On June 26th, the leftist DefenseNews portal, owned by the Gannett company, published yet another biased, anti-nuclear weapons article which aims to present Barack Obama’s planned deep cut of America’s nuclear arsenal in a positive light and in which only a supporter of nuclear cuts is asked for opinion – while no opponent is asked to weigh in.
In that pathetic screed, the author decries the size of America’s nuclear arsenal, tries to assure the readers that Barack Obama’s new deep cuts of America’s deployed arsenal won’t harm US national security, and that Republicans are groundlessly opposing it.
He also quotes Republicans’ charges of Russian noncompliance with “a major arms control treaty” and of Obama disarming America unilaterally as if they were outlandish, which they’re not.
Let’s deal with these issues one by one.
Firstly, and probably most importantly, RUSSIA HAS NOT CUT A SINGLE WARHEAD OR DELIVERY SYSTEM UNDER NEW START – because the treaty obligates ONLY the US, not Russia, to cut its deployed nuclear arsenal. It allows Russia to actually grow its arsenal – which it has done since New START’s ratification and will continue to do, as confirmed numerous times by Russian leaders, including President Putin and former Defense Minister Anatoliy Syerdukov. Thus, New START amounts to America’s unilateral disarmament.
Secondly, Obama did not say in Berlin he’d do the cuts by treaty. He – like his administration’s officials in their Congressional testimonies last year and in pre- and post-Berlin speech remarks to the press – left the door open to unilateral reductions in America’s nuclear deterrent.
So those who accuse Obama of engaging in America’s unilateral disarmament are exactly right. Obama IS unilaterally disarming America. He has also unilaterally withdrawn nuclear warheads and nuclear-capable Tomahawk TLAM missiles from US submarines. That is unilateral disarmament.
He’s also woefully underfunding the modernization of America’s nuclear deterrent. That is also unilateral disarmament – by neglect.
Thirdly, yes, Russia IS violating a major arms reduction treaty – two, actually. The first is the INF treaty, which prohibits the development, testing, production, or possession of any ground-launched BMs or CMs with a range between 550 and 5500 kms. Russia has recently tested a pseudo-ICBM (really an IRBM) called the Yars-M at a range of 2,000 kms – a blatant violation of the INF Treaty. Dr Mark B. Schneider, an expert on nuclear weapons, has been warning of such development since at least 2012. This was reported yesterday by the Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz.
Russia is also violating the adapted CFE Treaty by possessing in Europe far more tanks, IFVs, APCs, and artillery pieces than the treaty allows.
How can America negotiate or sign any arms limitation treaties with Russia when Moscow blatantly violates the treaties it has already signed and ratified?
Fourthly, the cut Obama wants to make – to a mere 1,000 warheads – will gravely undermine the security of America, its allies, and the world at large, contrary to his and the rest of the disarmament crowd’s lie that a weaker America translates into a more secure world.
1,000 deployed warheads are way too few to deter Russia (which has at least 1,500 deployed strategic and around 1,300 nondeployed strategic warheads, as well as 4,000-6,000 deployed and nondeployed tactical warheads, and the mean to deliver all of these warheads) or China (which has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, warheads according to Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin (SMF, ret.) and former DOD chief nuclear strategist Professor Philip Karber). On top of that, the US has to deter North Korea and Iran and provide a nuclear umbrella to over 30 allies who depend on it for their security and their very existence.
If the US makes further cuts to its deterrent – especially ones on the scale demanded by Obama – America’s allies will have no choice but to develop their own nuclear arsenals. Already 66.5% of South Koreans want to do so, and Japan has a facility ready to produce enough fissile material for 3,600 warheads in a year if need be. Persian Gulf states will almost certainly “go nuclear”.
Thus, as the WSJ has correctly observed, Obama’s legacy will be a world with more nuclear weapons and more nuclear-armed states in it.
Other than Obama’s America, NOBODY ELSE is disarming themselves. Russia, China, North Korea, India, Pakistan, and Israel are all growing and modernizing their nuclear arsenals. France and Britain are not growing, but they’re modernizing. Iran is racing towards nuclear weapon acquisition.
A world without nuclear weapons is not “distant” or “aspirational”. It’s completely unrealistic and utterly impossible – now and for the indefinite future. Period.
Kingston Reif’s claim that Obama’s cuts would be no problem because the US would retain some warheads in reserve is a phony assurance. By his admission, most of these warheads would need weeks or even months to be reactivated. Yet, in the event of a nuclear first strike by an enemy, there would be only half an hour to arm America’s ballistic missiles and to launch them. America’s retaliatory strike would have to be conducted in less than an hour, not days, let alone weeks or months.
The conservative Heritage Foundation estimates, based on a holistic study, that the US needs between 2,700 and 3,000 deployed nuclear warheads.
And let’s be honest, neither Reif nor his extremely leftist group, the CLW, want America to be strong or secure. They don’t believe in nuclear deterrence; they utterly reject it.
The author laments the size of America’s nuclear arsenal, but it pales in comparison to Russia’s nuclear arsenal – 6,800 warheads according to the FAS, 8,800 warheads according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Of that, 2,800 are strategic warheads, the FAS says.
The only advantage the US still has is in deployed strategic warheads – some 1,700 compared to Russia’s 1,500. But under New START, the US will have to cut its deployed arsenal while Russia is allowed to grow its own.
How biased th DefenseNews article is is best illustrated by the fact that only the representative of a pro-nuclear-disarmament organization was invited to comment, while no one from the numerous organizations opposing nuclear cuts was asked to weigh in. So that article is one-sided and irredeemably biased.