It has been revealed that Barack Obama plans a steep cut of the already-inadequate US nuclear arsenal solely to fit his pacifist, anti-defense agenda, even though world realities and defense needs call against it. Last month, Obama, still wedded to his naive, pacifist ideology of a world without nuclear weapons, and determined to disarm the US unilaterally, ordered the Pentagon to cut the US nuclear arsenal deeply and to provide him with three options for cutting the deployed nuclear arsenal: a “modest” one, a medium one, and a deep one. He presupposed that unilateral arsenal cuts will happen and told the DOD that the only question now is how deep the cuts will be.
Being under orders, the DOD had no choice but to comply, and it has devised three options: a) to cut the deployed arsenal from the treaty-allowed level of 1,550 warheads to 1,000; b) to cut it deeper to just 700 or 800; and c) to cut it to a tiny size of 300 warheads. Obama will get to choose which of these cuts to make, and after he makes his choice, the DOD will have to devise a new nuclear deterrence strategy in the ruins of those cuts.
As the Washington Free Beacon reports, national security experts say that no previous Administration had ever started a review by presupposing that arsenal cuts will happen and that the cuts will be made in a specific numerical range. Every previous Administration first conducted a review of the world threat environment and of America’s defense needs and only then made decisions about WHETHER, and if so, by how much to cut the US nuclear arsenal. But first they considered if it was prudent to reduce it at all.
Additionally, as Sen. Kyl has reported in detail, President Obama has also reneged on his promise to fully fund the modernization of the remaining arsenal and of the nuclear triad.
Sadly, the Washington Times, which used to be a conservative newspaper and a reliable source on defense issues, does not do its own work these days, and instead it reprints garbage articles from the leftist Associated Press, which slants its articles to make Obama and his policies look good. The WaTimes has recently posted such a garbage article by AP on this subject. The AP’s Robert Burns claims that:
“Even the most modest option now under consideration would be a historic and politically bold disarmament step in a presidential election year…”
AP calls it “historic” and “politically bold… in a presidential election year” to make Obama look good, but it is neither historic nor politically bold. Most Republicans don’t care about defense issues and are unlikely to hammer Obama on this (even though they should); and it is not historic, it is shameful, despicable and treasonous. And even “the most modest option” would cut the US nuclear arsenal by 550 warheads, i.e. by more than a third. This is not modest or small.
“although the plan is in line with President Obama’s 2009 pledge to pursue the elimination of nuclear weapons.”
But that pledge was one driven solely by his childish, pacifist, anti-defense ideology. Yet, US defense policy should never be based on any ideologies or childish dreams; it should be based solely on world realities and America’s defense needs. Under the Obama Administration, that has not been the case.
“The U.S. could make further weapons reductions on its own but is seen as more likely to propose a new round of arms negotiations with Russia, in which cuts in deployed weapons would be one element in a possible new treaty between the former Cold War adversaries.”
Making any arms reductions unilaterally is suicidal and makes one less safe, not more safe. Unilateral nuclear arsenal cuts would almost certainly lead to a nuclear first strike by an adversary. Russia is not a “former” adversary of the US; under Putin, it has become an adversary again, pursuing an arms race against the US, supporting anti-American regimes everywhere, and creating the Iranian nuclear threat, while threatening Europe with missiles and nuclear weapons. Moreover, any treaty involving just the US and Russia would be meaningless, because one has to also include other nuclear-armed states, including China.
Burns claims that:
“Even small proposed cuts are likely to draw heavy criticism from Republicans, who have argued that a smaller nuclear force would weaken the U.S. at a time when Russia, China and others are strengthening their nuclear capabilities. They also argue that shrinking the American arsenal would undermine the credibility of the nuclear “umbrella” that the United States provides for allies such as Japan, South Korea and Turkey, who might otherwise build their own nuclear forces.”
Yet, Republicans would be absolutely right to argue that, because that is the truth. Any nuclear arsenal cuts would weaken the US military and leave America less safe, but it’s especially foolish to do so now, at a time, when Russia, China, Pakistan, and NK are strengthening their nuclear capabilities and are not required to make ANY arsenal cuts of their own (even Russia, which was below New START limits when the treaty was signed). Any steep unilateral cuts would invite a nuclear first strike by Russia and perhaps even China (depending on how deep the cuts would be). (Don’t think that Russia and China would spare the US from such a strike if they could conduct it and get away with it.) That is always the consequence of unilateral disarmament.
The reduction of the deployed strategic US nuclear arsenal that Obama plans to make, even if he chooses the “modest/smallest” option, will be dramatic, treasonous, bad, and suicidal, and it WILL enable and invite a Russian nuclear first strike on the US. That’s because even the “modest” option would entail a reduction of the deployed US nuclear arsenal by 550 warheads, i.e. by 33%, from 1550 to 1000 warheads, while Russia would retain all 1550 warheads allowed by the New START. This would mean that the deployed Russian arsenal (1550 warheads) would be 55% larger than the deployed US arsenal (1000 warheads). This would mean that Russia would need to destroy fewer targets, making a first strike far easier, and possible, for the Russians. The US nuclear arsenal would be 33% smaller than the Russian one (which would be bad by itself), but the Russian arsenal would be 55% larger than the American arsenal, just as 9 is 50% larger than 6 and 15 is 50% larger than 10. If Russia will have a nuclear arsenal that will be even 41%-50% larger than the US arsenal, it will conduct a nuclear first strike because it will be possible and very easy for Russia to conduct it. Moreover, a Russian deputy defense minister has recently said he can’t rule out Russia growing its nuclear arsenal above New START limits “under certain circumstances”.
The AP article says further:
“The administration last year began considering a range of possible future reductions below the levels agreed in the New START pact with Russia that took effect a year ago. Options are expected to be presented to Mr. Obama soon. The force levels he settles on will form the basis of a new strategic nuclear war plan to be produced by the Pentagon.”
So Obama plans to make an arbitrary, unilateral decision, cherry-picking a number of his choice, and thus drastically cutting the nuclear arsenal by at least 33% and perhaps as much as 80%, without any regard for America’s defense needs, unilaterally, without any treaty with the Russians or anyone else. This is a policy of unilateral disarmament, which is a suicidal policy. It invites aggression.
AP’s Robert Burns then cited the lies of pacifists and other disarmament advocates to make Obama’s policy look good:
“Those who favor additional cuts argue that nuclear weapons have no role in major security threats of the 21st century, such as terrorism. A 2010 nuclear policy review by the Pentagon said the U.S. nuclear arsenal also is “poorly suited” to deal with challenges posed by “unfriendly regimes seeking nuclear weapons” — an apparent reference to Iran.”
But this is utter gibberish. Nuclear weapons will play THE lead role in defeating the biggest security threats of the 21st century.
The claims by the supporters of these deep unilateral cuts that nuclear weapons are “poorly suited to the major threats of the 21st century” are patently false and deliberately designed to rationalize these drastic, suicidal cuts. Terrorism is a threat, but not the biggest or even one of the biggest threats; and Al-Qaeda is on its last legs. The biggest threats to America in this new century are Communist China, Putinist Russia, North Korea, and Iran, China being the single most lethal of them. All of them already have or are working on nuclear weapons (in Iran’s case). Russia has over 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads and thousands of tactical ones, and the means to deliver them. China has at least 350, and probably twice as many, nuclear weapons (we don’t know exactly how many because China is extremely intransparent regarding its military). And the carriers of these nuclear weapons are very accurate, with a very small CEP, in many cases smaller than that of Pershing-II IRBMs. Terrorism is a mere nuisance compared to these four threats. I’m not discounting it, but it’s a much smaller threat than these four hostile countries.
The best, if not the only, protection against these threats is the US nuclear arsenal, which must therefore be protected from cuts and modernized fully. There is no alternative – not missile defense, not conventional weapons, not anything else – and the Obama Administration has, in any case, gutted both America’s BMD and its conventional weapon capabilities with misguided defense cuts. So don’t count on BMD or conventional capabilities to deter these enemies. The US nuclear arsenal is the only deterrent available, and the guaranteer of strategic stability between the US and Russia. Similarly, should Iran obtain a nuclear weapon, a scenario that now seems to be a certainty given Obama’s feckless policies, the US nuclear stockpile will be the best, if not the only, deterrent available. The claim that nuclear weapons are “unsuited to the threats of the 21st century, including Iran” and that they are “relics of the Cold War” is completely false, although it is popular with the Washington cocktail party club.
In Iran’s case, the toughest possible sanctions have not stopped its nuclear program nor deterred it from pursuing nuclear weapons. Nor can the US isolate Iran; China, Russia, Venezuela, and other thugocracies would never allow that to happen. Iran is their ally against the US, and dealing business with it (e.g. in oil and natural gas) is very profitable. Cutting the US nuclear stockpile while Iran is building its own nuclear bombs would not only weaken the US and the nuclear umbrella it provides to its allies, it would embolden Iran by showing Tehran that the US is unilaterally disarming itself while Iran is arming, and thus encourage Iran further to pursue nuclear weapons. Disarming yourself in the face of your enemy ALWAYS emboldens him and makes you less safe. And vis-a-vis a small US nuclear stockpile, even a small Iranian arsenal would have a large military value. Iran is deterrable, as confirmed by former CENTCOM commander General John Abizaid. There is zero evidence that Iran is undeterrable. There is only one way to stop the Iranian nuclear program – bombing Iran – and if that does not happen, the ONLY deterrent available to the US and its allies in the Middle East is the US nuclear deterrent and that of Israel.
And even if Iran was undeterrable, a large nuclear arsenal would still be needed to deter Russia, China, and North Korea. Vis-a-vis Russia and China, it is America’s only deterrent.
The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review that Burns cites was not worth the paper it was printed on. It was dangerously wrong. Not only about the usefulness of nuclear weapons, but also about the threat environment, arms control, Iran, stopping nuclear proliferation and terrorist organizations, and other issues. It also fundamentally rejected the strategy of nuclear deterrence as the basis of US defense policy, even though it had been the basis for the previous 65 years, and promised rogue states that the US wouldn’t use nuclear weapons even if attacked with chemical or biological weapons.
The AP article notes that:
“It’s unclear what calculus went into each of the three options now under consideration at the White House. The notion of a 300-weapon arsenal is featured prominently in a paper written for the Pentagon by a RAND National Defense Project Institute analyst last October, in the early stages of the administration’s review of nuclear requirements. The author, Paul K. Davis, wrote that he was not advocating any particular course of action but sought to provide an analytic guide for how policymakers could think about the implications of various levels of nuclear reductions.
Mr. Davis wrote that an arsenal of 300 weapons might be considered adequate for deterrence purposes if that force level was part of a treaty with sound anti-cheating provisions; if the U.S. deployed additional non-nuclear weapons with global reach, and if the U.S. had “hypothetically excellent,” if limited, defenses against long- and medium-range nuclear missiles.“
But as one WT website commenter has rightly noted:
“This risk analysis by Davis is full of unvalidated assumptions and is adolescent in context. How can Obama even consider it????? We cannot base our national security on “might”, “if” and “hypothetically”. This is the most outrageously dangerous risk assessment for national security that has ever been presented.”
I agree, and I would add that Davis warned that the reduction could be done only if the forementioned 3 preconditions were met. None of them have been met, and none will likely ever be. In any case, reducing the US nuclear arsenal so deeply, to just 300 warheads, would be bad, foolish, and suicidal, as it would dramatically reduce the deterrence value of this arsenal (while making other countries’ arsenals suddely much more valuable vis-a-vis the US nuclear stockpile; as Sen. Jon Kyl points out, anyone could build a few hundred warheads and thus reach parity with the US) and reduce the US to the status of just another nuclear power, on par with China, France, and others, and not the strongest country in the world. Making such reductions unilaterally would be even worse, as it would invite a nuclear first strike by a hostile country such as Russia or even China. As for what calculus went into these options, the answer is “none”. All three of them stem from the Obama Administration’s pacifist ideology and wishful thinking. US military officials are actually telling Obama that 1,550 nuclear warheads, as allowed by the New START, is the MINIMUM needed to deter America’s enemies and reassure America’s friends.
Yet, AP cannot hide its glee at these deep arsenal cuts. It claims that
“New U.S. cuts could open the prospect for a historic reshaping of the American nuclear arsenal, which for decades has stood on three legs: submarine-launched ballistic missiles, ground-based ballistic missiles and weapons launched from big bombers such as the B-52 and the stealthy B-2. The traditional rationale for this “triad” of weaponry is that it is essential to surviving any nuclear exchange.”
These cuts, and the elimination of any of the triad’s legs, would not be a “historic reshaping”, it would be a draconian cut, a dramatic weakening, a reckless endangerment of the country, and a unilateral concession to other countries that they couldn’t win at the bargaining table. It would be a suicidal policy. And yes, the triad is needed to deter enemies and survive any nuclear exchange. Dyads and monads can be easily defeated.
AP says that “In his written testimony at a Nov. 2 hearing chaired by Mr. Turner, Mr. Miller made it clear that the administration was making a fundamental reassessment of nuclear-weapons requirements. In unusually stark terms he said the critical question at hand was “what to do” if a nuclear-armed state or non-state entity could not be deterred from launching an attack.”
Yet, there is NO evidence that a state couldn’t be deterred from launching an attack. America’s nuclear deterrence policy has worked flawlessly ever since its inception in 1945, for over 66 years. The US has, since then, always managed to deter a nuclear-armed USSR/Russia, China, and North Korea. It could certainly deter Iran if Tehran ever acquires nuclear weapons. And even if a state or terrorists launch a limited nuclear attack, missile defense can stop them.
AP lies that:
“Nuclear stockpile numbers are closely guarded secrets in most states that possess them, but private nuclear-policy experts say no countries other than the U.S. and Russia are thought to have more than 300. The Federation of American Scientists estimates that France has about 300; China, about 240; Britain, about 225; and Israel, India and Pakistan, roughly 100 each.”
Actually, according to GlobalSecurity.org and other sources, China has at least 350-400 warheads (and possibly twice as much), Israel has at least 200 (and possibly even 300), and Britain has slightly less than 200. So the “private nuclear policy experts” that AP cites, including the FAS, are not experts at all, mere amateurs.
And in order to make Obama look good, AP stated that:
“Since taking office, Mr. Obama has put heavy emphasis on reducing the role and number of nuclear weapons as part of a broader strategy for limiting the global spread of nuclear arms technology and containing the threat of nuclear terrorism. That strategy is being put to the test most urgently by Iran’s suspected pursuit of a nuclear bomb.”
But the cuts of America’s arsenal is not driven by any broader strategy, or any strategy whatsoever. It is driven solely by his pacifist, anti-defense ideology which he has professed since his teenagehood. Cutting the US nuclear arsenal will not solve or even lessen the problem of nuclear proliferation or the remote risk of nuclear terrorism. It will actually make these problems worse, because it will inevitably force America’s allies, worried by the shrinking American umbrella, to develop their own nuclear weapons; thus, proliferation will get worse. As for terrorists, they are not trying to obtain American nuclear weapons and will never get them anyway, so the risk of US nuclear weapons falling into their hands is zero, and cutting these weapons will do nothing about the terrorist threat.
And if the Iranian nuclear crisis is a test of Obama’s “nuclear strategy”, he and that strategy are failing this test abysmally.
And yet, as Obama is gutting the US nuclear arsenal, where are Republican politicians (except those few who specialize in defense issues) and columnists? Where are Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, John Gizzi, Jason Mattera, Quin Hillyer, Aaron Goldstein, Michael Barone, Michael Gerson, Oliver North, and Charles Krauthammer? Nowhere.
Republican politicians, columnists, and activists should be screaming to top of their lungs against these cuts, which will likely invite a nuclear first strike. Why aren’t they? Because they don’t care. These days, the vast majority of Republicans doesn’t care about defense issues at all. Indeed, right now, some Republicans say that we must give the extremely anti-defense Congressman Ron Paul and his leftist, pacifist, anti-defense minions “a voice in the Party”. The pacifist virus is infecting the GOP. The GOP is now America’s second weak-defense party after the Democratic Party.
So Republicans will be Obama’s willing accomplices in these disastrous defense cuts.
UPDATE: Guess what HASC Republicans have done about these cuts? They’ve written Obama a letter urging him not to make these cuts. Republicans should actually be educating the public about this, passing legislation prohibiting any nuclear arsenal cuts, and using whatever trump cards they have to stop Obama from making them.