States ONLY with the advice and consent of AT LEAST two thirds of Senators present in the Senate’s place of meeting. The Constitution mentions the President’s agreement-making power only once – when it provides the above rule for concluding legally binding agreements on America’s behalf.

The Founding Fathers knew very well that it would be VERY dangerous to give the power to conclude such legally binding agreements (then called “treaties”) to the President alone. Had they done so, there would’ve been no limit to the commitments a President could undertake on America’s behalf. Thus, they put in place a system of checks and balances to ensure the President could never, by himself, make such commitments to foreign countries on the country’s behalf, and put in place a very high (2/3 of the Senate) requirement for any such agreement to be law.

Alexander Hamilton explained it nicely in Federalist #69:

“The President is to have power, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the senators present concur. The king of Great Britain is the sole and absolute representative of the nation in all foreign transactions. He can of his own accord make treaties of peace, commerce, alliance, and of every other description.

It has been insinuated, that his authority in this respect is not conclusive, and that his conventions with foreign powers are subject to the revision, and stand in need of the ratification, of Parliament. But I believe this doctrine was never heard of, until it was broached upon the present occasion. Every jurist2 of that kingdom, and every other man acquainted with its Constitution, knows, as an established fact, that the prerogative of making treaties exists in the crown in its utomst plentitude; and that the compacts entered into by the royal authority have the most complete legal validity and perfection, independent of any other sanction.”

As Alexander Hamilton narrates above, the President of the United States cannot, by himself, conclude legally binding agreements on behalf of the US – he needs the advice and consent of two thirds of Senators present for that. By contrast, the British king of the time, King George III, against whom the former American colonies had previously rebelled, had the power to conclude any agreement of any kind on Britain’s behalf alone – as was the unanimous opinion of every British lawyer, and every other man acquainted with British constitutional law.

Thus, for example, when Britain’s then-Foreign Secretary the Lord Grenville concluded the so-called Jay’s Treaty with US Chief Justice John Jay, the treaty only needed King George III’s sanction to be ratified by Britain. But for the treaty to become legally binding on the US, two thirds of the Senators of the time (all of whom arrived in Philadelphia upon President Washington’s request to debate the treaty) had to vote for it – and the Senate resolution of advice and consent significantly modified the treaty (notably by striking its Article XII).

So the Senate Republicans are absolutely right – and Jeffrey Lewis, as always, is dead wrong. The Obama administration is desperately trying to conclude a deal with Iran at any cost – even if that means allowing Iran to freely develop and, one day, obtain a nuclear weapon one day. Republicans are right to oppose this – and to remind Iran’s supreme leader that ANY agreement between him and Obama won’t be legally binding unless it receives the Senate’s advice and consent.

Posted in Ideologies, Media lies, Nuclear deterrence, Obama administration follies | Leave a Comment »

Rebuttal of disarmament advocates’ blatant lies

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 25, 2015


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The unilateral disarmament lobby in the US has hardly given up on its goal to compeltely and unilaterally disarm America, even though Barack Obama himself seems to have given up on that goal. Nor have Russia’s, China’s, and North Korea’s nuclear buildups and aggressive actions sobered these people up.

They have written yet another garbage screed calling for deep cuts in America’s nuclear arsenal – while Russia, China, North Korea, and others are growing their own arsenals.

Specifically, ACA’s Daryl Kimball and NRDC’s Matthew McKinzie have written a garbage screed published by the leftist DefenseNews website.

In it, they falsely claim at the beginning (3rd paragraph):

“Moscow’s actions have prompted calls from some to halt implementation of nuclear arms control agreements, including the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which verifiably limits Russian nuclear potential to no more than 1,550 strategic deployed warheads.”

That is a blatant lie right at the start. The New START treaty has not limited Russia’s nuclear arsenal AT ALL. On the contrary, it has permitted Moscow to significantly GROW that arsenal – so much so that it now stands at 1,643 deployed (and many more nondeployed) strategic warheads, far above New START limits – and Moscow keeps ADDING warheads.

If limiting Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal was the goal, New START has failed abysmally to achieve it – as I predicted in 2010.

I was right, and the pro-disarmament lobby was wrong.

But the screed’s authors don’t stop at that one blatant lie. Despite Moscow’s, Beijing’s, and Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile buildups – and aggressive actions – they falsely claim that it’s time to cut America’s nuclear arsenal even further, that the US nuclear arsenal is “excess”, and that the US should rely on “diplomacy, economic sanctions, and conventional deterrence” instead!

They reject any calls to modernize and build up the US nuclear arsenal and falsely claim that:

“But rather than helping to protect Ukraine or NATO, these proposals would undermine strategic stability and increase nuclear dangers. Moscow’s actions in Ukraine require a tough and unified US and European response involving diplomacy, economic sanctions and NATO conventional deterrence, but the challenge can’t be effectively resolved with nuclear weapons or a US nuclear buildup.

As President Barack Obama declared in 2012, “[t]he massive nuclear arsenal we inherited from the Cold War is poorly suited for today’s threats.” (…)

Moscow and Washington could do more to reduce their nuclear excess and should pursue a further one-third cut in their strategic stockpiles. With New START verification tools in place, additional nuclear reductions can be readily achieved without a new treaty.”

Au contraire! The only language that Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un understand is the language of force. Ony military strength – and that has to include nuclear strength – can dissuade them from further aggression.

Diplomacy and economic sanctions have utterly failed and will continue to fail. These dictators don’t care about their nations’ economic well-being (if they did, they’d have pursued market-based economic reforms long ago) or diplomatic niceties. Western sanctions have already wrecked havoc on Russia’s economy – but Moscow’s behavior towards its neighbors (especially Ukraine) and towards the West has only become more aggressive since 2014.

As for conventional deterrence, the US alone (not to mention the entire NATO alliance) already has a huge edge over Russia in conventional weapons. The problem is not inadequate conventional deterrence. The problem is inadequate nuclear deterrence – and a lack of will to enforce the West’s red lines. No amount of military power – nuclear or conventional – means anything unless it is used when aggressors overstep acceptable bounds.

Put simply, Western nations are not willing to defend themselves (let alone Ukraine), and Putin knows it.

What would REALLY undermine strategic stability and increase nuclear dangers would be to fail to modernize and sufficiently increase America’s nuclear deterrent. It’s the only effective protection the US and over 30 of its allies and friends have against nuclear, chemical, or bilological attack – or blackmail of such an attack.

Russia has a vast and very diverse nuclear arsenal and is still growing it (along with the fleet of delivery systems: ICBMs, bombers, and boomers). China has a large and still growing nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal – in fact, the fastest growing in the world according to USAF intel. North Korea is growing its nuclear stockpile, perfecting its ICBMs, and testing a ship-based ballistic missile intended for its Golf-class submarine.

What would REALLY undermine strategic stability and increase nuclear dangers would be to fail to modernize and sufficiently increase America’s nuclear deterrent under those circumstances. Yet, that is precisely what ACA and the NRDC advocate.

The claim that America’s nuclear arsenal is “poorly suited” for today’s threats and that it’s “excess” is a blatant lie. The US nuclear arsenal is perfectly suited to address the biggest threats to America’s and its allies’ security.

These threats are not Ebola, Al Qaeda, or the Islamic state, but the nuclear and missile arsenals of Russia, China, and North Korea. Nothing else comes even CLOSE to being as grave a threat as these three.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not an isolated incident, but a mere part of Russia’s overall pattern of aggressive behavior towards the US, the West, and any country Putin perceives as aligning itself with the West – including Ukraine and Georgia. In accordance with this pattern of aggressive behavior, Russia has, in recent years, threatend to aim or use its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles against the US or its allies 15 times; has flown nuclear-armed bombers near US and allied airspace, and sometimes even into the airspace of countries such as Denmark, Sweden, and Finland; has dramatically increased the frequency of its nuclear-armed submarine patrols; has threatened to deploy nuclear weapons in the Crimea; and has conducted a dramatic buildup of its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal.

In doing so, it has violated every arms limitation treaty it is party to, including the INF, CFE, CTBT, and New START treaties.

If the US fails to modernize and increase its nuclear arsenal, or worse, cuts that arsenal, it will fail to address that threat, and thus commit suicide.

Kimball and McKinzie deny that their organizations have recently called in Vienna on the US to disarm itself unilaterally, But ACA has repeatedly called on the US to do that on many occassions in the last several years. A few years ago, Tom Z. Collina, then ACA’s “Research Director”, called on the US to unilaterally cut its nuclear arsenal and falsely claimed that “there’s no reason to wait for Russia.” Also, ACA has, for many years, advocated (and still advocates) foregoing the modernization of the US nuclear deterrent, including cancelling the replacement for the USAF’s obsolete bombers and ICBMs and cutting the planned buy new new ballistic missile subs to just 8. That would essentially be unilateral disarmament by atrophy and neglect. That would be just as bad as scrapping the US nuclear arsenal outright.

Last but not least, Kimball and McKinzie are trying to delude the American people with totally unrealistic, fantastic fairy-tales of global nuclear disarmament:

“We proposed “making nuclear disarmament” a global enterprise. We called on all states to press China, India and Pakistan, in particular, not to increase their fissile material or weapons stocks. A unified push for further US-Russian arms cuts combined with a nuclear weapons freeze by other nuclear-armed states could create the conditions for meaningful nuclear risk reduction.”

This is a total, unrealistic fantasy. The idea that cuts in America’s and Russia’s nuclear arsenals will prod other nuclear powers to reduce their own stockpiles is fantasy – as is the idea that China, India, and Pakistan will ever succumb to “pressure” not to increase their fissile materials or nuclear weapon stocks. These countries don’t care about international pressure or America’s meaningless unilateral disarmament gestures; they only care about their own military power.

Kimball’s and McKinzie’s screed is total garbage. Shame on DefenseNews for publishing it.

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/commentary/2015/02/23/commentary-nuclear-dangers-myth-reality-responses/23885837/

 

Posted in Nuclear deterrence, Threat environment | Leave a Comment »

Rebuttal of DefenseNews’ Blatant Lies About the Rafale

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 24, 2015


This Sunday, DefenseNews, an American military affairs website, published a garbage screed smearing the Dassault Rafale and quoting garbage Russian state propaganda in support of one of its rivals, the Su-30MKI. (Who would’ve thought thatan American news website would be parrotting Russian state propaganda?)

In that article, DefenseNews falsely claims that the Rafale will likely fail to win an export order in India because, supposedly, France is an unreliable supplier of weapons. In support of that garbage claim, DefenseNews parrots Russian propaganda:

“Russian officials and pundits have gone out of their way in recent months to cast France as an unreliable trading partner, a supplier that may cancel deals at the last minute in accordance with the political whims of its puppet masters in DC, and have promised to pursue legal damages if Paris does not go through with the delivery.”

France is a poodle of its puppet masters in DC? Can anyone take these people seriously?

The reason why the delivery of the Mistrals has been suspended is because Russia has illegally invaded another state and annexed part of its territory by force. This is illegal and contrary to the norms accepted throughout the civilized world. If Russia doesn’t like that, it should withdraw from Ukraine, return the Crimea to that country, and respect its territorial integrity. Period.

But DefenseNews doesn’t stop there. It says Rafale will likely fail to land the deal because the Su-30MKI Flanker is supposedly a better alternative. To support that ridiculous claim, it again quotes garbage Russian propaganda:

“Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, a Moscow-based defense think tank, said Russia has been lobbying for some time for India to ax the Rafale contract.

“Russia has tried its best to explain to India, as the Eurofighter people have, that it is completely senseless to buy a platform designed in the 1980s for such a huge amount of money,” Pukhov said, “especially since the full fleet won’t be operational for, let’s say, 10 years.”

For the money India would spend on Rafale, it could buy from a mature product that they already know how to maintain and operate, Pukhov argued, adding that its combat capability surpasses that of any other aircraft in India’s Air Force.”

All of that is utter garbage.

Firstly, India has not signed a contract for the Rafales yet. Secondly, although the Rafale was designed in the 1980s, the Flanker – which Pukhov touts as a superior alternative – is much older. It was designed in the late 1960s and in the 1970s as the Soviet response to the American F-15 and first flew in 1977 – a full 9 years before the Rafale did. In fact, at that time, the Rafale project didn’t even exist. Furthemore, the Flanker entered service with the Soviet (not Russian) Air Force in 1984 – 2 years before the Rafale first flew.

Thus, the Rafale is much younger.

As for the Eurofighter, it is also older than the Rafale. The Eurofighter project was initiated in the early 70s and early 80s, but in 1984, by decision of then-French Defense Minister Charles Hernu, France withdrew from the project and then started its own fighter program.

But age isn’t the most important metric of a fighter. Combat capability is. ANd here, the Rafale has an undisputable edge over all competitors, including and especially the Su-30MKI.

The most important criteria by which to measure fighters are: reduced observability (to the human eye, on radar, and to thermal (IR) sensors); speed and maneuverability (including turning capability and climb rate);its combat radius; its weapons load and capability; combat availablity and ease of maintenance; and avionics.

Those are the criteria that actually determine victory in air combat, because:

1) An aircraft which is easy to detect (whether visually, with radar, or with infrared sensors) is not survivable and therefore destined to lose. History of air combat since the First World War shows 80% of fighters shot down went down unaware of their predator. The pilot also must have good vertical and unobstructed all-around horizontal visibility, so that he can see what’s behind his aircraft.

2) An aircraft which is less maneuverable than the opponent will be outmaneuvered by him, and he’ll position himself behind that aircraft’s rear, its most vulnerable quadrant, while being slower than the enemy makes fleeing him – or chasing him – impossible;

3) An aircraft which lacks the combat radius to perform distant missions or to protect a sizeable part of a nation’s territory is useless;

4) An aircraft which can’t carry a meaningful, useful weapons load will have few weapons to fire at opponents who will likely try to duck them, and if its weapons are simply inferior, it can simply be outgunned;

5) An aircraft which has to spend too many hours on the ground cand can’t fly often is, to be blunt, useless; and

6) Modern fighter aircraft need a wide range of modern avionics – including active and passive sensors, computers, and datalinks – to detect and target enemies, attack them accurately, maintain contact with friendlies, and exchange information with them.

By these criteria, the SU-30MKI is decisively inferior to the Rafale:

1) The Su-30MKI, like other Flankers, is much larger, heavier, and hotter – and thus much easier to detect visually, with radar, and with infrared sensors – than the Rafale. So a Rafale could detect a Flanker much earlier than the other way around. Worst of all, the Flanker’s (including the Su-30MKI’s) pilots have very poor rearward visibility, while the Rafale (like other Eurocanard aircraft, as well as the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, and F-22) gives its pilot completely unobstructed horizontal visibility. So a Rafale can sneak behind an Su-30MKI, and the Indian Flanker pilot won’t even know the Rafale is there! That’s basically game over already, but let’s review the other criteria, shall we?

2) The Su-30MKI is decidely less maneuverable than the Rafale: it climbs slower (300 m/s vs 305 m/s for the Rafale) and has a very high wing loading ratio (401 kg/sq m, vs 304 kg/sq m for the Rafale – a difference of almost 100 kg/sq m!). It has excellent roll onset, pitch onset, instantaneous turning, and sustained turning rates. Thus, the Rafale can easily outturn and outclimb the Su-30MKI. As my fellow blogger Picard has written:

“Rafale’s placement of canards, which are close coupled to the wing, means that outboard canard vortices energize wing tips regardless of the angle of attack. This results in excellent roll onset rate at all flight conditions, allowing aircraft to be flown with rapid reversals of flight directions instead of rolling pulls. Canards also create an area of low pressure on forward part of the wing, which results in a significant pitch-up tendency and consequently in rapid pitch onset rate. Maximum climb rate is 305 meters per second, indicating very good acceleration, while wing loading of 275 kg/m2 at combat weight gives it instantaneous turn rate unmatched among Western fighters, especially when combained with close-coupled canard’s favorable effects on wing lift at high angles of attack. Thrust-to-weight ratio is 1,2 at combat weight, and allows it good sustained turn rate, especially when combined with its very high lift to drag ratio.”

3) Both aircraft have sizeable combat radii, but the Rafale’s is greater, at 1,852 kms unrefueled.

4) The Rafale B and C can carry more weapons than the Su-30MKI – 13 and 14, respectively, vs the Su-30MKI’s 12. The Rafale is, in fact, the only fighter in the world which can carry ordnance and fuel weighting 1.5 times the aircraft’s empty weight. Its 30mm gun is the best fighter gun in the world, and its MICA IR missiles permit it to shoot down opponents detected by its IRST at a range of up to 80 kms.

5) The Rafale spends only 8 hours on the ground for each hour flown. The Su-30MK (including the MKI) has to spend FOUR times as much time on the ground – 32 hours for each hour flown! So the Rafale can fly four hours for each hour the Su-30MKI can fly. So even if the IAF could buy four times more Su-30s than the 126 Rafales it’s in talks to buy, in practice, only a quarter of these would be operationally available. Put another way, to numerically match the Rafales in the air, you’d have to have a total Su-30 fleet 4 times larger than your opponent’s Rafale fleet. Problem is, the Su-30MKI is not much cheaper than the Rafale.

6) The Rafale’s OSF infra-red search and tracking system and its RBE2 AESA radar are among the best in the world. By contrast, the Su-30MKI uses the inferior Phazotron Zhuk AESA radar and the OLS-30 IRST which, although good, is nowhere near as good as the Rafale’s OSF – or the OLS-35 used on the newest Flanker variant, the Su-35.

A few final considerations are worth pointing out: The Rafale needs only a 450 m runway to take off, and its wingspan of 10,8 meters allows it to take off from Western-style highways, or from makeshift runways, if need be. The Su-30MKI, with a runway requirement of at least 550 m and a wingspan of 15 m, cannot do that.

Last but not least, the Russian officials cited by DefenseNews claim that India has experience building, maintaining, and operating the Su-30MKI. That is true, but that is no justification for buying an inferior aircraft when one can buy a much better fighter. And India is a relatively recent Sukhoi customer, while it has literally decades and decades of experience operating Dassault fighters. If New Delhi procures the Rafale, IAF pilots and technicians would need little retraining.

In short, the DefenseNews screed is a piece of Russian propaganda BS. If BS were currency, the authors of that screed could easily bail Russia out of its fiscal problems.

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/strike/2015/02/22/india-rafale-russia-eurofighter-mistral/23666011/

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François Hollande confirme: la dissuasion nucléaire est indispensable, la France ne peut pas baisser la garde

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 19, 2015


Le président de la République, François Hollande, en tant que chef des armées, a confirmé lors de sa visite à la base aérienne d’Istres que la dissuasion nucléaire est indispensable à la securité nationale et l’independance de la France et que la France ne peut pas baisser la garde en vue du contexte international actuel. Il a exprimé ces propos dans un discours à la base aérienne d’Istres, l’une des deux bases des Forces Aériennes Strategiques:

http://videos.tf1.fr/infos/2015/hollande-pas-question-de-baisser-la-garde-sur-la-dissuasion-nucleaire-8567339.html

Il a raison. Le monde est en effet très dangereux aujourd’hui, et le contexte international présent exige que la France maintienne sa force de dissuasion nucléaire au moins au niveau actuel (déjà à peine suffissant en raison des coupes profondes faites par les presidents précedents, y compris Nicolas Sarkozy, qui esperait en 2008 de donner un exemple qui stimulerait un desarmement nucléaire global… ce qui ne s’est pas du tout passe).

Rappelons-nous du contexte international actuel:

  • La Russie dispose d’un arsenal nucléaire de 8,000 têtes, y compris 1,643 têtes strategiques deployées et ciblees sur les USA, environ 2,000 têtes strategiques en total, et entre 2,000 et 6,000 têtes nucleaires tactiques qui peuvent être utilisées partout en Europe, y compris contre la France, et peuvent être portées par des vecteurs très divers, y compris des sous marins d’attaque, des navires de surface, des pièces d’artillerie, des avions d’attaque tactiques Sukhoi et MiG, des bombardiers continentaux Tu-22M Backfire, des missiles de courte et moyenne portée (Iskander, Brahmos, R-500), et par un pseudo-ICBM envisagé par la Russie. Le developpement du missile R-500, qui a une portée entre 500 et 5 500 kilomètres, est en violation du traité INF entre Moscou et Washington.
  • La Chine possède un arsenal nucléaire qui est estimé de comprendre entre 800 et 3,000 têtes nucléaires (elle ne divulge pas aucun nombre exact). Ces têtes peuvent être portées par des missiles ballistiques de courte, moyenne, et longue (intercontinentale) portée, par des missiles croisières, par des bombardiers strategiques H-6, par des SNLE (Type 094 et Type 096), et par des sous-marins d’attaque.
  • La Corée du Nord possède un arsenal nucléaire et des missiles qui peuvent porter ses têtes sur des distances intercontinentaux; elle continue à perfectionner ses missiles intercontinentaux Taepodong-2 et KN-08; elle est en cours d’essayer le lancement des missiles ballistiques mer-sol et construit un sous-marin lanceur d’engins; et, selon le renseignement américain, elle prepare maintenant un nouvel essai nucleaire, ce qui est tout en violation du Traité de Non-Proliferation Nucléaire et les obligations de la Corée du Nord sous les résolutions du CS de l’ONU.
  • L’Iran continue à developper des armes nucléaires, ce qui est une ménace à la securité de la France, de l’Europe entière, des partenaires de la France au Golfe Perse, et a l’Israel.

Ces arsenaux nucléaires ne sont pas une ménace théoretique, mais réelle : par exemple, la Russie envoie ses bombardiers nucléaires proche des frontières des pays européens, du Canada, et des USA, pour les ménacer. C’est aussi  le cas avec la France. Aucun pays européen, y compris la Finlande et la Suéde, n’a pas été épargné par les Russes. La Russie s’est aussi reservé un “droit” à utiliser l’arme nucléaire premiere, même contre des états qui n’en disposent pas.

Dans cette situation mondiale, la France ée peut absolument pas baisser la garde et affaiblir sa force de dissuasion nucléaire. Ce serait suicidal.

La dissuasion nucléaire assure aussi l’independance de la France vis-a-vis toute puissance étrangere, y compris les USA et la Russie. Grace à sa force de dissuasion, la France peut leur parler comme un égal, pas comme un vassal à ses maitres.

Enfin, la dissuasion nucleaire aide a la France de developper sa puissance technologique et économique, notamment dans le domaine missilier et nucléaire.

Quant à ceux qui cherchent à délegitimer la force de dissuasion en l’accusant de priver les forces coventionnelles des moyens, c’est une mensonge : le coût de la dissuasion nucléaire représente seulement 0,0015% du PIB et 10% du budget de la Défense. C’est un coût miniscule – et la securité de la France vaut cette dépense.

Donc François Hollande a raison : la France a besoin de sa force de dissuasion nucléaire plus que jamais. Il est hors de question de baisser la garde.

 

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How American, Russian, and Chinese nuclear-powered submarines compare

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 17, 2015


Oftentimes, and especially by rank amateurs, submarines’ quality is measured by just one criterion: noise level. While it’s critical (as it determines its stealthiness), it isn’t by any means the sole criterion. Being stealthy does not make a submarine completely invincible; conversely, being noisy doesn’t automatically doom a sub to being sunk. A lot of other factors are in play, including the submarine crew’s training and competence, the tactics adopted by its skipper, and the quality of the opposing force (both materiel and men).

That being said, one can make a careful comparison of the nuclear powered submarines of the US, Russian, Chinese, British, and French navies, to the extent data is publicly available. Based on the data that IS available, I’m offering this simple comparison of these submarines based on noise levels, maximum depth, and speed. All of these criteria are crucial for submarine survival and capability; it doesn’t matter if you can detect an enemy submarine if it can outrun you and escape.

Noise levels

The following graph was published in 1997 by the Office of Naval Intelligence – the US Navy’s intelligence arm.

A word of caution is on order: any ONI publications or data must be treated very skeptically. The ONI is also known as the US Navy’s propaganda arm. It routinely overestimates and exaggerates the USN’s capabilities and dramatically underestimates that of its adversaries. Moreover, it can’t even get basic facts right: for example, it calls the Vanguard class “SSNs”, i.e. attack submarines, when they are in fact ballistic missile subs, and includes them in a noise comparison of other attack submarines. No professional organization would make such a mistake.

a1997ONIchartonsubmarinenoiselevels

 

The above ONI graph shows that when the Improved Akulas entered service in the late 1980s and early 1990s, thanks to the milling equipment sold to the USSR by Japan, they were quieter than the Improved Los Angeles (688I) class. So will be the Severodvisnk class SSGNs the Russian Navy is now building. The US Navy has been forced to respond by building first Seawolf-class and then Virginia-class (NSSN) submarines. By contrast, the Chinese Navy’s Type 091 Han class and Type 093 Shang class were found in 1997 to be very noisy – but that is very old (18 year old) data. The PLAN is now building a newer, much quieter variant of the Type 093 Shang class – as well as the even newer and quieter Type 095 class.

Speed

As stated above, it doesn’t matter how noisy the enemy submarine is if it can run fast enough to escape its predators.

The Seawolf and Virginia classes are Fast Attack Submarine classes, that is, the vessels which make them up can run fast when submerged (at a speed of up to 35 knots), one of the fastest in the world. The LA class is slower: officially, it can run only at speeds “over 20 knots” (the exact speed is classified), but reportedly, it can do up to 33 knots.

Which puts it at rough parity with the older Victor and Sierra classes of Soviet attack submarines and the Oscar class of SSGNs, all which can run at 32 knots maximum, but at a disadvantage vis-a-vis the Akula and Yasen classes, which can do as many as 35 knots. The Chinese Type 093 Shang class also comes somewhat short, at 30 knots maximum, although the newest Chinese SSN class, the Type 095, can run at over 30 knots (how many exactly is classified). On par with all these classes is their British contemporary, the late 1970s Trafalgar class, which can run at up to 32 knots (surprisingly, the newest British SSN class, the Astute class, can run at only 30 knots).

France is at a great disadvantage vis-a-vis the rest of the club – her Rubis class of SSNs has a max speed of “over 25 knots”, but it isn’t known how many. The newest French class of SSNs – Barracuda – will have the same max speed. This suggests speed is not a priority for the French SSN fleet.

Operating depth

Another important criterion – which indicates a submarine’s survivability as well as its possible range of missions – is the maximum depth at which it can operate. Here, the Russian Navy holds an overwhelming, outsized edge over the US Navy – and everyone else in the world, for that matter.

Data is not available for the Chinese Navy, but for the other navies’ submarine classes, maximum depths are as follows:

Yasen class: 600 m (2,000 ft)

Akula class: 600 m (2,000 ft)

Borei class: 450 m (1400 ft) (test depth)

Los Angeles class: 290 m (950 ft)

Seawolf class: unknown

Virginia class: 240 m (800+ ft)

Sturgeon class: 400 m (1,320 ft)

Astute class: over 300 m (test depth)

Posted in Naval affairs, Threat environment | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rebuttal of UCS’s ridiculous tirade against nuclear weapons

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 10, 2015


The Left never stops in its attempt to disarm the US unilaterally. In order to do so, it has, for a long time, conducted a black propaganda campaign aimed to mislead the American people about US defense policies, budgets, and weapon programs, and about how security is ensured.

One of the latest examples of this propaganda campaign is the Feb. 1st piece published in DefenseOne (a leftist website) by Stephen Young of the “Union of Concerned Scientists”, a far-left pacifist group that adamantly opposes (and has always opposed) a strong national defense, and in  particular, America’s nuclear deterrent and missile defense system.

The Left has long (and wrongly) claimed that American nuclear weapons provide little security and cost much (both of which are blatant lies – see below). But Young goes even further and ridiculously claims that America’s nuclear deterrent actually makes her less safe and that disarming the US unilaterally would make the nation safer!

“Not only would reducing our bloated arsenal save U.S. taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars, it would make us safer. Nuclear weapons are the only threat to the survival of the United States. (…) Again, not only is this an unnecessary expense, it undermines national security. (…) Rather than an asset that increases national security, nuclear weapons are now our greatest security liability.”

Needless to say, this is utter garbage. It is military strength – including, and especially, nuclear strength – that guarantees a nation’s security, and it is military weakness – such as an inadequate nuclear umbrella, or the complete lack of one – that puts a nation at risk, as more and more countries are recognizing.

Young claims that America’s nuclear weapons undermine her security because, allegedly, they undermine efforts to stop nuclear weapon proliferation. But that is also a blatant lie (like everything else he claims). The US nuclear arsenal actually HELPS global nonproliferation efforts by a) posing a huge obstacle to any nuclear challenger not named Russia or China; and b) reassuring over 30 of America’s allies and partners around the world who rely on the US nuclear umbrella for their security and their very survival.

Should the US reduce its umbrella further, however, many of America’s allies will acquire atomic weapons of their own – and thus, the proliferation problem will become much worse. Already, 66% of South Koreans want their country to be a nuclear power, and former Polish President Lech Walesa wants the same for his country. Saudi Arabia has already acquired DF-21 ballistic missiles from China and will arm them with nuclear warheads if it ever judges the American nuclear umbrella insufficient.

Young falsely claims that unilateral reductions in the US nuclear arsenal:

“enhance our efforts to eliminate North Korea’s limited arsenal, head off potential increases in China’s stockpile and limit Iran’s potential program. As they have in the past, U.S. cuts could prompt Russia to reduce its stockpile, particularly as the tumbling price of oil wreaks havoc on its economy. Even Putin’s decision to end cooperative programs to lock down Russian nuclear material and U.S.statements that Russia has violated the Intermediate Forces Treaty do not rule out such an outcome.”

Again, this is a blatant lie. Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US has cut its nuclear arsenal by 75% – but that has utterly failed to prevent Pakistan and North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons, Iran from undertaking to build them, or China from greatly increasing its nuclear arsenal (which credible experts, such as Professor Philip Karber and General Viktor Yesin, estimate at between 1,600 and 3,000 warheads). Cutting the US nuclear arsenal over the last 24 years has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER to slow down global nuclear proliferation.

Any claim that cutting the US nuclear arsenal further would somehow entice other countries to cut or scrap their own nuclear stockpiles is utterly false – not just because of past experience, but also because of the nature of the nuclear-armed regimes the US faces. They won’t be impressed by such unilateral disarmament gestures; on the contrary, they will only consider them (and rightly so) as signs of weakness, to be exploited against the US. This would only jeopardize US national security. And no one should be deluded to think that Russia’s temporary economic problems will slow down, let alone stop, Putin’s nuclear buildup. They haven’t, and they won’t – and major European countries, such as Germany and Greece, are already talking about loosening the EU’s sanctions on Russia. The EU scrapping these sanctions is only a question of when, not if.

(Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who wants to retake the Presidency in 2017, wants the EU to go even further and officially recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimea and is parroting Russian propaganda.)

Young also falsely claims that

“But spending money on new types of warheads undermines efforts to stop additional countries from pursuing these weapons.”

Which is also a blatant lie, because other countries’ (Russia’s, China’s, North Korea’s, Iran’s) nuclear programs are caused NOT by America’s nuclear arsenal, but by these countries’ aggressive designs against the US and against their neighbors (and in Iran’s case, by its declared desire to wipe Israel off the map).

Pakistan’s and India’s nuclear programmes are due to their hostility towards each other and have nothing to do with the US. The nuclear weapon programmes of some of America’s allies are due to these allies’ uncertainty about whether the US will continue to provide a reliable, credible nuclear umbrella to them. Cutting the US nuclear arsenal further will only prove their doubts correct and prod them to acquire their own atomic weapons.

Young also falsely claims that nuclear weapons add very little to America’s national security:

“Nuclear weapons do precious little to address the real threats we and our allies face today, and do nothing to address the threat of terrorism. Nothing to counter Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria. Nothing to counteract the growing risk of cyber attack.”

And again, this is a blatant lie. In fact, nuclear weapons are PIVOTAL to America’s national security. That’s because by far the biggest threats to US and allied security – and to world peace – are posed by the nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals of Russia, China, and North Korea, and by Iran’s nuclear program.

Not terrorism. Not Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Not cyber attacks. Not Ebola. It is Russia’s, China’s, and North Korea’s nuclear arsenals and their delivery systems – and their willingness to use these weapons – that pose by far the biggest threat to the security of the US, all of its allies, and the world.

Nothing else comes even close.

Al Qaeda can blow up a few buses or trains, but it can’t wipe out any US cities or even repeat anything on the scale of 9/11. The Islamic State is the Middle East’s and Europe’s problem (which could’ve been easily avoided by not importing Muslim immigrants en masse). But Russia and China could both potentially wipe all major US cities off the map. North Korea could wipe at least one major US city out. Moreover, China’s regime-controlled media has openly written about attacking the US with nuclear weapons, while Russia has, in recent months, repeatedly flown nuclear-armed bombers very close to US airspace to “practice attacking the enemy”, as the Russians themselves have said. One such practice bombing run occurred on the Fourth of July in 2012.

Furthermore, the US has to provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself, but also to over 30 allies and partners – from Canada to European allies to Persian Gulf partners to allies in East Asia – who rely on it for their very survival. They cannot afford to bet their security and survival on Young’s and UCS’s “disarming unilaterally will make us more secure” fantasy.

Therefore, addressing the Russian, Chinese, and North Korean nuclear threat must be America’s highest defense priority and merits any investment necessary.

But Young disagrees, and falsely claims this about the Obama administration’s nuclear arsenal modernization programme:

“This is an expensive and profound mistake, and one that ignores the limited contribution that nuclear weapons make to U.S. security.

The administration’s costly plan proposes to rebuild the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal, including the warheads, and the missiles, planes and submarines that carry them. These plans will cost $348 billion over the next 10 years, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate released last week. The National Defense Panel, appointed by Congress, found that the price tag over 30 years could be as much as a $1 trillion.”

Again, this is dead wrong. Firstly, the $1 trillion figure comes from the Monterey Institute for International Studies, a far-left, anti-nuclear group, NOT from the National Defense Panel, and is therefore certain to be wildly exaggerated. Secondly, even if it were true (which it isn’t and likely never will be), it will only be a drop in the bucket compared to total planned defense spending over the next 30 years (in the pessimistic scenario, 30 * ca. 500 bn, i.e. about $15 trillion). Thirdly, 1 trillion is just 33.3 bn per year. And fourthly, even if that $1 trillion figure were true (which, again, it isn’t), such investment would’ve been fully justified, because the objective is the modernization of America’s nuclear arsenal – by far the most important part of America’s defenses.

Young also falsely claims that:

“And, while recognizing the very problematic behavior of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the truth is U.S. nuclear forces did not stop the Russian military from invading Ukraine either. Spending more money on nuclear weapons would not turn them back.”

Firstly, to say that Vladimir Putin’s behavior is “very problematic” is like saying that the Holocaust was “very problematic.” No, Mr Young, Putin’s behavior is not merely “very problematic” – it is a huge threat to US, allied, and world security. Putin’s aggressive behavior constitutes a string of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against peace – in Chechnya, in Georgia, and Ukraine.

If the world’s leaders had even a shred of decency and integrity, Putin would’ve already been tried and executed as a war criminal.

Putin’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine was not an isolated incident, but merely one of the many examples of Putin’s aggressive, Soviet-style, neo-imperialist behavior towards his neighbors, towards Europe at large, and towards the US itself – as exemplified also by the Russian Air Force’s frequent simulations of nuclear strikes on the US and its allies, his nuclear buildup, his coddling of North Korea and Iran, and his support of America’s enemies worldwide.

Finally, Young falsely claims that the US could unilaterally cut its nuclear arsenal down to the low hundreds and still be secure:

“In fact, the United States could maintain a fully capable deterrent without the unnecessary and redundant weapons or spending. No current or conceivable future threat requires the United States to maintain more than a few hundred survivable warheads. As a first step in this direction, the Obama administration should limit its total nuclear arsenal to 1,000 weapons, including both long- and short-range weapons, deployed and reserve.”

Again, like the rest of his screed, it’s a blatant lie. An arsenal of just a few hundred warheads would be woefully inadequate to protect America, let alone her allies. This is for two reasons. Firstly, a small nuclear arsenal, consisting of just a few hundred warheads, would be way too easy for a potential adversary – like Russia or China – to destroy in a first strike, leaving the US with no nuclear weapons to retaliate with against the aggressor. Secondly, even if some of these few hundred atomic weapons survived a first strike, they would be woefully inadequate to execute a truly painful retaliatory strike against the aggressor.

To do be able to do that, the US needs thousands of nuclear weapons – not a mere few hundred. This is because both Russia and China have thousands of military assets which the US needs to be able to credibly threaten to destroy – e.g. ICBM siloes, airbases, naval bases, weapon production plants, command centers, etc. Short of that, the US will NOT be able to threaten a credible retaliation against Russia or China for major aggression they may commit against the US or its allies.

In short, Stephen Young’s screed is a litany of blatant lies. Not a single claim he makes therein is true. Not a single one.

http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2015/02/obamas-trillion-dollar-nuclear-weapons-gamble/104217/

Posted in Nuclear deterrence | 1 Comment »

 
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