On June 19th, in Berlin, Barack Obama announced his plan to cut America’s strategic nuclear deterrent further, to a paltry 1,000 warheads, from the 1,550 warheads allowed by the New START treaty – unilaterally if Russia doesn’t agree to a new accord.
Leftist subversives gathered at this year’s Netroots convention universally applauded Obama’s proposal and discussed among each other how they can advocate, and persuade Democratic and Republican members of Congress, to agree to even deeper unilateral cuts in America’s deterrent, and the eventual scrapping of the US nuclear arsenal.
Among the attending groups were such stridently liberal pro-unilateral-disarmament groups as the Ploughshares Fund and Global Zero. Obama’s Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sat on the board of both organizations before being confirmed as Defense Secretary. Before he was nominated, the New York Times said he would ultimately be picked precisely because he wants to cut America’s nuclear deterrent and “kill some major weapon programs.”
At the Netroots convention, the strident pro-unilateral-disarmament liberals showed their real, anti-American, treasonous views and mindset. They made no effort to hide their intention to disarm America completely and unilaterally, regardless of what other nations around the world do.
And in defense of their treasonous disarmament policies, they stated a number of blatant lies designed to mislead the general public. Adam Kredo reports that:
““The size of our nuclear arsenal is ludicrous,” said an outraged John Robert Behrman, committeeman with the Harris County Democratic Party in Houston, Texas.
“The amount of money we spend on nuclear ordinance is ridiculous,” said Behrman, who said that nuclear modernization and maintenance issues “should be the lowest hanging fruit in the defense budget.”
“We have so many weapons already that you know we don’t need to keep these moldy sitting in bunkers around,” added a student activist who had attended the session. “I don’t think they’re necessary and something we should be spending money on at all.””
But their claims are all blatant lies. I’ll show you why.
Firstly, the US spends only a small amount of money on nuclear weapons and their delivery systems and supporting infrastructure: about $32-36 bn per year according to the Stimson Center. This is just 6.19% of the FY2013 military budget ($613 bn per the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act) and a fraction of one percent of the total federal budget. It’s a drop in the bucket.
The delivery systems and warheads themselves are the cheapest part of this. The ICBM leg of the nuclear triad costs just $1.1 bn per year to maintain; the bomber leg, only $2.5 bn per year – and that bomber leg is capable of both nuclear and conventional strike. So for a tiny price of $2.5 bn per annum, America gets two capabilities in one weapon system.
(And as America’s overseas bases become more and more vulnerable to ballistic and cruise missile strikes, not to mention Iranian and Chinese political pressure on host nations, having long-range strike weapons like ICBMs and bombers in large numbers will be even more important than now, for these long-range strike weapons are based in the US and don’t need any foreign bases, or anyone’s permission, to operate and strike.)
No, the amount that the US spends on nuclear weapons and related assets is not “ludicrous” nor large. It’s tiny. It’s a small part of the defense, and the overall federal, budget.
Moreover, the US nuclear arsenal is THE most crucial and THE most needed asset that America has. It is not a “low-hanging fruit in the defense budget” that could be safely cut out of it. It is not some unneeded program. It’s a crucial, irreplacable, and needed asset. It’s the sine qua non of America’s national security.
The US nuclear arsenal is the most effective counter-proliferation program ever created. It has discouraged all of America’s allies except Britain and France from developing nuclear weapons, reassuring them that they don’t need to do so because the US provides a powerful nuclear umbrella to them. Such an umbrella is ESPECIALLY needed now – more than ever – given the nuclear threats posed by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.
Russia has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (including 1,550 deployed) and up to 4,000 tactical warheads – and the means to deliver all 6,800 if need be. Its 434 ICBMs can collectively deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; its 14 ballistic missile submarines can deliver over 2,200 warheads to the CONUS (while sitting in their ports); and each of its 251 strategic bombers can carry up to 7 warheads (1 freefall bomb and 6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles). Its Tu-95 bomber fleet alone can deliver over 700 warheads to the middle of America.
In addition, Russia is blatantly violating the INF Treaty by developing and testing an IRBM, and also violating the CFE Treaty! How can we trust Russia to comply with New START and reciprocate the newest cuts proposed Obama when Russia is not complying with existing arms reduction treaties? We can’t!
China has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, and the means to deliver at least 1,274 of them. Among these are over 80 ICBMs, 120 MRBMs, over 1,600 SRBMs, dozens of land-attack cruise missiles, six ballistic missile submarines, and 440 nuclear-capable aircraft. While the vast majority of its SRBMs and cruise missiles are reportedly conventionally-armed at present, they could be armed with nuclear weapons anytime, which is called “breakout capability.”
Then there’s North Korea with its nuclear arsenal (which it has recently announced it will grow its nuclear arsenal) and ICBMs capable of reaching the US, and Iran, which is coming closer to achieving nuclear weapon status everyday. Only nuclear weapons can protect America against these threats. So they are HIGHLY RELEVANT in the 21st century.
Besides deterring nuclear attack, nuclear weapons also protect America’s treaty allies against a large-scale conventional attack – ensuring that it has never happened so far.
And how big is America’s nuclear arsenal, exactly? Is the number ridiculous?
No, it’s not. It’s over 75% smaller than it was just 21 years ago at the Cold War’s end. Only 1,800 deployed strategic warheads, due to shrink to New START’s limit of 1,550 within the next 6 years, plus 180 deployed tactical warheads and some 2,000-3,000 warheads in reserve or awaiting dismantlement. In total, some 5,000 warheads – less than a quarter of the arsenal’s size in 1991 (over 20,000 warheads).
Since the Cold War’s end, the US has cut its nuclear arsenal by over 75%; stopped designing, producing, or testing nuclear warheads; has not produced a single ballistic missile or strategic cruise missile; has retired all of its stealthy strategic cruise missiles built by Ronald Reagan; has cut its ballistic missile submarine fleet to just 14 boats; has produced only 20 B-2 bombers; has withdrawn its tactical nuclear weapons unilaterally from ships, submarines, and South Korea; has dramatically cut its ICBM fleet from over 600 to just 450 missiles (due to shrink to 420); has dramatically closed its bomber fleet; has closed the Ohio class SSBN, B-2 bomber, Minuteman ICBM, and Peacekeeper ICBM production lines; and has adhered to all of its arms control commitments (while no one else has).
Meanwhile, Russia has an estimated arsenal of anywhere between 6,800 and 8,800 nuclear weapons, and China an arsenal between 1,800 and 3,000 warheads.
No, the size of America’s nuclear arsenal is not “ludicrous” nor too big. If anything, it’s too small.
In 2010, when the Senate was holding hearings on the New START treaty, the then commander of the US Strategic Command overseeing nuclear weapons, Gen. Kevin Chilton, said that New START’s limit of 1,550 deployed warheads was the LOWEST number of weapons America could safely cut to. Many reputable analysts, such as former Under Secretaries of State for Arms Control John Bolton, Paula deSutter, and Robert Joseph, warned that even this level is unsafe.
America needs all of the nuclear weapons she currently has. If anything, America needs more of them.
The extremely liberal pro-unilateral-disarmament groups gathered at Netroots also praised Obama’s plan to deeply cut America’s arsenal again, and his selection of Chuck Hagel – their longtime ally – to be Defense Secretary. The unilateral disarmament advocates believe Hagel will be their key ally in disarming the US unilaterally. Adam Kredo reports that:
“Ploughshares director of communications Margaret Swink also praised the president’s anti-nuclear stance during an interview with the Free Beaconimmediately following the strategy session.
“I think the administration does support it and [we] saw again the speech this week that Obama, as Global Zero was saying, Obama supports this issue and the peace and security of a world without nuke weapons,” said Swink, whose organization funded an aggressive campaign to support Hagel during his contentious nomination process
“We were obviously very pleased that Chuck Hagel became secretary of defense and feel very excited about working with him as we move forward,” Swink said. “With regard to nuclear issues, he’s a strong partner. I don’t think anything has changed about that since when he was on our board to now being secretary of defense.””
Do you see? I was right about Hagel all along. Hagel DOES support America’s unilateral disarmament, and Republicans made a huge and unforgivable betrayal of conservative principles by voting to invoke cloture on his nomination and by voting to confirm him.
If Republicans want to redeem themselves, they ABSOLUTELY MUST block ANY further cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent – even by treaty. I repeat: if they want to redeem themselves, they MUST SUCCESSFULLY BLOCK ANY further cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent – even by treaty.