As everyone should know by now, Barack Obama intends to disarm the United States unilaterally and has already taken substantial steps in that direction. He has signed, and rammed through the Senate (in the twilight days of the 111th Congress) the New START treaty requiring unilateral cuts in America’s deployed nuclear arsenal and the fleet of delivery systems, while allowing Russia to grow its own arsenals of these. He has unilaterally withdrawn nuclear-tipped cruise missiles from US Navy ships and submarines – without Russia or anyone else reciprocating. He has banned the development of any new nuclear weapons, or even upgrades to current ones, cut funding for the service life extension of existing ones, and cancelled plans to develop a new ICBM. He has prohibited current USAF ICBMs to carry more than 1 warhead each, while both Russia and China have multiple-warhead ICBMs.
Obama deceptively claims that he wants to create a “world without nuclear weapons” (a fantasy that will never exist), and he has repeteadly repeated that claim. But let’s put aside for the moment even the fact that there will never be a world without nuclear weapons because these weapons are so powerful and so attractive (and what is powerful is automatically attractive), and the fact that NO ONE is following him on his imaginary road to “nuclear zero.” He couldn’t care less.
The goal of “a world without nuclear weapons” isn’t just “distant”; it’s utterly unrealistic and ridiculous.
The world is not “moving towards nuclear zero”; it isn’t even on the beginning of the road to nuclear zero, and never will be. The world (other than Obama’s America) is going in the EXACTLY OPPOSITE direction: more nuclear weapons and more nuclear-armed states.
Obama’s legacy will not be “a world without nuclear weapons”, or even a planet going in that direction. Obama’s legacy will be a planet going in the exactly opposite direction, and quite possibly, a nuclear-armed Iran.
Obama also deceptively claims that his unilateral cuts will enhance “nuclear security” and strategic stability and stem nuclear proliferation.
But cutting America’s nuclear deterrent – especially unilaterally – will only UNDERMINE security and stability by weakening America’s deterrent while Russia’s and China’s arsenals remain large and modern (and keep growing), and ENCOURAGE nuclear proliferation by both friend and foe – allies will no longer trust America’s nuclear umbrella and will develop their own arsenals, while enemies like Iran will only be emboldened to develop nuclear arsenals – since America’s deterrent will be smaller, weaker, and thus easier to destroy in a first strike. Fewer nuclear weapons equal fewer consequences of attacking the US or its allies.
Make no mistake: Obama’s unilateral disarmament of the US has nothing to do with “global zero”, and everything to do with simply disarming the US unilaterally and making it easier for America’s enemies to attack the US.
As a part of that unilateral disarmament, the Obama administration is now seriously considering, and will likely decide to, eliminate an entire Air Force ICBM wing – 150 missiles! It is not known which wing will it be – the one based at Minot AFB, ND, at Malmstrom AFB, MT, or at Francis E. Warren AFB. But they are now conducting an Environmental Impact Statement, the first step in the process.
The Obama administration deceptively and falsely claims it’s just an “implementation of the New START treaty.” But that is completely false. New START does not require cutting an entire ICBM wing with 150 missiles, or any further deep cuts on this scale.
Make no mistake: Obama is planning to make further deep unilateral cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent over and above those required by New START. That treaty, however damaging it is by itself to US national security, has nothing to do with the planned elimination of 150 ICBMs.
How do we know? Because in 2010, shortly before New START was ratified, then Defense Secretary Robert Gates revealed what the force structure would be under New START limits: 420 ICBMs, 58 nuclear-armed B-52s, 20 B-2s, and 14 or fewer ballistic missile submarines with 20 or fewer missile tubes per boat.
Currently, the US has 450 ICBMs. Under the treaty, the remaining 30 ICBMs were to be decommissioned and put in storage, but not dismantled.
So under New START, America was required to cut its ICBM fleet by only 30 missiles – not 150, which is five times that much!
And contrary to the claims of pro-disarmament organizations, such cuts would save very little: only about $360 mn per year even according to ACA estimates. So eliminating 150 ICBMs would save close to nothing while deeply and unilaterally cutting the cheapest, most reliable, and most responsive leg of the nuclear triad, which has readiness levels of around 96-99% at any time.
But it gets worse. While Obama has been unilaterally cutting America’s nuclear deterrent, and plans to continue doing so, Russia and China have been building their arsenals up.
Russia is building up its nuclear arsenal – and the arsenal of delivery system – and has been doing so since New START’s ratification in early 2011. Before that treaty was ratified, Russia was below its ceilings of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads and 800 delivery systems per side.
But since then, Russia has built up to New START levels, as State Department data exchanges show – and as was precisely Russia’s goal and was promised by Russian leaders, including then-Defense Minister Anatoliy Syerdyukov, who correctly told Russia’s parliament that Moscow wouldn’t have to decommission a single warhead or delivery system.
Russia, as veteran journalist Bill Gertz writes in more detail, is in the midst of a massive nuclear (and conventional) military buildup. It is currently growing its arsenal of both warheads and delivery systems. It’s currently developing several different ICBM types: a road-mobile “Yars-M” ICBM, a rail-mobile one, a heavy liquid-fueled ICBM called “the Son of Satan” (slated to replace the famous SS-18 Satan), the “Avangard”, a “pseudo-ICBM” with a 6,000 km range (in violation of the INF Treaty), and another ICBM mentioned recently by Deputy Premier Dmitry Rogozin (it might be one of those previously mentioned ICBMs).
Concurrently, Russia is developing a next-generation strategic bomber, a next-gen cruise missile for its bombers (the Kh-102) and for its submarines (the Koliber), and deploying a new class of ballistic missile subs (the Borei class) with a new type of sub-launched ballistic missiles (the Bulava, or SS-NX-30 in NATO nomenclature, with 10 warheads). It is also modernizing its already large arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons and their delivery systems (artillery pieces, Su-34 tactical strike jets, SS-26 Stone SRBMs, etc.) and growing its fleet of Tu-160 bombers with production from stockpiled parts.
Also, Russia’s current-generation Bulava and Liner submarine-launched ballistic missiles can carry far more warheads (10 and 12, respectively) than previous generations of Russian SLBMs, such as the Sinyeva (R-29M). So Russia will be able to, and will, load more warheads on each of those new SLBMs.
Overall, Russia’s strategic nuclear triad currently has:
a) 434 ICBMs, all but 171 of which can deliver multiple warheads;
b) 14 ballistic missile subs with 16-20 intercontinental missiles each (and each can carry up to 12 warheads, depending on missile type); and
c) 251 intercontinental bombers (Tu-95s, Tu-160s, and Tu-22Ms).
Overall, Russia is estimated by the Federation of American Scientists to have 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads – deployed and nondeployed. Keep in mind that all of the above numbers – of missiles, bombers, and warheads – will only grow over time, and with them, the nuclear threat to America and its allies, and thus, the need for an American nuclear deterrent.
Moscow is not only growing its arsenal but also becoming more aggressive as well. In the last 12 months, Russia has practiced simulated nuclear bomber strikes on US missile defense facilities five times, each time flying dangerously close to US or allied airspace, and three times flying into Air Defense Identification Zones – forcing US or allied fighters to scramble. For more, see here and here.
“Who told you that the Cold War was ever over? It transforms; it is like a virus,” said Russian KGB/FSB defector Sergei Tretyakov in an interview with FOX News in 2009.
And yet, Obama wants to disarm America unilaterally in the face of such an aggressive Russia wielding thousands of nuclear weapons!
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 by Obama when Russia is not complying with existing arms reduction treaties? We can’t!
How can the US sign any deals with Moscow, and believe anything the Kremlin says, when it doesn’t comply with its existing treaty obligations?
In addition, Russia is developing missile defenses – the same kind of defensive stuff which Russia doesn’t want the US to deploy – which would help Russia mop up the few remaining US missiles that might survive a Russian nuclear first strike.
China has a far larger nuclear arsenal than the Obama administration admits – at least 1,600, and possibly up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, and enough delivery systems to deliver at least 1,274… without even counting its SRBMs or ground-lauched cruise missiles, that is. With these systems, China could deliver thousands of warheads.
China has at least 86 ICBMs (36 DF-5s, at least 30 DF-31/31As, 20 DF-4s, and an unknown number of DF-41s), all of them multiple-warhead excluding the DF-4s; 6 ballistic missile submarines with at least 12 multiple-warhead missiles each; 440 nuclear-capable strike aircraft (H-6, Q-5, JH-7) capable of carrying both nuclear bombs and nuclear-tipped cruise missiles; and at least 100 DF-21 and DF-3 MRBMs. For local nuclear strikes, it has over 1,600 short-range BMs and hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles like the DH-10 and CJ-10.
Overall, former Russian strategic missile force chief of staff Gen. Viktor Yesin estimates China to have at least 1,600-1,800 nuclear warheads and enough fissile material for 3,600, while former DOD chief nuclear strategist Dr Philip Karber, now a Georgetown University professor, estimates China to have 3,000 warheads.
China itself continually refuses to disclose the size of its arsenal while deceptively claiming it has a “minimum deterrence” policy. Deception, of course, is what ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu advised.
So while America’s potential adversaries are growing and modernizing their nuclear arsenals, Obama is deeply and unilaterally cutting America’s own. What term would you use to describe such behavior?
Please call your Congressman and both of your senators and tell them they MUST support the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2014 (H.R. 1960) with the Rogers Amendment in it. The Rogers Amendment, authored by Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, the widely-respected chairman of the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee, will prohibit Obama from cutting the US nuclear arsenal any further unless a new arms reduction treaty, requiring proportional cuts in Russia’s arsenal, is ratified OR Congress itself consents to cutting the nuclear deterrent.
Also please tell your Congressman and both of your Senators to go further and pass a firm, TOTAL ban on ANY further cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent, absent a decision by Congress itself. No more one-sided New START treaties.
Please tell them that you will NEVER, EVER vote for them again if they fail to support such important legal protections of America’s nuclear umbrella, which is the best nonproliferation tool ever invented.
And lastly, if your Congressman is Mike Rogers of Alabama, or one of the Republicans who voted for his amendment in committee, please contact his office to thank him.
Footnotes: Called the Kalibr in other sources.  I conservatively count each of China’s 160 H-6 bombers as being capable of delivering only one warhead, even though some of these bombers – namely, those of the H-6K variant – can deliver at least 6 nuclear-tipped ICBMs over a distance of 4,400 kms. The bomber’s own combat radius is 2,200 kms, and the missile has its own additional range of another 2,200 kms.  Indeed, Sun Tzu wrote that all warfare is based on deception.