Despite North Korea’s nuclear test and recent provocations and signs of preparing for aggression, the advocates of America’s nuclear disarmament have not admitted being wrong and do not intend to ever do so, despite the fact that they’ve been wrong all along.
As recently as March 5th, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, former Clinton Administration SECDEF William Perry (who presided over part of President Clinton’s disastrous defense cuts), and former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) wrote an op-ed titled “Next Steps in Reducing Nuclear Risks: The Pace of Nonproliferation Efforts Doesn’t Match the Urgency of the Threat”. They advocate deeply cutting the US nuclear arsenal further, and fast, in the face of North Korea’s nuclear armament and tests and the rapid growth of Russia’s and China’s already large nuclear arsenals and delivery system fleets.
Yes, you read that right. While Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran are all ARMING themselves with nuclear weapons, Kissinger, Shultz, Perry, and Nunn advocate that the US DISARM itself.
One could not think of a more idiotic, more cretinous policy.
Already the title of their screed contains three implicit claims:
1) That the US nuclear arsenal poses a “nuclear risk” that must be reduced, or that it encourages other countries to acquire their own arsenals and thus creating risks;
2) That the US nuclear arsenal causes, or contributes to, nuclear proliferation, and that cutting or eliminating it would be a major contribution to “nonproliferation”;
3) That the US nuclear arsenal is a threat, or a part of a threat, to US national security.
We’ll deal with these ridiculous implicit claims.
But first: what is proliferation? It’s a phenomenon whereby something proliferates, i.e. spreads, i.e. something that was once unique or limited to one country, or a few, spreads around the world to become more common. Nonproliferation means stopping the spread of this “something” – in this case, nuclear weapons.
But nuclear weaponry is a genie that cannot be put back into the bottle. It cannot be un-invented. It can, at best, only be contained and limited to a few countries. Moreover, the only nuclear weapon state that Washington can verifiably disarm is the US. Russia, North Korea, China, and Pakistan will NEVER give up their nuclear weapons. (Britain and France might, though – in which case the Western world would be completely disarming itself, opening itself squarely to aggression by anyone with as much as one nuke.)
As President Reagan has said, “We abide by arms reductiont treaties. Those nations who don’t wish us well don’t.”
Cutting America’s nuclear arsenal, no matter how deeply, or even eliminating it, will do NOTHING to even slow down, let alone stop, nuclear proliferation around the world. It will not “induce” nor encourage nor convince North Korea, Russia, China, and Pakistan to give up their nuclear arsenals or even to reduce them – on the contrary, it would only encourage them to grow these arsenals and to perpetrate aggression against the US and its allies – because cutting America’s nuclear arsenal (or eliminating it outright) would only give them an advantage they would be eager to exploit.
We don’t need to rely on predictions or prophecy here: we have history to back this up. Over the last 22 years, the US has cut its nuclear arsenal by over 75%, from over 20,000 warheads in 1991 to just 5,000 today.
Meanwhile, China has grown its arsenal from about 240-300 warheads in the 1980s to possibly as many as 3,000 today; North Korea has acquired nuclear weapons and possesses around 13; Pakistan acquired such weapons in 1998 and has around 100; and Russia, whose nuclear arsenal declined sharply after the Soviet Union’s collapse, has, since Putin’s arrival, made significant progress in rebuilding its arsenal of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems, as well as modernizing existing ones. Now Iran is racing to acquire nuclear arms as well.
Cutting America’s atomic arsenal by over 75% since 1991 has UTTERLY FAILED to convince any of these countries to forego nuclear weapons or, if they already had them, to stop expanding its arsenal.
Doing the same thing over again and expecting different results is insanity.
The US nuclear arsenal does not cause or even contribute to nuclear proliferation. On the contrary, it helps STEM it by acting as a defensive umbrella for over 30 allies of the US, including many technologically-advanced allies who could develop their own nuclear weapons (and would do so in the absence of the American umbrella). If this umbrella is taken away, they’ll have no choice but to “go nuclear” themselves. Already, 66.5% of South Koreans support developing their own nuclear weapons.
As Dr Steven Rademaker and Dr Kori Schake have pointed out, America’s nuclear arsenal is actually a very useful and very underappreciated nonproliferation tool. Thus, dismantling it will only make nuclear proliferation much worse.
Calling America’s arsenal a “risk” or a “threat” to US national and world security is even more absurd and ridiculous. No, America’s atomic arsenal is not a “risk” or a “threat” to the US, to the world at large, nor to anyone else – except those who wish to attack the US or its allies.
If you’re an enemy of the US, then yes, America’s nuclear arsenal is a huge threat to you indeed. As it should be.
The only “risk” and “threat” comes from the nuclear arsenals of Russia, China, North Korea, and Pakistan and from Iran’s nuclear program. That risk and that threat, however, cannot be eliminated or even reduced by cutting or scrapping America’s own nuclear arsenal. Doing so would only aggravate that threat and that risk.
That’s because, when the enemy has a huge arsenal (or is acquiring powerful weapons), you don’t disarm yourself. You retain your weapons and upgrade them. It’s Deterrence 101. And it always works.
Russia, China, North Korea, and Pakistan would love to see the US cut its nuclear deterrent further (or even eliminate it outright), because that would leave the US defenseless and open to nuclear attack – which they would perpetrate if they could get away with it.
“Arms control”, arms reduction and disarmament in military/foreign policy terms are just as cretinous and suicidal as “gun control.”
Think about it: if someone entered your home uninvited with a weapon, would you prefer to be unarmed (or poorly armed) and negotiate with him or to have a good gun to kill him?
The vast majority of Americans would obviously choose the latter.
The same applies to international relations and military affairs. Disarmament and arms reduction are downright suicidal. They only open your country to aggression.
Why, then, do politicians from both parties (including Sen. Tom Coburn and at least 11 House Republicans) advocate deep, unilateral cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent? Why do presidents of both parties do so? Why do they get away with it? Why do Senators from both parties routinely vote for whatever treasonous arms reduction treaty (which no one but the US complies with) Presidents send them? Why is John McCain, a leftist and an advocate of America’s nuclear disarmament, hailed as an expert on defense issues? Why do the good people of Arizona continue to reelect him to the Senate?
They clearly don’t understand – or utterly reject – the principle of nuclear deterrence and the need for a large, modern nuclear deterrent.
They don’t understand, or refuse to recognize, that Russia, China, North Korea, and Pakistan will NEVER give up their nuclear arsenals or stop expanding and modernizing them, and that Iran will never freewillingly stop pursuing nuclear arms. They don’t get it – or refuse to acknowledge – that cutting America’s nuclear deterrent in the face of these threats is downright suicidal and would only invite nuclear attack on the US and its allies.
It is absolutely crucial to remove all of these people from power, prevent the election of more such people to any office, and to STOP and REVERSE the cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent.
The Cold War may be over; but the need for a large, modern American nuclear deterrent is not, and will not be for the foreseeable future.