Tag Archives: China

Refuting the Left’s lies about nuclear weapons and the NDAA

71153.204510672745_09f77c4c23

In crafting the National Defense Authorization Act for the next fiscal year, House Republicans have done some excellent work to safeguard America’s nuclear deterrent from unilateral cuts and from disarmament by neglect, as well as to prevent unilateral US compliance with idiotic “arms control agreements” that others don’t comply with.

At least on this issue, Republicans have displayed some fortitude – not to mention, have done decent work from a purely national-security-oriented, nonpartisan perspective.

Predictably, the Left, especially extremely leftist organizations advocating America’s unilateral disarmament, and their liberal Democrat allies in Congress, have attacked even the most modest provisions secured by House Republicans. Leading the vociferous lie campaign has been the so-called Nuclear Threat Initiative. In a recent screed, the liberal pro-disarmament groups claims that:

“House Armed Service Committee Republicans on Wednesday added additional provisions to their version of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill that could limit compliance with a key nuclear arms control treaty and restrict efforts to lock down vulnerable atomic materials.

Republicans also passed other controversial provisions they had introduced Monday, including measures aimed at increasing nuclear arsenal spending  and at streamlining federal oversight of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. Committee Democrats offered several amendments designed to counter most of these points, but nearly all failed in largely party-line votes. (…)”

Oh! The dastardly HASC Republicans have introduced measures that could “limit compliance with a key arms control treaty and restrict efforts to lock down vulnerable atomic materials”! Is there any truth to this? Actually, no, there isn’t.

The treaty in question is the treasonous New START treaty, which is making America less secure and which requires only the US – not Russia and not anyone else – to cut its nuclear arsenal, while Russia is free to grow its own (and is doing so); furthermore, the treaty contains many loopholes that are so huge you could drive a truck through them, and has a pathetically weak verification regime.

NTI continues to claim that:

“Representative Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) added language that would hold back $75 million for arms reductions required under the New START treaty with Russia until the administration submits a detailed report on how it would use the funds. “The administration is calling for $75 million and we’re not going to give it to them unless they tell us what they’re going to do with it,” Rogers said.”

Oh! What a foolishness it is for Congress – which controls the nation’s purse – to withhold funding until President Obama actually figures out what to spend it on! It would be much better to give him a blank check or a slush fund!

Moreover, the money would be withheld until Obama submits a detailed plan on how he intends to implement the unilateral cuts required by New START.

“A separate measure from Rogers would limit the president’s ability to enter into any agreements with Russia to further reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Democrats, including Representative Jim Cooper (Tenn.), unsuccessfully opposed this and other Republican amendments.”

This is completely false. This amendment by Congressman Rogers would only bar the President from UNILATERALLY cutting the US, or through agreements that are not treaties. It stipulates that the President may not cut the US nuclear arsenal absent a treaty verified by the Senate or a decision by Congress itself. It would require the President to certify that any further cuts will be made only by treaty, not an “executive agreement.” It further requires that any such treaty must require proportional cuts in Russia’s arsenal as well.

It is common sense to bar the President from cutting America’s nuclear deterrent unilaterally, or through unverifiable non-treaty “agreements” that are worthless, unverifiable pieces of paper, and which the Senate has no control over. In fact, Congress should completely bar the President from reducing the nuclear deterrent further under any circumstance.

Yet, the Rogers Amendment wouldn’t do so; it would only bar the President from cutting the nuclear deterrent unilaterally or through unverifiable non-treaty paper “agreements”. The Rogers Amendment would not bar the President from negotiating, and submitting to the Senate, another treaty with Russia.

“Cooper said that while he would not support eliminating nuclear weapons entirely, the U.S. deterrent would likely still be effective if the quantities of weapons were reduced to a figure “slightly below” New START levels. The treaty requires Moscow and Washington by 2018 to deploy no more than 1,550 long-range nuclear warheads and 700 strategic delivery systems.

President Obama is reported to have received a Pentagon finding indicating the United States could remain secure with 1,100 or fewer deployed strategic warheads. No formal action has been taken on the determination.

Even with fewer than 800 nuclear weapons, the United States “could still hit multiple targets multiple times and make the rubble bounce if we wanted to,” Cooper said.”

These are blatant lies. 1,100, and even more so a mere 800, is not “slightly below” New START levels (1,550 deployed warheads). It is significantly below that level; at a mere half of New START’s ceiling, in the 800 warhead case.

And such a small nuclear arsenal – at 800 or even 1,100 warheads – would be way too small and thus woefully inadequate to protect America (let alone its 30 allies who depend on the nuclear deterrent).

Why? Because to deter and be able to retaliate, you need a highly survivable arsenal that can also strike many enemy targets in retaliation if the enemy strikes first. And for that, a LARGE nuclear arsenal is necessary. A small arsenal (e.g. 800 warheads, let alone fewer) would not suffice; it would be childishly easy for Russia or China to destroy in a first strike, because there would be much fewer targets for them to destroy.

Russia currently has 1,550 deployed strategic warheads and 2,800 in total, and goodness knows how many tactical nuclear warheads (up to 4,000 or more, according to various estimates, including the SIPRI’s). It also has the means to deliver these thousands of warheads: 434 multiple-warhead ICBMs, over 220 sub-launched ballistic missiles, 251 strategic intercontinental bombers, dozens of nuclear cruise missile carrying subs, SRBMs, tactical strike jets, artillery pieces, and so forth. And it is growing, not cutting, it’s nuclear arsenal.

Furthermore, 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, the Left wants America to disarm unilaterally in the face of such an aggressive Russia wielding thousands of nuclear weapons!

China has at least 1,600-1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads – we don’t know how many exactly, because China refuses to reveal. But its 3,000 miles of underground tunnels and bunkers could’ve been built only for a large nuclear arsenal. You don’t need 3,000 miles of tunnels to hide 300-400 warheads.

With 800 or fewer, or even 1,100, warheads, the US nuclear deterrent will be too small and unsurvivable, easy to destroy in a first strike. (Never give your opponents too few problems to solve, because if you do, he’ll solve them, as Robert Kaplan says.) And such a small arsenal would be woefully inadequate to overcome Russian and Chinese missile defenses (yes, they do have them) and conduct a credible retaliatory strike.

Thus, with such a pathetically small arsenal, the US wouldn’t be able to threaten a credible retaliation against a sufficient number of targets – and would thus lose its ability to maintain nuclear deterrence. It’s no coincidence that – as even the NTI has admitted – the Air Force general in charge of ICBMs and nuclear bombers is warning AGAINST a rush to further nuclear cuts. (And the forementioned DOD “study” was done completely without his input; he was not even invited to participate, as even the NTI admits.)

Rep. Cooper, other House Democrats, and the Obama administration are simply trying to lull the American people into a false sense of security in the drive to disarm the US unilaterally.

Disarming the US is not only dangerous to national security, it’s also immoral. The US has a moral right to protect itself and its allies with a nuclear deterrent. Seeking to dismantle that deterrent – especially unilaterally – is immoral.

As for the DOD’s supposed “findings”, those are not its findings. It is Obama who has imposed on the DOD an order to prepare pathways for him to cut the US nuclear deterrent to 1,100-1,000, 800, or just 300 warheads. Presented with such a diktat and these three unilateral cuts options, the DOD has chosen the relatively least bad – 1,100 warheads.

“One new provision offered by Representative Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) would prevent the Defense Department’s Cooperative Threat Reduction program from spending money on work related to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty unless President Obama certifies that Russia and China are complying with the agreement.

Lamborn suggested the United States had already spent enough money supporting a treaty that it had not ratified and said his provision would keep Russian and Chinese officials’ “feet to the fire.””

Oh, holding the Russians’ and the Chinese’ feet to the fire! What a terrible idea!

But China still refuses to ratify the treaty – as do North Korea, India, and Pakistan, all nuclear powers. And the treaty is totally unverifiable, so spending any funds supporting it is a waste of money.

NTI then claims that:

“Lamborn also added a measure to require Energy Department officials to certify that they will complete the projected $10 billion modernization of the B-61 nuclear gravity bomb arsenal by 2019. Failure to provide that assurance could now lead to restrictions on funding for the DOE Global Threat Reduction Initiative.

The measure was added over the objections of Representative John Garamendi (D-Calif.), who argued it would increase spending on a controversial effort to modernize warheads that would likely never be used at the expense of the GTRI program, which he said aims to combat “real threats” to national security. The Global Threat Reduction Initiative works to secure vulnerable nuclear materials around the world that could be used by terrorists.”

Of course, for the Left, any measure to safeguard or increase America’s defenses is “controversial”; and as for the B61 bombs, we should hope that these, or any other, nuclear weapons will never be used! But hope is not a good basis for anything, let alone defense policy.

And those B61 bombs DO (and if modernized, will continue to) perform a crucial deterrence mission – reassurring America’s 28 treaty allies in Europe and deterring Russia, with a tangible, deployed in-theater deterrent: American nuclear bombs and delivery aircraft. These B61 bombs also reassure other allies around the world, because they can be redeployed to other allied countries if need be. 70% of South Koreans actually want American B61 bombs on their soil to deter North Korea. Moreover, CSBA expert Barry Watts believes the US also needs to refurbish B61 tactical nukes – or develop new ones – in order to be able to use them in limited contingency scenarios.

And it is Russia and North Korea that are the real threat to US national security, not the purely theoretical, unlikely-to-ever-materialize “threat” of terrorists wielding nuclear weapons.

Moreover, liberals are giving America a false choice between a nuclear deterrent and other nonproliferation efforts (the GTRI). The B61 mod program and the GTRI are not mutually exclusive or competing, and should not be viewed as such. Liberals are giving America a false choice.

Congressman Lamborn’s amendment would not cut, let alone eliminate, funding for the GTRI, merely make it contingent on Obama also investing adequately to modernize the B61 bomb. Obama will still receive full GTRI funding – if he also upholds his promise to modernize the B61 bomb.

Furthermore, it must be underlined that by far the most effective US nonproliferation program is, and has been, America’s nuclear deterrent.

NTI further claims that:

“Among the failed Democratic amendments was an attempt by Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) to negate Republican efforts to increase nuclear weapons funding by approximately $200 million above what the Obama administration had requested.

The White House for the budget year that begins on Oct. 1 is seeking $7.87 billion for work by the Energy Department’s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration to maintain a safe, secure and reliable atomic arsenal. That is up by $654 million from two years ago.

Rogers argued the administration’s request is not adequate to meet the terms of a deal made during negotiations over New START ratification, in which the president agreed to spend $85 billion over 10 years on nuclear arms complex modernization.”

Oh, holding Obama to his formal, written pledge made during the New START ratification process! What a terrible idea it is to hold someone accountable for their promises! Especially President Obama, who broke his promises shortly after he made them!

And yes, the additional $200 mn sum is necessary to refurbish America’s obsolete, dilapidated nuclear facilities, which date back to the Manhattan Project days. Moreover, $200 mn is a microscopic amount in the overall scheme of things – just a fraction of one percent of the defense budget, let alone the federal budget.

“Representative Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) tried but failed to scrap a Republican provision that could require the Pentagon’s Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board to conduct cost-benefit analyses of recommendations it makes to improve the safety and security of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. Larsen said the provision “would break the DNFSB budget” and limit its ability to ensure safety and security.”

Oh, what a terrible idea it is to require someone to make cost-benefit analyses of the recommendations they make!

No, Mr Larsen, this provision would not break the DNFSB’s budget, and it would INCREASE its ability to ensure safety and security – by requiring it to study whether its recommendations would deliver the promised benefits compared to the implementation costs.

“Larsen also attempted to strike a Republican provision that would give the Energy secretary special authority to fire any DOE employee who “endangers the security of special nuclear material or classified information.” The amendment stemmed from thedissatisfaction of Republican committee members over how the department handled an incident last year in which an 82-year old nun and two other peace activists were able to infiltrate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee.”

Oh, what a terrible idea to fire DOE employees who danger the security of nuclear materials or classified information! Let’s give DOE employees free rein to do so!

The pacifist “Council for a Livable World” mockingly asks, “Do you even have to HASC? House Republicans really love the bomb!” I don’t know if they love it, but they surely appreciate its great, unique value in deterring WMD and ballistic missile attacks on the US – something no other weapon system can do. Not even missile defense.

Do you see, Dear Readers? The Left’s claims about nuclear weapons – and the related provisions that House Republicans have rightly written into the House version of the defense authorization bill – are blatant lies. Cutting America’s nuclear deterrent and unilaterally complying with treaties that others don’t comply with will make America much less secure, not more.

http://missilethreat.com/limits-to-arms-control-threat-reduction-efforts-added-to-house-defense-bill/; http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/us-nuclear-commander-warns-against-rushing-further-arms-cuts/

For more excellent analysis of the House version of the NDAA, and excellent rebuttals of leftist lies about that bill and about nuclear weapons, please see here.

Edward Snowden Heads To Russia

edward_snowden

Update: BBC says Snowden is IN Russia.

The South China Morning Post is now reporting Edward Snowden is on his way to Moscow. No idea if this is true, but the SCMP is one of the few papers to actually talk to Snowden while he’s been holed up in Hong Kong. The Obama Administration was trying to get Snowden extradited to the US to face espionage charges, but now that could be all tossed away. Snowden isn’t expected to stay in Russia by the way, he’s supposed to be off to Iceland or Ecuador.

Of course, if Snowden is on his way to Moscow, let’s see how the US-Russia relations are doing. Ever since “flexibility,” of course.

How to counter Chinese hacking and theft of US weapon designs

changwanquan

 

Gen. Chang Wanquan, the current Chinese Minister of National Defense. Photo by the Central Military Commission of the PRC.

On Tuesday, May 28th, the Washington Post and the Washington Free Beacon reported, and the DOD confirmed, that designs and performance parameters (and other classified information) for dozens of US weapon systems had been stolen in recent weeks by Chinese hackers, as warned by a Defense Science Board report.

Among the weapons whose designs have been stolen by Chinese hackers are top-drawer systems such as the V-22 Osprey, the THAAD and Aegis missile defense systems, and the F-35 strike jet, as well as some older and obsolete systems like the PATRIOT air and missile defense complex and the F/A-18 naval strike jet.

In any case, this is arguably the biggest breach of classified information – and certainly the biggest theft of US weapon designs – in US (if not world) history, overshadowing the theft of US nuclear weapon designs by Soviet spies in the 1940s and Chinese spies during the Clinton years.

(And yet, lawmakers and the Obama administration want to downgrade and soften the US export control system, to make it even easier to export weapons to China and other hostile countries. Thus, the US is essentially giving China the gun with which to kill American troops.)

The meteoric rise of China’s military might has been partially aided by espionage, including cyberespionage. Sun Tzu, who devoted an entire chapter of his Art of War to spies and believed that knowledge of the enemy can be provided only by citizens and officials of the enemy country, would’ve been amazed by the espionage possibilities that hacking has opened – and Chinese hackers’ success in doing so.

How can the US counter this Chinese cyber onslaught? Here’s how.

Firstly, the US needs to publicly recognize China as an adversary. Top US officials, including the President, need to state this publicly and unambigously, and rally the nation to take action against China. It is time to do away with the suicidal, leftist policy of appeasing China practiced by all administrations of both parties since 1989.

It is time to push aside the leftist propagandists and pseudoanalysts like Henry Kissinger, James Cartwright, Joseph Nye, Dennis Blair, Joseph Prueher, and Eric McVaddon, whose idiotic policy of appeasing China, adopted by all administrations since 1989, led to this disastrous cyberattack – the cyber version of Pearl Harbor – and to China’s dangerous military rise in the first place. China is an adversary of the US and should be treated as such.

Over 23 years of appeasing China and trying to “make it a responsible stakeholder in the international system” and trying to bring it into that system have utterly failed. China has no interest in being a “responsible stakeholder in the international system” – it has a vested interest in expanding its territory (especially at sea), subjugating its neighbors, growing its military and economic power, and pushing the US outside Asia in order to become the uncontested hegemon of that continent.

THAT is why China has amassed all of the anti-access/area-denial military capabilities that Washington is now worried about. Cyberwarfare is one of them.

China is a dangerous adversary. It has the historical grudges of a Weimar Republic, the militant nationalism of an Arab state, and the expansionist agenda of the Soviet Union – all at the same time.

It is also time to cast aside any notions of Sino-American “cooperation” on cyberspace when China is America’s adversary and the perpetrator of most cyberattacks against the US. Naive fools who advocate such attacks, such as Gen. Martin Dempsey, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, must be removed from office. It is time to publicly recognize China as an adversary and the perpetrator of these cyberattacks, and to name and shame it.

It is also time to recognize that China’s attacks on the US are but a part of a much greater struggle between China and the US, and it will not end until either side succumbs to the other. It will be a struggle similar to the Cold War. The US needs to develop a long-term grand strategy to win it.

Next, the US needs to leverage all means at its disposal to force China to stop these attacks. The US should start by developing better cyberdefenses. This means extending obligatory protection to all critical industries (or, at minimum, all those that have or want to receive federal contracts), acquiring better protective software (including better firewalls), making passwords on government computers tougher, frequently changing these passwords, signing cyberdefense pacts with allies, and most importantly, finally passing a cybersecurity bill like the CISPA passed by the House this year and last year. There is no excuse for Congress not passing a cybersecurity bill. Such bill must allow for seamless, unlimited sharing of information between the government and private companies.

Also, the US government should hire top IT specialists and consultants, such as Kevin Mitnick, Morpheus, Neo, et al., and even this man.

But mere cyberdefenses will not solve the problem. Defensive war is very difficult, although not entirely impossible, to win (how many wars have been won by staying solely on the defensive and never going on the offense?). That is because in a defensive war, the enemy – the attacker – has the initiative, and war is very difficult (although again, not entirely impossible) to win when the enemy has the initiative. Cyberwars are no different.

Thus, the US should frequently conduct massive cyberattacks of its own against China, especially the PLA, especially its hacking units.

The US should also utilize other, non-cyber, means of pressure. The scheduled, utterly suicidal sequestration defense cuts, and any cuts in the US nuclear deterrent or missile defense systems, must be completely cancelled and prohibited by law. The US military should shift, as quickly as possible, from a short-range force heavily dependent on in-theater bases, satellites, and cybernetworks, to a force wielding primarily long-range weapons and much less reliant on those assets.

Also, Chinese politicians and government officials should be completely barred from entering the US until China completely stops its cyberattacks. The invitation to Gen. Chang Wanquan, the Chinese Minister of National Defense, to visit the US should be revoked.

Moreover, the US should construct an alliance of nations surrounding China in order to counter Beijing. Participants should include, but not be limited to, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, India, and China’s western neighbors (former Soviet republics). These allies should be allowed to buy any weapons they want and receive US defense commitments if they haven’t received them yet. Existing commitments should be reaffirmed.

The US should, if possible, also try to sever Russia’s informal alliance/partnership with China.

Furthermore, the US should impose a complete embargo on Chinese products. China needs the US more than America needs China. Beijing does have a huge annual trade surplus with the US, but it also has a large annual trade deficit with the rest of the outside world.

In other words, Beijing is running huge trade surpluses with America to be able to afford large trade deficits with the rest of the world (outside the US). The US is effectively subisidizing China’s ability to do that. This is because, outside the US and China itself, few people want to buy Chinese products; and most other countries of the world don’t give a hoot about Friedman and Hayek and try – with various degrees of zealousness – to protect their industries.

If the US were to stop buying Chinese products and start buying American ones, China’s economy would suffer dreadfully, as China would now be running huge trade deficits every year. Outside the US, few people in the foreign world want to buy Chinese products.

The latest Gallup polling shows that 64% of Americans are quite willing to pay more for American products – if it means buying American instead of Chinese ones. In other words, 64% of Americans would wholeheartedly support Buy American trade policies.

Thus, America has HUGE economic leverage over China – it just needs to use it. So far, it hasn’t.

And last but not least, the US should continually shame China around the world for its abysmal human rights record and support all opposition groups in China, including the Tibetans, the Uighurs, and the residents of Inner Mongolia seeking to unite with independent Mongolia to the north.

The US has many forms of leverage it can use over China. It just needs to use them. But first and foremost, it needs to publicly recognize China as an adversary. It will never win any kind of competition – let alone Cold War style rivalry – over an adversary it is too afraid to even name.

Large American Pork Producer Sold to Chinese

Virginia-based pork producer Smithfield Foods (SFD.N) entered an agreement with China’s Shuanghui International for a $4.7 billion, all-cash buyout.

Smithfield has been under pressure from it’s largest shareholder, Continental Grains, to break into multiple companies and increase its dividend. The meat producer opted to sell out to foreign interests.

The deal will likely lead to an increased flow of American-grown pork to the Asian nation. A change that could impact pork and pork product prices at home.

Smithfield, the largest producer of pork in the world, operates processing facilities in North Carolina and several countries throughout the world.

The deal will require Federal Trade Commission approval.

Defense Issues Weekly – May 28th

NOTE: From this edition forward, Defense Issues Weekly will appear on weekdays. This week, it will appear on Tuesday, and afterwards, it will appear on Mondays.

US on course to gut its military…

With sequestration in effect and no prospect of it being cancelled, the DOD will have to cut an additional $550 bn from its budget over the next decade on top of all the defense cuts already implemented or mandated. Accordingly, the DOD is now devising three budgetary plans for three different contingencies.

The first assumes that only $100 bn per decade in cuts is implemented, i.e. that Congress accepts Barack Obama’s budget proposal. The second assumes $300 bn, and the third $500 bn in cuts over the next decade.

Under the first scenario, the Army would take the biggest hits, mostly in force structure. Under the second and third, all services would have to make deep cuts in their size, modernization programs, and mission readiness alike. DOD officials have privately conceded to DefenseNews.com that should the full $500 bn cuts of the sequester hit the Department, the military would be severely weakened and would not be able to defeat a major adversary, let alone a peer competitor (such as China or Russia).

$500 bn in additional budgetary cuts would also mean the military won’t get the promised and badly needed equipment and munitions to prevail in theaters where access is denied by the enemy with anti-access/area-denial weapons and where the free use of the airspace, the sea, cyberspace, and outer space is in danger. This means no new bombers, cruise missiles, carrier-capable drones, or other crucial weapons needed to prevail in such environments – which are becoming more common every day.

DefenseNews.com reports that:

“If the second option — the $300 billion cut — were put in place, the cuts would be levied against all the services.

The third option assumes full sequestration, or $500 billion over the decade. Sources with insight into the SCMR say this option would wreak the most havoc on the military and force the cancellation or scaling back of several major acquisition efforts.

These sources also said the magnitude of the cut could prevent the military from being able to fight a major war against a near peer competitor.”

Also, by the end of May, four Washington think-tanks – the CSBA, the CNAS, the AEI, and the CSIS – intend to present their own plans on how to cut defense spending by the amount required by sequestration. These presentations will attempt to lull the public into thinking that such deep defense cuts can be done safely, without jeopardizing national security or any key mission of the military.

While 62% of all Americans oppose further defense cuts and believe the defense budget is either “about right” or inadequate, and even though the vast majority of both Republicans and Democrats oppose sequestration, there is little prospect of the issue being resolved. The two sides vehemently disagree on how to solve the problem, with Republicans opposing any new tax hikes and Democrats advocating a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts. Both sides have firmly entrenched in their positions and neither side is willing to blink first.

Also, both parties are being held hostage by extremists on both sides of the spectrum who oppose any compromise and believe sequestration is sacred and should stay on the books.

Already prior to sequestration, the military had to make significant cuts, from cancelling programs to retiring hundreds of aircraft, multiple surface combatants and amphibious ships, and 80,000 troops. These cuts would have to be several orders of magnitude deeper if sequestration were to stay on the books.

At present, the US Navy has only 284 commissioned ships – the fewest since 1915 and able to supply only 59% of combatant commanders’ requirements – while the Air Force is flying the oldest and smallest fleet of aircraft in its entire history, with average aircraft age at over 24 years. Moreover, most USAF bombers, tankers, airlifters, and fighters are much older.

The Marines are poised to decline to 182,000 troops, the fewest since the 1950s, even without sequestration, but with sequestration, the USMC would shrink to only 150,000 troops, the fewest since the late 1940s. The US nuclear arsenal, at just 5,000 warheads, is over 75% smaller than 20 years ago.

…and so is France

defile_AR0002

The French government is also in the process of deeply cutting the country’s military, further weakening it after deep cuts implemented by President Sarkozy (2007-2012) (photographed above).

After the newest cuts – outlined in the White Paper on Defense released on April 29th – are fully implemented, the French Army will have only 7 brigades and only 200 tanks. Its fleet of lighter combat vehicles, helicopters, and other platforms also faces significant cuts.

The French Navy will not get the second aircraft carrier that President Sarkozy promised in 2007 nor a fourth amphibious assault ship of the Mistral class. After the 2 ageing air-defense frigates (destroyers) of the Cassard class are retired without replacement, the Navy will have only 2 destroyers for air defense. The frigate fleet will also shrink, from 18 to 15, while second-rate frigates will be reclassified as first-rate ones. It will shrink further as ageing vessels leave service, because only 8 new frigates (FREMM class) will be built – not the 11 planned just a few years ago, or the 17 originally planned.

The planned air-defense frigate type (FREDA) will not be built.

Yet, the deepest cuts will fall on the already-overstretched French Air Force, the world’s oldest. It currently has only 226 combat aircraft (Rafale, Mirage 2000, Mirage F1), but will have to cut that to a paltry 180 per the newest defense cuts. The entire French military will have only 225 combat aircraft (mostly Rafales and Mirage 2000s; the remaining Mirage F1s will be retired). This is another steep cut in combat power for an Air Force already deeply cut since 2000 (when it had 382 combat aircraft) and 2006 (when it had 330). The previous President, Nicolas Sarkozy, allowed the French Air Force and Navy combined to have only 300 combat aircraft.

The Air Force’s tanker fleet will also shrink, from 14 to 12. Thus, the FAF will see the fleets of its two most important aircraft types – multirole fighters and tankers – shrink at the very time when these aircraft types are playing the lead roles in France’s wars, from Afghanistan to Libya to Mali, where France doesn’t have any local airbases and has had to fly combat missions (performed by the very multirole fighters the government wants to cut, of course) from metropolitan France through Algerian airspace with aerial refueling on the way.

Likewise, the order for A400M airlifters has been cut from 70 to 50.

France’s Malian operation has revealed a shortage of tankers and airlifters, which France has had to ask the US and Britain for, but the French government remains stubborn in cutting the Air Force.

For overseas operations, France will be able to contribute only 15,000 troops in total, backed up by one amphibious assault ship and a dozen fighters. This means that, as retired French generals have admitted, France will be able to conduct only small-scale operations overseas, and in coalition expeditionary operations, it won’t be able to offer more than a symbolic contribution.

Russia exports A2/AD arms worldwide

Russia has stepped up its exports of anti-access/area-denial weapons – such as air defense systems and anti-ship missiles – worldwide, particularly to nations unfriendly to the US, as the US ponders how to counter such weapons while its own defense budget is shrinking rapidly.

Russia has recently decided – despite US and Israeli protests – to sell advanced S-300 air defense systems and Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles and launchers to Syria, whose government is battling a Sunni Islamic insurgency and fears a Western or Israeli intervention.

The sale follows Moscow’s earlier decision, though not yet inked in a firm contract, to supply 24 Su-35 multirole fighters (with a combat radius of 1,000 nm and thrust-vectoring-capable engines), supersonic TVC engines for China’s domestically-produced fighters, S-400 (SA-21) air defense systems (with a range of 400 kms), and the Tu-22M bomber production line (China plans to build 36 of these aircraft) to Beijing, which has already built a massive, impressive network of A2/AD weapons, mostly supplied by Russia and threatening America’s ability to project power in the Western Pacific.

Russia has also sold S-300 air defense (SAM) systems, Kilo class submarines, and Su-30MKV multirole fighters to Venezuela and has been sued by Iran in international courts to deliver the S-300 systems it had promised to Tehran.

The S-300 and S-400 systems are more capable than the PATRIOT and render the airspace protected by them firmly closed to nonstealthy aircraft and missiles, as do upgraded legacy Soviet air defense systems such as the SA-6 and SA-11/17.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130519/DEFREG02/305190007/DoD-Examines-3-Budget-Cut-Scenarios

Defense Issues Weekly – week of May 12th, 2013

Chinasub

A satellite photo, with markings, of China’s underground submarine base at Jianggezhuang near Qingdao in northeastern China. The base is super-hardened against air and missile attacks. While this 2000s photo depicts only a Han and a Xia class submarine present outside the base, more submarines were based inside. This is the base from which Chinese SSBNs going on deterrence patrols against the US probably operate. Photo source: DigitalGlobe/”China’s Nuclear Forces,” Imaging Notes, Winter 2006, p. 25.

DOD releases report on China’s military power

On Tuesday, May 7th, the DOD released its annual report on China’s military power and defense policies. The report is much longer and more detailed than last year’s, which was dramatically shortened to just 10 unclassified pages, ostensibly to cut costs while costing more to prepare than 2011’s much longer report.

This year’s version, at 92 pages, gives a great amount of information – both verbal and graphic – on China’s military power, the dispersal of its troops and bases, and the ranges of its missiles. However, while analysts consider it a significant improvement over last year’s document, this year’s still significantly understates China’s military power.

For example, it claims that China’s air force still flies, for the most part, obsolete 2nd- and 3rd-generation fighters and that modern fighters are still a minority in its fleet. This is factually incorrect: the J-7 and J-8 fighters which the report refers to, at 569 aircraft, are now less numerous than the PLAAF’s modern fighters, which number 587 (J-10s, J-11s, Su-27s, Su-30MKKs, JH-7s). Moreover, modern aircraft’s share of the PLAAF’s fleet will only grow overtime: 70 additional J-11s as well as 24 Su-35s are on order and an unknown number (but possibly hundreds) of 5th generation stealthy J-20 and J-31 fighters are poised to join the fleet.

Moreover, the J-7 and J-8, despite their age, are actually superior to the costly F-35 now under development: they can fly much higher and faster and are more agile. The J-7 has a max altitude of over 57,000 feet and a top speed of Mach 2; and its light weight and low wingloading ratio make it a superior dogfighter to the F-35. The J-7 can defeat an F-35 easily by simply refusing to be a straight, level target. In Vietnam, MiG-21s (on which the J-7 is based) routinely defeated American F-4 fighters.

The report also significantly understates China’s nuclear arsenal and submarine fleet. It claims that only 3 modern Jin class SSBNs (“boomers”) are in service, even though there were that many as early as 2007/2008; China actually has 5 in service with a sixth one under construction. This is intended to replace the old Xia class SSBN, still in service, which, together with the Jins, gives China a 6-boat SSBN fleet and thus already a continous at-sea nuclear deterrent – which the report falsely claims China doesn’t yet have.

Nonetheless, the report does warn of a large ongoing expansion of China’s sub fleet – it plans to deploy a total of 8 Jins and 6 Shangs (other sources say 6-8) and is developing a new SSBN (Type 096) and attack submarine (Type 095, Tang class). Two Tangs have already been deployed, and these are much quieter than China’s previous, noisier submarine classes.

This makes mockery of Adm. Jonathan Greenert’s recent claim that “we own the undersea domain” and that “the Chinese are not there yet”, especially in light of the fact that the USN can only supply 10 attack submarines to combatant commanders when its own minimum need is 16, and the fact that the USN’s anti-sub-warfare skills and equipment have atrophied.

The report claims that the range of the JL-2 SLBM is only 7,200 kms and can reach only parts of Alaska. But the JL-2 actually has a range of 8,000 kms according to multiple Chinese and Western sources (including SinoDefence and GlobalSecurity), and the report’s map deceptively shows the JL-2’s range as if it were launched from Chinese mainland. (p. 81)

But the JL-2 is a submarine-launched missile, meaning China can launch it from anywhere on Earth. Even with a 7,200 km range, the JL-2 could reach Los Angeles if launched from 160 degrees east, well west of Hawaii. With an 8,000 km range, it can reach LA from a position just east of 150E, i.e. just east of Japan.

Similarly, the report wrongly claims that the DF-21 land attack and anti-ship ballistic missile’s range is only 2000 kms. In fact, the DF-21A, the longest-ranged land attack variant, has a range of 2,700 kms, and the DF-21D ASBM, 3,000 kms – stretching out almost to the Second Island Chain, including Taiwan. This means any surfance ship within 3,000 kms of China’s coast can be sunk.

The report admits, for the first time, that China is testing a DF-41 multiple-warhead ICBM, but does not include it on its missile range map nor acknowledge that the DF-41 may very well already be deployed (it was first photographed in 2007). It also claims the DH-10 land-attack cruise missile has only a 2,000 km range; in reality, it’s 4,000 kms, more than enough to reach Guam.

Last but not least, Richard Fisher, a Chinese affairs expert with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, has criticized the report for failing into account China’s supply of transporter-erector-launchers for North Korean KN-08 ICBMs.

General Dempsey bows to the Muslim Brotherhood

An Army Lieutenant Colonel currently lecturing at the Joint Forces Staff College has been denied promotion and faces possible dismissal following an intervention by Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Dempsey, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, ordered an investigation after Muslim Brotherhood affiliated organizations filed a complaint with the DOD urging LTCOL Matthew Dooley, a combat veteran and West Point graduate, to be punished after LTCOL Dooley was found to teach his students about the dangers of radical Islam. The National Defense University, which oversees the college, has not found any fault with Dooley’s teachings.

Dooley, a West Point graduate, has 6 combat deployments and 18 years of military service under his belt. An Army promotion board unanimously recommended him for promotion to battalion command, praising his career and accomplishments. However, in 2011, a student of Dooley’s complained about his supposedly offensive teachings to the DOD, and General Dempsey was informed. Dempsey, a political general, personally ordered that Dooley be denied promotion and that an investigation aimed at throwing him out of the military be initiated. The investigation has reached its predetermined conclusions, claiming that he was a “poor officer” and resulting in his firing.

The Washington Times has narrated the story in more detail here.

France makes defense cuts, retains ambitions

The French government announced some painful cuts to the military last week, as it looks to defense spending to cut France’s massive budget deficit.

While the cuts will not be as deep as in other countries – defense spending will be frozen in nominal terms (and cut slightly in inflation-adjusted euros) – there will be a cut of 24,000 personnel, mostly from the defense ministry’s administrative staff, but also a reduction of the number of troops deployable abroad from 30,000 to 15,000-20,000. The Navy will have only 15 “first-rang frigates” rather than 17, and the fleet of fighters for the Air Force and Navy combined will be cut sharply, from 300 to 225. France will also not resume production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Moreover, the government has delayed the delivery of new weapon systems, which, in the long term, will cost more than if they were to be delivered sooner. The decisions, outlined in the new White Paper on National Defense, will form the basis of the Law on Military Procurement for 2014-2019 and for the defense budgets for those years.

The defense cuts have been criticized from both the Right and the Left. Far-left politician Jean-Luc Melenchon has denounced them as weakening the stature of France; far-right leader Marine Le Pen has called for defense spending to be ring-fenced and kept permanent at 2% of GDP. Mainstream right-wing UMP (neo-Gaullist) party politicians have also expressed worries. So have retired generals, who estimate that with just 15-20K troops deployable abroad France will have little capacity to intervene abroad in defense of its national interests and be only a minor contributor to coalition operations alongside the US, Britain, or other allies.

Under the plans, announced recently in detail by Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the Ecole Militaire in Paris, the French military will avoid the deep cuts in programs imposed on other Western militaries. However, it is already a small military by American standards. Furthermore, it is estimated that 20,000 deployable troops won’t be enough to make a significant contribution to allied operations. The same can be said of its plan to cut the combined Air Force – Navy fighter fleet to just 225 aircraft, down from 300 today.

Moreover, there is a basic criticism of the White Paper: that it is being made to fit the budget, rather than the other way around, i.e. some critics claim that the government is putting the cart before the horse by making the strategy fit the budget. This is the same mistake that the governments of the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, and other countries have made, which has made them less secure.

Defense Issues Weekly

Russia builds up, US cuts unilaterally

The Obama administration is preparing to announce a new round of deep, unilateral  cuts in America’s nuclear arsenal, writes Bill Gertz of the Washington Times.
United_States_Department_of_Defense_Seal.svg (1)
Writing in his weekly Inside the Ring column, Gertz states it will happen “soon” and that a Pentagon “review”, written precisely to “justify” these new, deep, unilateral cuts, will be used for that purpose. The cuts, as many outlets have already announced, may bring the arsenal to as few as 1,000 (or fewer) warheads. Gertz states this “review” was completed, and the decision to cut was made, months ago, but have been withheld from the public so far to prevent Obama from losing the 2012 presidential election.

Obama, having been reelected by the American electorate in 2012, will not to have to face voters ever again.

The result will be not just a deep, unilateral cut in America’s nuclear deterrent, but also a possible cancellation of warhead modernization programs, a replacement for the B-52’s aging cruise missiles (the B-52 has such a huge radar signature it cannot safely enter enemy airspace itself), the new “boomer” (ballistic missile submarine) class, and a plutonium pit producing facility in New Mexico, all of which were promised by Obama in 2010 during the New START ratification debate and in the New START ratification resolution. Construction of the said facility is also mandated by the FY2013 NDAA.

(NOTE: In 2010, this writer warned not to believe or accept President Obama’s modernization promises on the grounds that his word cut not be trusted under any circumstances; however, this writer’s warnings were roundly ignored and 13 Republicans foolishly voted for the treaty. Some of these Republicans are now the same individuals complaining about Obama’s failure to fulfill his promises, even though Obama never intended to keep those promises.)

Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defense has announced it will continue growing its nuclear arsenal and modernizing it substantially, including the development of a new road-mobile ICBM (the Yars-M, tested successfully last year) and a rail-based ICBM (thus further adding to Russia’s arsenal of ICBMs). It also plans to develop a heavy ICBM (the “Son of Satan”) and an ICBM called the “Avangard”, as well as a “pseudo-ICBM” with a range of 6,000 kms, to counter China’s large nuclear arsenal of 3,000 warheads.

The US, on the other hand, does not have any road- or rail-mobile ICBMs and has no plans to develop any, although the USAF is studying such options.

Rail-mobile ICBMs were prohibited by the first and second START treaty, but are not forbidden by the one-sided New START treaty negotiated by the Obama State Department and signed by Obama in April 2010. Russia is now taking advantage of this huge loophole, as well as of the loophole (also found in previous START treaties) that does not count its 171 Tu-22M strategic bombers as such under these treaties. It’s also taking advantage of New START’s extremely weak verification regime, which gives it ample opportunity for cheating.

Concurrently, Russia is modernizing the other legs of its nuclear triad: its next generation bomber is scheduled to enter service in 2020 (as are the forementioned ICBMs), and the first of its new class of ballistic missile submarines, the Yuri Dolgoruki of the Borei class, joined the Russian Navy’s fleet last year.

Historically, Russia, and before it, the Soviet Union, has never complied with any arms control treaty it has signed.

Critics have charged that by cutting the US nuclear arsenal deeply and unilaterally below New START levels, Obama is inviting Russian nuclear blackmail of the US and dramatically undermining US national security, while needlessly dismantling the only weapon type that has never failed for its entire 67-year-long existence.

 Dempsey appeases China

During his visit to China last week, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, an Obama appointee, asked China for help in combating cyber attacks.

Despite the well-documented fact that many, if not most cyberattacks on the US originate from China and have been perpetrated by the PLA and other Chinese government entities, Dempsey put his faith in China’s benevolence, asking its leaders for help and proposing Sino-American “cooperation” on the matter.

Such “cooperation” would mean that Chinese government and military personnel would gain intimate access to US computer networks and thus be able to find out how to navigate – or disable – them and how to steal more information from the US government.

Yet, Gen. Dempsey called a Sino-American “working group” recently established “to combat cyber attacks” “both timely and appropriate”, and claimed that cyber attacks do as much damage to the Chinese as to the US economy.

Similarly, last year, Hillary Clinton claimed that both the US and China have been “victims of cyber attacks”, suggesting moral equivalence moral equivalence between the two countries.

Heritage Foundation analyst David Inserra commented recently:

“By turning a blind eye to China’s obvious bad cyber behavior, Dempsey and others are encouraging China to keep hacking, since there will obviously be no consequences from Washington. Even worse, by recommending more cooperation with China on this issue, the Obama Administration is actually rewarding the Chinese for their hacking by allowing them to become more familiar with our cyber systems and cybersecurity responses—and thus better prepared to spy on or disrupt them.(…)

The U.S. should change its approach to China on cybersecurity. China is not a victim on this issue; it is the perpetrator, and the U.S. should take actions that make its hacking more costly and painful—for instance, by calling out Beijing for its bad actions and ceasing to cooperate. The U.S. should also pursue legal and economic actions against Chinese companies that trade in stolen U.S. intellectual property. On top of that, the U.S. should break down Chinese censorship of the Internet and support the free flow of information within China.

Failing to change the U.S. policy toward China’s cyber crimes will only encourage more crime and attacks. It’s time to stand up to China and defend American interests.”

Ray Mabus: cutting warships, playing with boats

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus still insists on decommissioning 7 of the Navy’s newest cruisers while building 55 littoral combat ships that lack appropriate combat power, survivability, and are very vulnerable to cyber attacks.

The Navy’s released FY2014 budget proposal still insists on decommissioning the cruisers .

At the same time, Mabus insists on continuing the Littoral Combat Ship program of building 55 poorly-armed, easy-to-sink boats armed with nothing more than a gun and a few short-range missiles and costing $440 mn each, without counting the cost of their combat modules.

Mabus has hailed the LCS program as “one of our very best shipbuilding programs”, even though it is grossly overbudget and behind schedule and produces poorly-armed boats that cannot defend themselves. Think-tanks such as the CNAS and the Heritage Foundation have called for truncating LCS production.

The Navy’s own shipbuilding plans and girues also show that the service will not reach even its meagre goal – set last December – of reaching 306 ships, let alone the 313 ships the Navy said it needed as recently as December 2011. Indeed, the service’s plans show its ship fleet – especially the fleets of cruisers, destroyers, and submarines – shrinking deeply during the next 2 decades. During and after that period, the Navy’s total ship number will be significantly inflated by LCSes.

Critics, such as House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Chairman Randy Forbes (R-VA-04), have charged that the Navy is woefully underinvesting in its ship fleet and leaving it too small for the missions of today, let alone those of the future. They claim that, as the US “pivots” to the Western Pacific and continues to attempt to deter Iran in the Gulf, a large ship fleet is needed to keep the peace in both theaters, which are predominantly maritime.

Currently, the Navy is able to meet only 59% of Combatant Commanders’ requests for ships and only 61% of their requests for submarines.

theconsequencesofdefensecuts

Partial remedies have been suggested by think tanks such as the CNAS and Brookings. The former proposes establishing “red teams” to evaluate what it calls the “unconstrained” requirements of COCOMs, while Brookings proposes to station more warships abroad to make more available where they’re needed. It points out that one warship forward-deployed abroad (e.g. in Japan) is worth 4 warships based in the US.

Congressman Forbes proposes to increase the annual shipbuilding budget from $15 bn to $23 bn per year. That budget has been stagnant at $15 bn per year for several years.

Rebuttal of the 6 most popular myths about nuclear weapons

As it continues to campaign for deep cuts in America’s defenses, the Left has particularly aimed its arrows at the US nuclear deterrent, which protect America and over 30 of its allies against the most catastrophic threats: a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack; a large-scale conventional attack; and nuclear proliferation. It is the most effective nonproliferation program ever enacted.

It is falsely claimed that:

1)      Nuclear weapons are irrelevant in the 21st century security environment. They are relics of the Cold War.

2)      A “world without nuclear weapons” is both realistically attainable and desirable.

3)      The nuclear triad is too expensive and not worth the cost.

4)      The entire nuclear arsenal is too expensive and siphons money away from other defense programs.

5)      Conventional weapons, missile defense systems, and cyberweapons can replace nuclear weapons in a very wide range of missions and scenarios and against the vast majority of targets.

6)      The fewer nuclear weapons the US has, the better; cutting America’s nuclear deterrent makes America safer.

Let’s deal with these myths one after another.

Myth #1: Nuclear weapons are irrelevant in the 21st century security environment. They are relics of the Cold War.

The facts: Nuclear weapons are HIGHLY RELEVANT in the 21st century security environment. They protect America and all of its allies against the following three, potentially catastrophic, security threats: a nuclear/chemical/biological attack, a large-scale conventional attack, and nuclear proliferation.

megoizzy (CC)

megoizzy (CC)


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.

China has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, and the means to deliver 1,274 of them. Among these are almost 70 ICBMs, 120-140 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 announced it will grow) and ICBMs capable of reaching the US, and Iran, which is coming closer to achieving nuclear weapon status everyday.

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.

Myth #2: A “world without nuclear weapons” is both realistically attainable and desirable. 

The facts: A world without nuclear weapons (“Global Zero”) is neither achievable nor desirable. Not achievable, because no other country in the world is following America’s disarmament “example” (and foreign countries don’t care about America’s “examples”; they care only about their self-interest). No other country is following the US on the road to “Global Zero”. Accordingly, there will NEVER be a world without nuclear weapons.

Russia has recently declared it will not cut its nuclear arsenal nor enter into any negotiations to that end. It is actually building UP its arsenal (as allowed to do so by the New START) and modernizing it. China, which has up to 3,000 nuclear warheads, is also rapidly building up and modernizing its arsenal, and refusing to even disclose its size or enter into any talks – let alone formal treaty negotiations – about it. Likewise, India and Pakistan refuse to join the Nonproliferation Treaty, disclose the size of their arsenals, or enter into any talks – let alone arms control treaties – pertaining to these arsenals. Ditto North Korea, which has recently announced it will NEVER give up its nuclear arsenal and that, if anything, it will INCREASE its size and restart the Yongboyng reactor to harvest plutonium from spent fuel rods.

So NO nuclear power wants to join the West in its suicidal nuclear disarmament quest. None whatsoever. Not Russia, not China, not India and Pakistan, not North Korea. And, of course, Iran is racing towards nuclear power status.

Even Bruce Blair, a supporter of America’s nuclear disarmament, testified recently before the House Armed Services Committee on March 19th that even if America cut its nuclear arsenal deeply, e.g. along the lines of what his organization (Global Zero) proposes, NOBODY would reciprocate. (1:04:41)

Which is true – Russia, China, North Korea, India, Pakistan, etc., are all refusing to even cut, let alone eliminate, their nuclear arsenals. Obama has NO followers on the road to his totally unrealistic goal of “global zero”. There will never be a “global zero.”

Nuclear weaponry is a genie that cannot be put back into the bottle. It cannot be “un-invented” or banished from the face of the Earth, contrary to the unrealistic dreams of several US Presidents, including Ronald Reagan (this shows that, alas, Reagan wasn’t perfect and had some flaws).

Nor would a “nuclear-free world” be safer and more peaceful than it is now, contrary to Obama’s false claims that the US should “seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” On the contrary, it would be less peaceful and secure.

Humanity lived through “Global Zero” – in a world without nukes – for almost its entire history from its dawn to 1945. During that time, there were numerous and horribly destructive wars between the great powers of the time, each one leading to huge casualties among combatants and civilians and to great destruction. Examples included the Peloponesian war, Rome’s wars of conquest, the Hundred Years War, the Wars of Religion, the Thirty Years War, the Seven Years’ War, the Napoleonic Wars, and of course, the two World Wars. Not to mention the numerous bloody civil wars such as those in the US (1861-1865) and Russia (1918-1923).

5 million people, including 1 million Frenchmen, died in the Napoleonic Wars. Proportionally to the populations of today, that would be 50 million Europeans, including 10 million Frenchmen. French casualties in these wars were 14% higher than in WW1. In that war alone, about 10 million people died; in World War 2, over 60 million, and its perpetrators attempted the extermination of entire nations (peoples) and even races. The sheer barbarity and murder witnessed during that war is unmatched by any conflict before or after that war.

Since 1945, however – the advent of nuclear weapons – there has been NO war between the great powers. And it is mostly, if not entirely, because of nuclear weapons, which have moderated their behavior and forced them to accept coexistence with each other even if they have diametrically opposed ideologies. Nuclear weapons have taught them that even the most difficult compromise is better than a nuclear exchange.

Nuclear weapons have not ended war completely – no invention will ever do that – but they have eliminated great power wars. All wars since 1945 have been either between smaller, non-world-power countries (e.g. conflicts between Israel and its Arab neighbors), or between a world power and a weaker country (e.g. Iraq, Vietnam), or between a country and an insurgency (e.g. the US vs the Taleban).

Such conflicts have a much smaller scale, body count, and destructive power than great power wars. Since WW2, there hasn’t been a conflict even approaching the sheer barbarity and destruction of WW2, and it is mostly, if not entirely, due to nuclear weapons.

Instead of seeking their scrapping, we should all learn to love them.

Myth #3: The nuclear triad is too expensive and not worth the cost.

The facts: The nuclear triad is NOT too expensive and is well worth the cost. The ICBM leg of the nuclear triad – the cheapest, most ready, most responsive, and most dispersed leg – costs only $1.1 bn per year to maintain; the bomber leg, only $2.5 bn per year. The entire nuclear arsenal, including all the warheads, missiles, bombers, submarines, supporting facilities, and personnel costs only $32-38 bn per year to maintain, which is only 6.3% of the entire military budget ($611 bn in FY2013, pre-sequestration).

For that low cost, taxpayers get a large, diverse, survivable nuclear triad capable of surviving even a large-scale first strike and of striking anywhere in the world with any needed measure of power. A triad that gives the President huge flexibility in where, when, and how to strike; a triad that keeps the enemy guessing as to how the US would retaliate.

As Robert Kaplan says, “Don’t give your enemy too few problems to solve because if you do, he’ll solve them.”

Without the ICBM leg, the enemy would have to destroy only 2 submarine bases, 3 bomber bases, and any SSBNs that would be on patrol. WITH the ICBM leg still existing, the enemy would also have to make sure he destroys every single USAF ICBM silo; there are 450, and the USAF may have built decoy siloes.

Numbers don’t lie. Liberals do.

Without a triad, the nuclear deterrent would’ve been much less survivable than it is. This will be even MORE important as the arsenal is cut to even lower, post-New-START, levels.

A nuclear triad is the most survivable and most flexible nuclear arsenal arrangement ever invented, which is why the US, Russia, China, and Israel all have it, and why India is developing it. The Air Force is also considering the development of a rail-mobile ICBM, which could be hidden in innocently-looking, civilian-style railroad cars.

Myth #4: The entire nuclear arsenal is too expensive and siphons money away from other defense programs.

The facts: According to the Stimson Center, maintaining the US nuclear deterrent costs ca. $32–36 bn per year, including all the warheads, delivery systems, support facilities, personnel, and nuclear-related intelligence. This is a paltry 5.872% of the FY2013 military budget ($613 bn per the FY2013 NDAA). Modernizing the nuclear arsenal will, according to Stimson, cost up to $390 bn over the next decade, i.e. $39 bn per year on average. This is 6.4% of the FY2013 military budget. These are microscoping percentages.

So the US provides a large nuclear umbrella to itself and to over 30 allies at a cost of only 6% of its total military budget.

Furthermore, even if the ENTIRE nuclear arsenal were scrapped IMMEDIATELY and UNILATERALLY today, that would “save” a paltry $36 bn per year and thus fail to come even close to paying for sequestration, let alone balancing the federal budget.

No, the US nuclear arsenal is not siphoning money away from anything. As usual, it’s a scapegoat for liberals.

It is, in fact, other, more costly defense programs that are siphoning money away from nuclear deterrence and other defense priorities. For example, the development and acquisition of 2,400 short-range, understealthed, slow, sluggish F-35 strike jets will cost $400 bn. A single aircraft carrier costs $15 bn, yet is tragically vulnerable to ballistic and cruise missiles, submarines, and naval mines. Yet, the biggest cost drivers in the defense budget are personnel programs (pay, benefits, healthcare, retirement, etc.), which, unless seriously reformed, will consume the ENTIRE defense budget by no later than FY2039. That means no money for nuclear deterrence or for weapons of any kind.

And while F-35s and aircraft carriers are increasingly and prohibitively expensive, they’re also increasingly vulnerable and useless for the threat environments the US military will have to operate in. Meanwhile, the next generation bomber will be able to strike from well over the horizon – even the CONUS – and submarines have always been stealthy. USAF ICBMs sit in hardened siloes, can strike any place on the planet, and may be replaced by rail-mobile ones (see above).

Myth #5: Conventional weapons, missile defense systems, and cyberweapons can replace nuclear weapons in a very wide range of missions and scenarios and against the vast majority of targets.

The facts: Such claims are preposterous. None of these weapons have anything even close to the destructive, crippling power of atomic weapons.

Conventional weapons utterly lack such power. Even the most powerful conventional bombs – MOABs and the now-retired Daisy Cutters – have the explosive power approaching only that of the lowest-yield nuclear warheads, and MOAB is not even designed to penetrate anything.

Cyberweapons can shut down computer networks, but only temporarily, and can’t physically destroy anything. Buildings, vehicles, warships, aircraft, and humans will still exist. Cyberweapons can only complement other types of arms, but never replace them.

Nor can missile defense ever replace nuclear weapons. It has long been an article of faith among conservatives, including conservative think-tank analysts, that it can, but the truth is that it can’t. This truth will be uncomfortable for them, but my job as defense analysts is to tell people the truth, not what they want to hear.

Missile defense technology is still in its infancy. Moreover, one needs several interceptors to shoot down one missile. For example, to shoot down one Russian ICBM would take 7 ground-based interceptors of the type deployed in AK and CA. US missile defense systems (except the PATRIOT) have never been tested in massive missile barrages – the type of missile attacks the US will actually have to counter.

Furthermore, BMD systems’ ability to distinguish real warheads from decoys is yet unclear, and there are no systems available for boost-phase interception. But worst of all, BMD interceptors are far more expensive than the ballistic missiles they’re designed to intercept. A THAAD missile costs $9-10 mn; an SM-3, $10 mn; a ground-based interceptor, $70 mn. It is far cheaper to build and launch ballistic missiles than to intercept them. Furthermore, America’s enemies already have such huge inventories of BMs of all types – measured in thousands – that they are and will always be able to overwhelm American BMD systems through sheer numbers.

The best way to protect against missiles of any kind is to kill the archer, not the arrow. Only “offensive” systems – strike systems – can do that. This includes ICBMs, SLBMs, cruise missiles, bombers, and theater strike aircraft.

Myth #6: The fewer nuclear weapons the US has, the better; cutting America’s nuclear deterrent makes America safer.

The facts: These claims are also completely false. No nation in history has become more secure by disarming itself – whether uni-, bi-, or multilaterally. No nation in history has increased its security by indulging in arms reduction and disarmament – such policies have only weakened, and reduced the security of, the  nations practicing them.

Myth #6 is, in fact, an utter rejection of any principle or notion of deterrence or of peace through strength; it turns these principles upside down. Myth #6 is essentially a claim that weakness is good and leads to peace and security; that weakening one’s own military (and that’s what cutting its arsenals of weapons does – it weakens the military) makes one more secure and the world more peaceful.

Many variations of this myth have been uttered by the Left. For example, during the forementioned HASC Strategic Forces Subcommitteee hearing, its ranking member, Democrat Jim Cooper of Tennessee, an ardent enemy of nuclear weapons, claimed that the biggest cut in America’s nuclear deterrent – made by the elder President Bush in the early 1990s – was “a good thing”, that it made America and the world more secure and peaceful, and that this is supposedly shared by the “mainstream” of American opinion. Another strident leftist, John Garamendi (D-CA), claimed that “whatever we can do to cut nuclear arsenals – here, in North Korea, around the world”  is a good thing.

Their claims are blatant lies, of course. As I’ve already stated, no nation in history has become more secure by disarming itself, and America won’t be the first. President Bush’s deep unilateral cut in America’s deterrent is a textbook example of that. He cut the arsenal by almost half, withdrew US nuclear weapons from Korea and from surface warships unilaterally, terminated MX ICBM production and B-2 bomber production at just 21 aircraft, terminated the Midgetman SRBM, and terminated warhead production and testing.

Yet, no one else has reciprocated. Since then, China has dramatically increased its nuclear arsenal – to at least 1,800 and up to 3,000 warheads – while North Korea and Pakistan joined the nuclear club, India and these two countries have conducted nuclear tests, and Iran has made dramatic progress towards nuclear weapon capability. Russia has begun rebuilding and modernizing its arsenal.

So Bush’s deep nuclear cuts only weakened America’s deterrent (and confidence in it) while utterly failing to discourage others from developing or increasing their own arsenals. Two new states have joined the nuclear club, others have conducted tests, and Iran is well on its way there.

That’s because cutting America’s nuclear deterrent DOES NOTHING to prevent or even slow down nuclear proliferation or encourage others to disarm themselves. It is perceived (correctly) as a sign of American weakness and appeasement. It only emboldens America’s enemies while leading America’s allies to doubt the US umbrella. It does NOTHING, and will never do anything, to eliminate or even reduce the arsenals of other powers.

Other nuclear (and aspiring) powers don’t care about America’s “example” or observance of arms control treaties; they care only about their own military strength and see nuclear weapons as a key element of that. America has NO followers on the road to “Global Zero” – which other nuclear powers simply DON’T want to travel. Even Bruce Blair has admitted at 1:04:41 that even if the US totally disarmed itself, NO ONE would follow suit.

Thus, we have refuted all of the 6 most popular leftist lies about nuclear weapons. It is impossible (and not even necessary) to refute all myths that have been made about these crucial instruments of deterrence; and the vast majority of the lies about them fall under one of these 6 categories.

Nuclear weapons are NOT a threat to America’s or the world’s security; on the contrary, they are key to preserving it far into the future. They are irreplaceable instruments of peace and deterrence.

North Korea: Proof that “arms control” has utterly failed

166007_089nuclear_explosion

In December, North Korea tested an ICBM which delivered a North Korean satellite to the Earth’s orbit, thus demonstrating the capability to miniaturize payloads and to deliver such payloads to the orbit – and to the US.

In February, the North Koreans declared that not only will they not surrender their nuclear arsenal, they’ll actually INCREASE it, and published a video simulating a nuclear strike on the US.

Last month, they withdrew from the 1953 Panmunjon armistice that suspended the Korean War, put their missile force on its highest alert level, threatened to attack the US and its allies in Asia, cut off all hotlines with the South, and brought the KoreanPeninsula to the brink of war.

Meanwhile, Russia announced that she will not agree to any further cuts in its vast nuclear arsenal and confirmed she’ll continue the comprehensive modernization of her entire arsenal – strategic and tactical, ICBMs, bombers, and SSBNs alike.

In the first days of April, North Korea declared it’s in “a state of war” with the South and that it will never surrender its nuclear arsenal or even discuss its existence; that its arsenal is “non-negotiable”; and that it has “confirmed” plans of a nuclear attack on the US. Meanwhile, China amassed troops on its border with North Korea to show support of its fraternal Communist neighbor (China’s only formal treaty ally).

Now, North Korea often makes threats and uses bellicose rhetoric, but rhetoric of such degree of bellicosity and intensity – and openly threatening (and even simulating) a nuclear attack on the US – is something scarcely heard of. So is the acquisition of ICBMs capable of striking the US homeland and miniaturizing warheads to make them fit atop missiles. That’s something only Russia, China, and NK itself have mastered to date.

Meanwhile, Russia and China continue to increase and modernize their large nuclear arsenals – strategic and tactical.

What has brought this disastrous situation about? What does it show?

It proves the utter failure of “arms control” (read: disarmament) and appeasement policies, which have pursued since 1989 by successive administrations, Republican and Democratic.

It proves the utter failure of the “arms control” and appeasement policies advocated (to this day) by pro-arms control groups such as the Arms Control Association, the Ploughshares Fund, Global Zero, and the “Council for a Livable World”.

For decades, these liberal, extremely-leftist treasonous groups have claimed that cutting America’s nuclear deterrent would make the US and the world safer; that “less is more”; that it would somehow magically “induce” Russia to cut its own arsenal or at least stop growing it; and that it would somehow convince North Korea and Iran to stop pursuing nuclear weapons, or at least convince other countries to put pressure on Pyongyang and Tehran.

 

All of these claims were always blatant lies. Nothing more. Yet, many were duped by them, including the 71 gullible Senators who voted for New START in December 2010, in the twilight days of the 111th Congress. Some Americans may still be duped by these lies. Yet, no one should be, for they were never anything more than lies.

 

For many years, I have been warning that the claims of arms controllers – such as the above-mentioned ones – are blatant lies, have been refuting them, and have been reminding people that the ONLY thing that can guarantee America’s and allies’ security is a strong, unmatched US military, including a large, modern nuclear deterrent.

 

Turns out I was right all along, and the proponents of “arms control”, arms reduction, and disarmament, including the ACA, Ploughshares, the CLW, and Global Zero were wrong all along.

 

Since 1991 – the end of the Cold War – America’s nuclear arsenal has been cut by over 75%; numerous nuclear-capable systems have been terminated entirely; nuclear testing has been suspended indefinitely; the remaining arsenal (and its supporting infrastructure) have been allowed to decay; and US tactical nukes have been unilaterally withdrawn from US ships and the KoreanPeninsula.

 

Yet, all of that has utterly failed to convince Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran to stop pursuing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles of increasing range. It has also completely failed to convince other countries to put heavy pressure on these rogue states. Thus, it has utterly failed to stop or even slow down nuclear proliferation. Pakistan became a nuclear power in 1998; North Korea in 2006; and Iran is well on its way to the nuclear club.

 

22 years of cutting America’s nuclear deterrent deeply have also utterly failed to convince China to stop expanding its nuclear arsenal which, according to the most credible estimates by veteran nuclear strategist Professor Philip Karber and former Russian missile force commander Gen. Viktor Yesin, consists of at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, along with their delivery systems: dozens of ICBMs, 6 ballistic missile submarines, 440 nuclear-capable aircraft, over 1,600 short-range, and up to 120 medium-range ballistic missiles, plus nuclear-armed cruise missiles.

 

And now, Russia, having substantially reduced its nuclear arsenal in the 1990s and early 2000s, is now rebuilding and modernizing it rapidly. Permitted by New START to grow its deployed arsenal, it has done so, reaching 1,550 deployed strategic warheads and 700 deployed launchers (plus many others nondeployed). It is now building it up beyond New START limits, and its tactical nuclear arsenal, estimated at up to 4,000 warheads and their delivery systems, is not limited by any treaty in any way. It consists of a wide range of systems: nuclear torpedoes, nuclear naval mines, nuclear depth charges, nuclear artillery shells, freefall bombs, warheads for SRBMs, etc.

Cutting America’s nuclear stockpile unilaterally under Presidents Bush and Obama has thus utterly failed to “induce” Russia to stop growing and modernizing its own arsenal. Nor has it “induced” it to refrain from provocations like simulated bomber strikes on US missile defenses in Alaska, CA, Guam, and Japan – four months within less than a year, as chronicled by the WFB’s Bill Gertz.

Every policy must be judged by just one standard: whether it succeeds or fails in advancing US interests and national security. “By their fruit ye shall know them”, said Jesus Christ.

Judged by its results – its “fruit” – arms control and arms reduction have been an utter, dangerous failure for the West, including the US, some of the results of which we’re now witnessing in the Korean Peninsula, as an increasingly emboldened Pyongyang mounts its provocations and threats, and grows its nuclear arsenal while the US cuts its own.

Russia’s, China’s, and Pakistan’s nuclear buildups, and Iran’s race to the nuclear club’s doors while exposing Western sanctions as toothless likewise prove the utter failure of “arms control”.

Only a large, modern, multi-legged nuclear deterrent and a multilayered missile defense system can provide security and peace for the US, its allies, and the world at large. Nothing else will work. Any attempt to try anything else is doomed to fail – as arms control has – and would be an unneeded distraction from the work that needs to be done to rebuild and modernize America’s nuclear deterrent.

It is high time for the US to stop cutting and start building up and modernizing its nuclear deterrent, resume the development and testing of nuclear weapons, and build a comprehensive, multilayered missile defense system.

Moving Left Isn’t Right

Written in a time filled with the gasps and death of the Soviet Union, and its satellites’ declarations of their independence, I found Alvin Rabushka’s “The Failure of Socialism in China” capturing my attention. In it, the author mentions the method that Mao Zedong attempted to use to incite the communist Chinese economy to grow – namely central planning. The author also illustrates why the planning did little to anything at all on its own in the way of economy-building or growth.

As many economists critical of socialist governments point out, central planning heavily relies on a number of measures, so that it can claim to function better than alternative forms of economies. Among the measures are: constant inflows of information to allow tweaking of quotas, difficulties in procuring that data, lack of a labor market, little or no incentives to produce, little or no entrepreneurship, wasted resources, and political interference in the economy. These measures were to blame for the anemia and failures of so many socialist countries in the late 20th century.

While at times, the failed states may have appeared healthy, much of the time it was due to support from other socialist patron states, like the Soviet Union and China. Although the patrons may have propped up the subordinate states, the goods provided were sub-standard quality and in lesser quantity than those produced in the west. Once the patron states collapsed (like the Soviet Union), countries like Cuba found themselves in dire situations.

China was a bit of an anomaly, however. Despite the numerous five-year plans, and massive instruction directed by Mao, the Chinese economy did not really begin to grow until 1979 – after Mao’s death. What finally jump started the Chinese economy, and led to growth never seen before in the period from 1957 until then, were economic reforms, led by Deng Xiaoping.

So, what were these reforms that led to so much growth? Deng modified regulations after he witnessed what occurred in his home province with modified rules. Allowing Chinese peasants more input and freedom in carrying out measures and surpassing their quotas, produced increases in production, foreign investment, and per capita income. How was that possible? What were these “magic” modifications?

Simply, the communist party, and Deng in particular, saw that providing incentives for work led to: harder working peasants, peasants who were more engaged in their work, and peasants who cared more about meeting the quotas and exceeding them. Simply put, the Chinese system changed from the stick as a simple cudgel, to a stick with a carrot on the end of it.

Those who ignore history…

Now, the part that the American government, and Obama and his administration in particular, should pay close attention to, are the measures that Deng found worked to create an energetic and engaged citizenry. Allow the people to strive to meet their potentials. Do not be so unwise to think that a leader, who believes he sits above his people to delegate the actions of those people.

Deng lowered taxes (in some cases on livestock to nothing), set quotas for the citizens (but refused to dictate how they should be met), and retreated from the heavy hand of government, allowing goods/crops produced above the quota to be sold for the peasants’ own income. The land leased to peasants was also made inheritable, building trust in the peasants, that the central planners would not arbitrarily confiscate lands. Even the urban citizens saw benefits – real urban per capita incomes grew by 40%! Overall, the new policies of the central planners in China led to more growth between 1979 and 1985, than the country had seen between 1957 and 1979!

One small group of planners can in no way successfully guide millions of citizens to reach a satisfactory conclusion. The more the leaders attempt to guide the masses, the more the masses will resist, and the heavier the weight of the planners’ guidance will feel to them. It is unfortunate that the current American administration seems to be moving retrograde to successful outcomes. They continue to plan, and guide, and swear that they know how to fix this economy. Despite their protestations, the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding, so far, has been rotten.

New world order emerging from BRICS summit

Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS) met in Durham, South Africa this week to discuss a new world bank which will allow them to trade and fund their projects independent of the World Bank and the U.S. Dollar.

South African President Jacob Zuma saud that the group has “decided to enter formal negotiations to establish a BRICS-led new development Bank based on our own considerable infrastructure needs, which amount to around $4.5 trillion over the next five years.”

Today Brazil and China announced that they will do business using each other’s currencies instead of using the U.S. Dollar – the world’s predominate reserve currency.

As the BRICS development bank matures, the members hope it will allow some of the world’s largest emerging economies to ignore and later supplant the World Bank and IMF.

Others are skeptical. .

Chief executive of the Johannesburg-based Frontier Advisory Martyn Davies said “I think there was too much hype around it”. Davies continued saying that the BRICS”are still battling to create the economic institutions to back their geopolitical rhetoric … the rhetoric is not supported by the substance.”

Where the World Bank has been largely the puppet of the U.S. and the IMF under the hand of Europe, the BRICS development bank effort is being largely pushed by China.

Many of the nations involved are economic powerhouses in their own regions, but the group is not yet a functional alliance. Many experts believe that for the bank to emerge as a global economic power, it will need to pull in new members from other emerging nations.

The idiocy of arms control treaties with Russia

During his SOTU speech, Obama announced his intention to cut the barely-adequate US nuclear arsenal even further, below the 1,550 deployed strategic warheads allowed by the New START treaty. He said he would do so together with the Russians. This (together with Republicans’ and the public’s general disinterest in defense issues) probably softened the Republican response to and criticism of Obama’s plans. And wrongly so, because cutting America’s nuclear deterrent is ALWAYS wrong – even if it is done with Russia.

For decades, Americans have been told the lie that cutting the nuclear deterrent is fine as long as it is done bilaterally with Moscow. (Today, many proponents of America’s disarmament are openly propagating the lie that even cutting the nuclear deterrent unilaterally and deeply is fine, but most Americans and policymakers, quite sensibly, reject that claim.) Making such cuts bilaterally, with Russia, is supposed to make them OK.

But they’re NOT OK. They’re still wrong and dangerous. Here’s why.

First and foremost, Russia has decided to make itself an enemy of the United States and, under Vladimir Putin, it has engaged in very aggressive, provocative, anti-American behavior – in both word and deed. In terms of rhetoric, Russia has been constantly spewing radically anti-American rhetoric from its state-owned media outlets (TV, radio, newspapers) at home and in the United States (vide e.g. the Kremlin-owned “RussiaToday/RT” network operating in the United States, and allowed to do so by the Obama Administration despite being an anti-American propaganda-tool of a foreign regime hostile to the US, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act); hysterical propaganda campaigns against the US and American foster parents; mobilizing its thugs to demonstrate against the US and to assail American diplomats; Vladimir Putin’s unending stream of anti-American propaganda; smear campaigns against those Russians (like MP Dmitry Gudkov) who are not hostile to the US; and discriminatory laws such as the recent statute banning the adoption of Russian children by American citizens.

Russia’s hostility has been even worse when measured in deeds. Russia continues to shield the odious, WMD-wielding regimes of Iran and Syria – the ayatollahs and Assad – from UN sanctions and to supply them with weapons – which are often used against innocent civilians, especially in Syria. Moscow continues to back the odious, torture-practicing, totalitarian regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus and the Kim family regime of North Korea. It continues to occupy Georgia, which it attacked without any justification whatsoever in 2008. It continues to supply Iran with uranium which Tehran is enriching to ever-higher levels. It continues to wage a Cold-War-style arms race against the US.

But most troubling are Russia’s increasingly aggressive military actions and its repeated threats to preemptively strike the US and its allies with nuclear weapons. In the last 9 months, Russia has flown US bombers into or near US airspace and practiced nuclear strikes against the US military four times – a frequency not seen since the tensest years of the Cold War – and earlier this year held the largest nuclear triad exercises since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Four times in the last 9 months the Russian Air Force’s Tupolev intercontinental bombers came into or near US or allied airspace, practicing attacks against the US military. The first such instance in the last 9 months was in June, when the RuAF’s Tu-95 bombers, escorted by Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters and supported by AWACS and tanker aircraft, flew very close to Alaska and its missile defense installations. When asked by the press what they were doing there, Russian Air Force spokesmen said they were “practicing attacking the enemy”. (USAF fighters intercepted those aircraft.)

Then, on July 4th, to poke America, the Russians flew their bombers into US airspace over California, thus essentially committing an act of war. (Again, an interception was made.)

Then, last month, on February 12th, Russian Tu-95 bombers flew around the island of Guam, a highly important US military hub in the Western Pacific with strategically important air, naval, and landbases.

And just a few days ago, Russian Tu-95 bombers flew over South Korea just as the US and South Korean militaries were practicing defending South Korea from its aggressive Northern neighbor.

Moreover, in the last 6 years, highly-ranking Russian military and civilian officials have repeatedly made threats to preemptively attack the US and its allies with nuclear weapons, especially if they don’t toe Russia’s line and deploy missile defense systems on European soil.

That is the behavior of a hyper-aggressive threat to world peace and security, NOT of a responsible, trustworthy partner who can be mollified, made a responsible, productive partner, and trusted to honor commitments – whether on arms reduction or any other issue whatsoever.

Secondly, Russia has repeatedly stated that it does NOT want to be involved in any further arms reduction and has flatly refused to even enter such negotiations, let alone to make any cuts in its vast arsenal of 6,800 warheads (including 2,800 strategic warheads), 14 ballistic missile submarine with 16-20 missiles each, 251 strategic bombers, and 434 ICBMs that are, by themselves, capable of carrying 1,684 warheads to the CONUS, not to mention Russia’s vast arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

Thirdly, cutting America’s nuclear deterrent bilaterally, with Russia, only weakens that deterrent – and thus, America and its military – generally as well as vis-a-vis the other nuclear powers, especially China.

And China, contrary to the lies of the proponents of America’s nuclear disarmament, has far more than the mere 240 warheads they claim. It has between 1,274 and 3,000 nuclear warheads. No one knows for sure how many exactly, but it’s obvious it has far more than just a few hundred:

  • It has built a vast, 3,000-mile-long network of tunnels and bunkers for missiles and nuclear warheads. You don’t build such a huge network for just a few hundred warheads and their carriers – because you don’t need to. You build such a vast network only for a huge nuclear arsenal.
  • Publicly available, open-source data indicates that China has far more than just a few hundred warheads. For example, it has 430 nuclear-capable strike and bomber aircraft (H-6s, JH-7s, Q-5s), 36 MIRVable DongFeng-5 heavy ICBMs, over 30 DF-31 ICBMs, some DF-41 ICBMs, over 80 DF-21 medium range ballistic missiles (as well as 40-60 of their older DF-3 and DF-4 cousins), 1,600 short-range ballistic missiles, hundreds of nuclear capable CJ-10/20 and DH-10 cruise missiles, and 6 ballistic missile submarines (one Xia class and five Jin class boats).
  • Two very credible analysts – former DOD nuclear strategist Professor Philip A. Karber and former Russian missile force Chief of Staff Gen. Viktor Yesin – have made credible analysis showing that China has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads.

Now, why does China lie and refuse to release any credible information about its nuclear arsenal (and about its armed forces and military buildup in general)? Because lying and secrecy are very effective methods of concealing one’s military buildup, lulling one’s opponent into a false sense of security, deceiving the enemy as to one’s own capabilities and intentions, and keeping the enemy guessing and unready for your actions and capabilities.

This is why Sun Tzu, whom the Chinese military and government are strictly following, advised deception, lying, and total secrecy. He wrote in his treatise on military affairs, the Art of War:

“All warfare is based on deception.

Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” – Chapter I, verses 17-18

“Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline, simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength. (…)

Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will act. He sacrifices something, that the enemy may snatch at it.

By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him.” – Chapter V, verses 17 and 19-20

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” – Chapter VII, verse 19

China’s military buildup will be addressed in a separate article; here, I will just state that it’s no coincidence that China has engaged in a secret, massive nuclear weapons buildup and that it refuses to release any accurate information on it and instead feeds the world with blatant lies about its nuclear arsenal and nuclear weapons employment policy. The Chinese have learned deception (and its value) from their master and fellow countryman, Sun Tzu.

In short, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to cut America’s nuclear deterrent any further, and doing so even bilaterally with Russia – even under a treaty – is still absolutely unacceptable. Obama Admin officials and their political appointees wearing uniforms must not be allowed to get away with the cover that “we only support doing so bilaterally with Russia”. That is still not good enough. The ONLY correct answer is “the US nuclear arsenal must not be cut any further.”

Why deep defense cuts MUST be avoided at all costs

I could just as well title this article “why defense must always be fully funded” or “why America must always maintain a strong, second-to-none defense”, but all three titles effectively mean the same thing, so I have chosen the above one.

We are being told from all directions by various kinds of people – from liberals like Clinton Admin official Gordon Adams to libertarians like Justin Amash and Mick Mulvaney to supposed conservatives like Rush Limbaugh that America can afford deep cuts in the defense budget and still have a strong military; or, in the case of other libertarians, like the Students For Liberty/Ron Paul crowd, that America doesn’t need a strong military, that it would only be a tool of oppression, and that America can safely retrench and hide behind oceans and nothing will threaten it.

But all of those claims are garbage, and in this article, I’ll show you why. They might’ve made some sense during the 18th century, when any attack on America would’ve had to be a seaborne invasion or one from Mexico or Canada.

But in the 21st century, when America has vital interests around the world, when its economy is deeply interconnected to those of its allies and friends (such as Japan and South Korea), and in the era of nuclear weapons, ICBMs, ballistic missile submarines, intercontinental bombers, EMP weapons, and cyber attacks, such beliefs are utterly ridiculous. Those who indulge them live in a kum-ba-yah world.

Let us start with this timeless principle taught by Sun Tzu in his Art of War (ch. 8, v. 11):

“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”

We should not delude ourselves that we will never be attacked, or not for a long time, or that America is somehow invincible or unassailable, or that its military is overwhelmingly superior when this is clearly not the case.

Providing for the common defense is not only necessary, it is the Federal Government’s #1 Constitutional DUTY. Art. IV, Sec. 4 of the Constitution clearly imposes this obligation on the government; the majority of enumerated powers granted to the Congress deal with military matters; and the Preamble to the Constitution – makes it clear that one of the reasons why the federal government was create in the first place is to “provide for the common defense”. Furthermore, the military is the ONLY significant expenditure authorized by the Constitution. Federal entitlement and welfare programs are utterly unconstitutional and thus illegal.

Furthermore, the claim – often made by proponents of deep defense cuts in order to lull Americans into a false sense of security – that the US military is still overwhelmingly superior to those of other countries – is completely false (although I wish it was true). The militaries of China and Russia, as documented in detailed analysis here, have already closed the vast majority of the gaps between their and the US military’s capabilities, and are now working hard on closing the remaining few gaps. Where those gaps still exist, as in aircraft carriers, for example, China and Russia have created asymmetric advantages of their own with anti-access/area-denial weapons such as aircraft carrier killing missiles.

For a detailed analysis of China’s and Russia’s military capabilities, see here.

Another oft-made false claim which is supposed to justify deep defense cuts is that they could supposedly be done safely if the military were just granted the flexibility to decide where to make the cuts and that if such reductions are made “strategically”, in a “targeted” manner, they can supposedly be done safely.

The “studies” produced by CATO, the “Project on Defense Alternatives”, the Center for American Progress, POGO-TCS,  the NTU, and Sen. Tom Coburn (RINO-OK) are often invoked as examples and as supposed “proof” that deep defense cuts can be done safely.

But I have read and analyzed virtually all of these “studies”, and ALL of them would, if implemented (God forbid), result in the utter gutting of the US military. Why? Because the vast majority of the cuts they call for would be directed at the muscle and bone of the US military – the force structure (i.e. the size of the military), its personnel, weapons, munitions, and forward deployments.

These “studies” call for deep personnel, weapon inventory, weapon program, and force size cuts across the board to all four Services (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force) and to the already barely-adequate nuclear deterrent. They call for killing dozens of crucial modernization programs, including the Long Range Strike Bomber, the ICBM replacement program, the V-22 Osprey, the F-35, the Virginia class, and many others.

If one were to plan on how to completely gut the US military, one could not come up with a better plan than those produced by the above-mentioned leftist think-tanks (most of which, including CATO, POGO, and the CAP, are co-funded by George Soros) and by Sen. Coburn. These plans seem to be deliberately designed to gut the US military.

And NONE of these proposals or “studies” are really “strategic”, because none of them are underpinned by any strategy, only by a desire to gut the US military. Strategy is about setting priorities, funding them fully, and cutting back only on non-priority programs/objectives/activities; failure to set priorities and to fund them adequately is essentially the same thing as sequestration.

But in those “studies”, there are no priorities – like sequestration, they all call for deep, across-the-board cuts to everything the US military has and does – mostly to the muscle and bone of the military.

The first and only “priority” of these studies’ authors is to gut the US military, plain and simple.

I have refuted these ridiculous “studies” here, here, here, and here among other articles.

For his part, HumanEvents columnist Robert Maginnis wrongly claims that the US can make these cuts safely if it simply scraps a number of current missions.

But that is wrong. To make cuts on the scale of sequestration, the US military would have to jettison dozens of missions – including many crucial, necessary missions connected to America’s own national security (not just that of its allies). For example, air, naval, and ground superiority, nuclear deterrence, and missile defense.

Those who call for jettisoning many military missions and cuts on the scale of sequestration need to be made to say what exact missions they think the military should scrap and be forced to admit that doing so would mean not meeting America’s security needs and thus imperiling national security.

As then-SECDEF Robert Gates said in 2011:

“These are the kinds of scenarios we need to consider, the kinds of discussions we need to have.  If we are going to reduce the resources and the size of the U.S. military, people need to make conscious choices about what the implications are for the security of the country, as well as for the variety of military operations we have around the world if lower priority missions are scaled back or eliminated.  (…)  To shirk this discussion of risks and consequences – and the hard decisions that must follow – I would regard as managerial cowardice.

In closing, while I have spent a good  deal of time on programmatic particulars, the tough choices ahead are really about the kind of role the American people – accustomed to unquestioned military dominance for the past two decades – want their country to play in the world.”

Then there are those like Rush Limbaugh and Rand Paul who falsely claim that sequestration would be a mere cut to the growth rate of defense spending. But that is a blatant lie.

As the CBO has proven, and as I have documented here, sequestration would cut the base defense budget from $525 bn today to $469 bn in March and keep it well below today’s level (and even below $500 bn) for the next decade at least. By FY2022, the last year of the “sequestration decade”, the base defense budget would be at $493 bn – still below $500 bn and well below today’s level of $525 bn.

defensebudgetaccordingtothecbo2

Meanwhile, OCO (war) spending is shrinking annually from its FY2011 peak and is set to disappear in FY2016, once all US troops leave Afghanistan.

The DOE’s defense-related (nuclear) programs and the DOD’s unspent balances from previous years are also subject to sequestration, as are all other national-security-related agencies.

In other words, sequestration would be an IMMEDIATE, REAL, DEEP, and PERMANENT cut in defense spending. It would not be a mere cut in the rate of growth. In other words, Rush, Rand, and other sequestration pooh-poohers are blatantly lying. (And the people spreading that lie are children of the Father of Lies himself.)

President Ronald Reagan articulated the need for a strong military – and the case against defense cuts – well here and here.

Let Robert Gates – a man of whom I’ve been very critical – nonetheless have the last word here:

“Since I entered government 45 years ago, I’ve shifted my views and changed my mind on a good many things as circumstances, new information, or logic dictated.  But I have yet to see evidence that would dissuade me from this fundamental belief: that America does have a special position and set of responsibilities on this planet.  I share Winston Churchill’s belief that “the price of greatness is responsibility…[and] the people of the United States cannot escape world responsibility.”  This status provides enormous benefits – for allies, partners, and others abroad to be sure, but in the final analysis the greatest beneficiaries are the American people, in terms of our security, our prosperity, and our freedom.

I know that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war.  But there is no doubt in my mind that the continued strength and global reach of the American military will remain the greatest deterrent against aggression, and the most effective means of preserving peace in the 21st century, as it was in the 20th.”

« Older Entries Recent Entries »