The developments of the past few weeks prove unequivocally that the nuclear threat posed by Russia, China, and North Korea – and thus the need for a large, multi-legged US nuclear deterrent – is growing.
The year 2014 hasn’t ended, but NATO fighters have already been scrambled 400 times this year alone to intercept Russian nuclear-armed Tu-95, Tu-160, and Tu-22M bombers flying close to NATO members’ airspace and probing NATO fighters’ response times. Russia is also quickly developing hypersonic strike weapons – which will be able to carry nuclear warheads – and will deploy them in 2020.
Russia is also militarizing the illegally-conquered-and-annexed Crimean Peninsula fast, at a rate alarming to NATO’s top commander in Europe. Among other things, Russia has now stationed nuclear-armed Iskander SRBMs/GCLMs and Tu-22M strategic bombers there.
The Chinese nuclear threat is also growing fast. Last week, the congressionally-sponsored US-China Economic and Security Review Commission released a report which warns that the size of China’s arsenal, and the scope of its modernization and expansion, is greater than the DOD recognizes. Among other things, it warns of China’s ICBMs and SLBMs’ capability to strike the Continental US and recognizes the likelihood that China may very well have far more than just a few hundred warheads – which is what it had in the early 1980s. Yet, the DOD STILL refuses to recognize the real size of China’s arsenal and still clings to its three-decades-old, utterly obsolete estimate.
Meanwhile, North Korea conducted the first ejection test of a ballistic missile out of a missile tube, the first serious step towards developing and building a ballistic missile submarine – a program the Washington Free Beacon was the first to write about in August. Which means that, in several years, North Korea will have a ballistic missile submarine – like the US, Russia, China, France, the UK, and Israel do.
On October 26th, Gen. Curtis Scaparotti, the top US commander in South Korea, confirmed that North Korea – contrary to the denials of American arms control afficionados – has mastered the art of miniaturizing nuclear warheads for them to fit atop ballistic missiles.
All of which proves that the Russian, Chinese, and North Korean nuclear threat to US, allied, and global security is growing, not shrinking as the advocates of Western unilateral disarmament would have us believe.
Accordingly, this proves that the need for a large, modern, and multi-legged US nuclear arsenal is growing, not vanishing as Western unilateral disarmament advocates falsely claim.
Thus, WaPo’s Walter Pincus’ claims that relying on nuclear weapons for national security is “old thinking”; that 500 nuclear warheads would suffice to protect the US; and that the fear of a preemptive nuclear first strike by Russia is “insane” are blatant lies.
These are the gravest threats to US, allied, and global security which will have to be addressed by whoever succeeds Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. More broadly, the nation-state threat posed by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran will have to be countered. Fortunately, if Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work is to be believed, the Pentagon is working right now to do just that.