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.