Many Americans rightly worry about what Barack Obama meant when he promised then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (and indirectly, his boss, now-President Vladimir Putin) that “after my election, I have more flexibility” on missile defense.
Firstly, he claimed:
“This was specifically about how we deal with Russia and nuclear arms. We’ve been able to negotiate a nuclear arms deal that reduced levels of nuclear arms both in Russia and in the United States and that’s something that was ratified on a bipartisan basis in the United States Senate.”
That is utterly false. The New START treaty, which Obama was referring to, has NOT cut Russia’s nuclear arsenal by even one warhead, missile, or bomber. It obligates only the US to cut its nuclear arsenal – not Russia. his is because Russia was significantly below treaty limits at the time the treaty was signed and ratified. Since then, Russia has begun significantly building up its strategic nuclear arsenal (with the aim of building up to New START limits) and continues to do so. At present, with 1,492 deployed strategic warheads, it’s just 58 short of the treaty ceiling. Russia’s Defense Minister said at the time the treaty was ratified that Russia would not have to eliminate a single weapon, and he was right. Russia has not cut anything. Thus, the treaty mandates unilateral US disarmament.
Obama lied further that:
“The discussion there very much just had to do with the fact that it’s hard to negotiate additional treaties when I’m off campaigning and doing all kinds of stuff. (…) The key point is maintaining a secure effective nuclear deterrent. (…) I think everybody recognizes that 20 years after the Cold War that it’s important for us to see if we can continue to reduce the levels of nuclear threat around the world. Part of that is us negotiating treaties to reduce the reliance on nuclear weapons. Part of it is also making sure that we keep nuclear arms out of the hands of nations like Iran.
“And that’s something that I’ve helped to organize around the world, toughest sanctions on Iran ever, to make sure that they don’t get nuclear weapons. And as I indicated last week, and as I’ve indicated for months now, Iran’s not going to get a nuclear weapon on my watch.””
Those are also blatant lies.
Firstly, no, America cannot afford to cut its nuclear arsenal any further, for the reasons listed here. Doing so would only weaken the nuclear deterrent and thus invite nuclear blackmail by Russia and China (and don’t think they wouldn’t use their arsenals for such purposes against the US). To wit:
- Russia has already almost reached New START limits and has hundreds of additional strategic nuclear warheads (plus 2 SSBNs) in reserve. In addition, its tactical nuclear weapon lead over the US is tremendous.
- China, contrary to the claims of disarmament advocates and US intelligence agencies (which are run by pro-China officials who routinely understate the Chinese military threat to curry favor with Beijing), has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, and the means to immediately deliver at least 1,200, even without any SRBMs or LACMs.
- Then there are North Korea and Iran, which must be deterred.
- Moreover, any further cuts in America’s nuclear arsenal will cause America’s allies 30 of whom rely on it for their own security – to doubt its credibility (and rightly soo; a nuclear arsenal that is too small cannot deter anyone). Deep cuts will leave them no choice but to develop their own nuclear weapons, thus making the proliferation problem much worse.
Contrary to Obama’s claims, nuclear weapons are not relics of the Cold War. They are crucial weapons (instruments of deterrence) needed to deter Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran and protect America’s allies. With all of these potential adversaries to deter and with over 30 countries relying on America’s nuclear umbrella, the nuclear deterrent is even more needed than it was during the Cold War, when the US confronted only one, and from 1964 two, nuclear-armed adversaries. Today, the US has to deter four, and provide a nuclear umbrella for over 30 countries. This cannot be done with a small arsenal. It would be insufficient even for America’s own defense, as it wouldn’t be survivable. In order to be reliable, credible, secure, and survivable, a nuclear arsenal HAS to be large.
Moreover, America’s reliance on nuclear weapons cannot be safely reduced, because America’s conventional weapon and missile defense capabilities are no substitute for nuclear arms, at least not with the present insufficient (and in the case of conventional weapons, mostly obsolete) inventories. America’s conventional warfare capabilities have atrophied so badly during the last 2 decades that they are NO substitute for a nuclear deterrent.
Furthermore, treaties that cut the US nuclear arsenal do NOTHING to “reduce the nuclear threat around the world”, because the US is not a threat to anyone, except those who wish to attack the US or its allies. During Obama’s term, the nuclear arsenals of Russia, China, North Korea, and Pakistan have not been reduced at all, not even by one warhead or missile. In fact, all of these countries have INCREASED their nuclear arsenals on Obama’s watch.
As for Iran, Obama has utterly failed to stop its march towards nuclear weapons, with Iran now being capable, according to credible estimates, of producing nuclear weapons 1-2 years from now. Obama has given Iran almost four years of unimpeded nuclear weaponry development.
The sanctions that Obama has imposed on Iran are weak and dozens of nations, including Iran’s biggest trade partners, have been granted exemptions from them, thus making these sanctions totally ineffective. But even the toughest sanctions on Earth cannot stop a rogue state from acquiring nuclear weapons. Vide North Korea, which acquired nuclear weapons despite being a pariah state. The only solution is to bomb Iran BEFORE it acquires them.
Last but not least, nuclear arms treaties were NOT what Obama was talking about during the recorded part of his conversation with Medvedev. What Obama said was:
“OBAMA: On all of these issues, but particularly missile defense, it is important for him [Vladimir Putin – ZM] to give me space.
MEDVEDEV: I understand. Space… Space for you…
OBAMA: This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.
MEDVEDEV: I understand. I’ll transmit this information to Vladimir and I stand with you.”
Obama was talking about missile defense, not nuclear arms treaties.
Obama said that after this election, if reelected, he would have more “flexibility” with regard to missile defense. Flexibility to do what, exactly?
There can be only one answer: to succumb to Russian demands of cancelling, or at least to water down, the system. Obama, if reelected (God forbid), would not have to face voters ever again.
It is imperative to vote Obama out of office before he can gut America’s nuclear deterrent and give up US missile defense systems to the Russians.