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Tribute to Former SECDEF James Schlesinger

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It is with great sadness that ConservativeDailyNews must today report the death of former Secretary of Defense and Energy, Dr James R. Schlesinger, who passed away last night.

We conservatives have been losing prominent national security figures for a few years now, but we can especially ill-afford the loss of Dr Schlesinger, who had an especially great knowledge and memory of nuclear weapons, defense budgets, and other key defense issues.

Dr Schlesinger was appointed Director of Central Intelligence in early 1973 by President Nixon, but just a few months later he was appointed to an even more important position – Secretary of Defense, replacing caretaker Elliot Richardson, who moved on to become Attorney General. This was at the beginning of President Nixon’s second (and uncompleted) term.

At that time, the US military was in deep trouble. Having just withdrawn its last combat troops from Vietnam, where it lost 58,000 men, its budgets were steadily declining, Congress was eager to cut even more out of the defense budget, the prestige of military service was low, drug and alcohol problems in the military were rampant, and aging and worn out equipment needed to be replaced (sound familiar?).

Most worringly, though, the Soviet Union was in the midst of a huge military buildup, as a result of which it gained parity with and later military advantage over the US and NATO. It was fielding weapons of ever-greater quality in large quantities, and its nuclear arsenal was beginning to exceed that of the US in size and sophistication.

Meanwhile, the US was unilaterally cutting the size of its military, weapon procurement programs, and its defense budget while the Kremlin was arming to the teeth. Making matters worse, Washington was signing up to “arms control” agreements whose only practical effect (and real objective) was to limit and cut AMERICAN armaments while leaving Soviet arms programs and deployments largely unconstrained. And even then, the USSR violated these accords.

In these circumstances, Dr. Schlesinger, a man of encyclopaedic knowledge of defense issues, tried to rescue the situation. He opposed ludicrous arms control agreements such as the SALT treaties, knowing they would leave the US in an inferior position vis-a-vis the USSR. He sought to reverse the defense spending cuts implemented before he took office, pointing out that the FY1973 defense budget was already the smallest in a decade and way below the then-peak of FY1968. He sought funding for many crucial weapons programs, and some of them – like the Lightweight Fighter (AKA the F-16) and the A-10 Thunderbolt/Warthog, survived only because of his personal protection for them. He ensured that they were successfully continued to completion.

Yet, Dr. Schlesinger’s efforts were staunchly opposed, and undermined at every turn, not just by the Soviets and their Democratic sycophants who then controlled the Congress, but by his own President (Gerald Ford) and administration colleagues such as the chief architect of detente, Henry Kissinger. These men sought to disarm the US unilaterally and to appease the Kremlin at all costs. Dr. Schlesinger was a huge obstacle in this quest – so President Ford fired him. Thus, the McGovern wing of the Democratic Party took control not only of the Dem party, but also of the GOP and the US government.

In recent years, Dr. Schlesinger has, time and again, proven his expertise on defense issues. When, in 2008, Secretary Gates found the US nuclear deterrent had atrophied and was not being taken care of properly by the Air Force, it was Dr. Schlesinger to whom Gates turned to investigate the matter and provide expert advice on solving the problem.

Most importantly, Dr. Schlesinger has, for the last several years, been warning about the continued atrophy of the US nuclear arsenal through its careless neglect and the unilateral disarmament policies of the “We’re Not Modernizing” Obama administration.

Concurrently, Dr. Schlesinger was constantly warning against the Obama administration’s utterly ridiculous fantasy of “a world without nuclear weapons”, which the administration, with the aid of its Democrat allies and isolationist “tea party” Republicans in Congress, is attempting to enact by disarming America unilaterally. The Obama administration claims that if the US disarms itself unilaterally, others will follow “America’s moral example.”

Dr. Schlesinger was warning policymakers and the public that such an objective was neither realistic nor even desirable, because scrapping the US nuclear arsenal would deprive the US of the one advantage it has over adversaries who have huge, well-armed conventional forces (Russia, China).

Dr. Schlesinger, of course, knew – as others, including this writers, did – from the start that a world without nuclear weapons was utterly impossible in any event, because no one except the US (and perhaps Britain, if the Labour party returns to power) is willing to forego their nuclear weapons.

Not Russia, which considers them “sacred.” Not China, which has conducted a huge nuclear buildup up to a level of perhaps up to 3,000 warheads. Not North Korea, which just this week tested dozens of ballistic missiles. Not France, whose latest Defense White Paper prioritizes its force de frappe and ensures its service life is prolonged until kingdom come. Not India and Pakistan, which are at each other’s throats. Not Israel, which is surrounded by enemies who seek its destruction. Not Saudi Arabia, which, according to the BBC, has recently “ordered” nuclear weapons in Pakistan and DF-21C ballistic missiles in Pakistan’s ally, China.

The fact that there will NEVER be a world without nuclear weapons is becoming even more evident in the face of Russia’s invasion and annexation of the Crimea in Ukraine. By doing so, Russia has blatantly violated the 1994 Budapest Agreement, in which it swore to respect Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity in return for Ukraine handing over its nuclear weapons to Moscow. And Crimea was, at the time (and still is), recognized by the entire world (minus today’s Russia, of course), as part of Ukraine.

In 1994, by signing the Budapest Agreement, Ukraine essentially surrendered its nuclear arsenal (the third largest in the world at the time) in exchange for nothing but paper promises to respect its territorial integrity. Promises which, like all arms control treaties in world history, were not even worth the paper they were printed on.

As a result, NOBODY ELSE in the world, except Democrat-run America and a Labour-run Britain, will ever again be foolish enough to give up their nuclear weapons. On the contrary, we will see more and more nuclear weapon states – and more nuclear weapons overall around the world, just not in the US.

Already 66% of South Koreans want their country to be a nuclear power. Japan, even after this week’s summit, still has enough fissile material for over 6,000 warheads, and a newly-opened facility for processing fissile material that could produce a further 3,600 warheads per year if necessary.

Look for South Korea and perhaps even Japan to acquire their own nuclear deterrent. Look for Saudi Arabia and Iran to strike each other preemptively.

(We may even see Southeast Asian countries threaten each other with nukes over uninhabited islets in the South China sea, and Morocco threaten to unleash VX gas onto Mauritania to resolve a dispute over when the Ramadan should start! :) )

As Dr. Schlesinger wisely recognized and warned us numerous times, the Obama administration’s “world without nuclear weapons” policy of unilateral disarmament will only result in an AMERICA without nuclear weapons and a world with far more nukes, and far more nuclear-armed states, in it than when he took office.

The US should heed Dr. Schlesinger’s wise advice and:

  1. Stop any further reductions – whether uni-, bi-, or multilateral – in its nuclear arsenal and start GROWING that arsenal.
  2. Fully modernize the entire nuclear arsenal, including the warheads, the delivery systems, and their support facilities and laboratories.
  3. Recruit more nuclear scientists.
  4. Withdraw from all “arms control” agreements, which  serve no purpose but to disarm the US unilaterally. This should include (and begin with) the New START and the CFE Treaty.
  5. Cut Russia off the Western economic system, and replace Moscow as Europe’s chief energy supplier, to punish Russia for its arms reduction agreement violations in the way that would hurt Moscow the most.
  6. Resume SM-3 Block 2B anti-ballistic missile development and deploy it ASAP.
  7. Build an East Coast missile defense site.
  8. Hasten the development and deployment of laser-based missile defense systems that can intercept any type of ballistic and cruise missiles.
  9. Change the goal, policy, and substance of the US missile defense program of record from one aimed only at defending from rogue states to one aimed at intercepting all Russian and Chinese ballistic and cruise missiles if necessary.
  10. Resume the Airborne Laser, Kinetic Energy Interceptor, and Multiple Kill Vehicle programs.
  11. Station nuclear weapons in the Korean Peninsula to reassure Seoul and deter Pyongyang.
  12. Publicly warn Iran that any attack by Tehran on Israel will result in a nuclear retaliation not just from Israel itself, but also from the US.
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  1. Jan Brown says:

    Thanks for the reminders. How wonderful it would be to find another ‘just like’ him ! His knowledge & common sense might well have been our saving grace them & is most certainly something we could use today!!