Tag Archives: nuclear deterrence

Liberals Never Stop Seeking To Disarm America Unilaterally

Liberals never give up in their campaign to disarm America unilaterally. As the service lives of the components of America’s nuclear triad – the missiles, the aircraft, the submarines, and the warheads – come to an end, the Pentagon will have to replace them with new ones in the years ahead. Liberals believe this is a great opportunity for them to disarm the US unilaterally – through neglect and nonreplacement of America’s aging nuclear arms.

As the necessity to replace these aging weapons approaches, liberals are spreading blatant lies about the nuclear arsenal replacement’s costs, necessity, and the scope of the nuclear threats facing the US. In fact, liberals deny there are any nuclear threats to America’s security. This article will utterly refute their lies and state the truth on the subject.

The “director for disarmament and threat reduction” at the Arms Control Association (a far-left pro-unilateral-disarmament group funded by other far-left organizations), Kingston Reif, a pro-unilateral disarmament hack already refuted a few times here, has recently lied:

Instead of moving forward with an overly ambitious and excessively expensive modernization plan that would recapitalize a US nuclear force that is, by the Pentagon’s and the president’s own analysis, far larger than US nuclear deterrence needs require, the White House, Pentagon and Energy Department should examine common-sense options for reshaping the arsenal in ways that would save billions and still provide more than adequate nuclear deterrence capabilities. Such options exist.”

“The Pentagon’s and the president’s own analysis” that Reif invokes is Obama’s own, singular, completely baseless claim from June 2013 that America can supposedly deter Russia, China, and North Korea with just 1,000 deployed warheads, while these two states pursue a limitless nuclear buildup.

But contrary to Reif’s and Obama’s blatant lies, the size of the nuclear force planned by the Pentagon for the future (similar to today’s nuclear force) will barely be adequate – and only assuming Russia and China don’t grow their arsenals much further. If they do build their arsenals up further, the US will also have to.

Russia currently has 375 ICBMs capable of delivering over 1,000 warheads to the CONUS, 80 strategic bombers capabe of delivering 886 warheads, and 14 ballistic missile subs capable of delivering over 1,200 warheads to the CONUS.

On top of that, Russia possesses 13 attack submarines and 8 guided missile submarines capable of unexpectedly attacking the US with hundreds of nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and 171 “continental” Tu-22M bombers capable of reaching the US with their payload (10 nuclear-tipped missiles each) if refueled mid-air.

In addition, Russia has a huge tactical nuclear arsenal that numbers up to 4,000 warheads. Their delivery systems range from short- and medium range Iskander and R-500 ground-launched missiles (which violate the INF treaty

Moscow is now busy replacing all of its Soviet-era systems with new weapons. It is building a fleet of new ballistic missile subs, building an additional 50 Tu-160 intercontinental bombers, and developing a new, stealthy strategic bomber as well as a hypersonic glide vehicle which, if delivered by a missile, could itself deliver a nuclear payload anywhere in the world in less than an hour. And, by 2022, all of Russia’s Soviet-era ICBMs will be replaced by new ones; what’s more, the fleet will grow to more than 400 missiles from 375 today.

Furthermore, Vladimir Putin has just announced that he’ll add over 40 new ICBM’s to Russia’s missile fleet this year alone. There is currently a dispute on th Net on whether these new missiles will be an addition to or a replacement for Russia’s current ICBMs. But even if they’re just replacing older missiles, that’s still a huge boost – this mean replacing 13% of Russia’s entire ICBM fleet in one year.

Российские разработчики создали уникальную ракетную систему Ярс

A Russian RS-24 Yars ICBM being test-launched. Russia will add 40 such ICBMs to its arsenal this year, President Putin said on June 16th. Photo credit: Sputnik News

Moreover, Russia’s new ground- and submarine-launched ballistic missiles can carry far more warheads than the old Soviet-era missiles they’re replacing. The new Yars and Rubezh missiles can carry 6-10 warheads each, unlike the old single-warhead RT-2PM Topol (SS-25 Sickle) ICBMs they’re replacing. Likewise, Russia’s new Bulava and Layner (Liner) submarine-launched missiles can carry 10 and 12 warheads, respectively, per missile; the Skiff missiles they’re replacing can only carry four. So a single Russian submarine armed with 16 such missiles can deliver 192 warheads to the CONUS; keep in mind Russia has 14 ballistic missile subs, including 9-10 operationally available at any moment.

Russian Navy's Strategic Nuclear Force to Become 2.5 Times more Effective with Modernization of SLBM Sineva

A Russian Liner submarine-launched ballistic missile being test-launched. A single such missile can carry 12 warheads. Photo credit: NavalToday.

As the UK Daily Telegraph has noted about those 40 new ICBMs Putin will deploy this year:

“The older weapons will be withdrawn and succeeded by new SS-27 missiles, each capable of delivering between four and six strategic nuclear warheads. If loaded to full capacity, these new ICBMs could deliver 240 nuclear warheads – more than Britain’s entire arsenal.”

So not only is Russia deploying more missiles and bombers, they can carry far more warheads than the missiles/bombers they’re replacing.

Deputy Secretary Work is keenly aware that Russia’s nuclear arsenal is designed to do one thing: intimidate and threaten America and its allies:

“Bob Work, deputy defense secretary, told lawmakers at the House Armed Services Committee that Russia is “literally playing with fire” through recent actions, which have seen that nation speak openly about increasing its nuclear arsenal.

“Senior Russian officials continue to make irresponsible statements regarding Russia’s nuclear forces, and we assess they are doing it to intimidate our allies and us,” Work said.”

China is likewise deploying ever more missiles capable of carrying ever more warheads. It is now deploying the DF-41 mobile ICBM capable of carrying 10 warheads, has 4-5 Jin-class ballistic missile subs deployed (12 missiles each), and its H-6K bombers’ cruise missiles can reach Hawaii. Beijing is now developing the 24-missile Tang class of submarines, hypersonic nuclear-capable glide vehicles (similar to Russia’s), and a stealthy intercontinental bomber.

China's Type 094 Jin-class submarine will adopt JL-2 ballistic missiles. (Internet photo)

A Chinese Jin-class submarine. China has 4 such boats with a fifth slated to join them soon, and each of them can carry at least 12 JL-2 missiles, which in turn can carry at least 4 warheads each. A four-boat fleet gives China a continous at-sea nuclear deterrent like France and the UK have. Photo credit: Military-Today.com.

In short, both Russia and China already have large nuclear arsenals and are building them up further; arsenals which, in the future, will be even bigger and deadlier than today.

Against this background, it would be utterly suicidal for the US to cut its arsenal any further or to neglect to modernize it.

The truth is that the US – and its 30 allies who rely on the American nuclear umbrella for their security – must have a nuclear deterrent that can survive any potential Russian or Chinese first strike not only today, but indefinitely into the future.

The US nuclear arsenal must be large enough – and survivable enough – to withstand any blow, even a huge one – by Russian and Chinese nuclear forces – not only those of today, but more importantly those of the future.

In short, we must think of the future, not just the present. The new nuclear deterrent the Pentagon plans to build must protect America against any nuclear threat well into the future.

Thus, the US will need to increase – not cut – its nuclear arsenal, and modernize it fully.

In addition, the new Long-Range Strike Bomber is absolutely necessary to perform conventional bombing campaigns as well. And if used against a nuclear power like China or North Korea, it would greatly REDUCE the threat to the US and its allies by being able to destroy enemy missile launchers BEFORE they have a chance to launch their deadly payloads. The LRSB will be a transformational weapon giving the US military new capabilities – not a mere replacement for old bombers. As Dr Robbin Laird rightly writes here:

“The B-3 is not simply going to provide more ordnance over greater distance to do strategic missions; it is about reinforcing and enabling greater capabilities for a radically different combat air force. Range and payload will be important elements of the basic platform, as will leveraging new concepts of stealth to provide low observability. But that is simply a foundation.”

And the cost?

The Pentagon says it will need to spend $18 bn on nuclear deterrent modernization starting in 2021 and ending in 2035, for a total cost of $270 bn over 15 years.

The Pentagon’s total annual budget is around $600 bn; $18 bn is 3% of that. It is utter nonsense to claim that the Pentagon cannot afford to spend a pitiful 3% of its budget on modernizing America’s nuclear umbrella that also shields over 30 allies and friends.

Liberals falsely claim that the total modernization cost will be $1 trillion over 30 years, with $348 bn over the next 10 years.

But that figure is nothing but a claim of the Monterey Institute for Strategic Studies, another liberal pro-disarmament group.

But even if that figure were correct – which it likely won’t be – $1 trillion over 30 years is just $33.3 bn per year, i.e. around 6% of the Pentagon’s total budget. Deputy Secretary Robert Work estimates it at about 7%.

A few other liberals (CSIS’s Clark Murdock, Thomas Karako, and Angela Weaver) recently (and falsely) claimed, for their part, that:

Nuclear weapons do not achieve U.S. policy objectives, dominant conventional forces do. The U.S. interest lies in seeking to minimize the importance accorded to nuclear weapons by narrowing the roles they are perceived to play. U.S. doctrine, policy, forces, and diplomacy should all be configured to support this interest. The posture described in this paper achieves just that, in contrast to postures that imagine uses of nuclear weapons that have never actually been demonstrated. After 70 years of indulging fantasies of what nuclear weapons can do, it is high time to acknowledge that they do very little and adapt U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, and forces to those facts.”

What they’re saying, though, are blatant lies, not facts. Nuclear weapons achieve three supremely important US policy objectives:

  • Preventing a nuclear, chemical, biological, or major conventional attack on the US or its treaty allies;
  • Reassuring those allies so that they don’t have to develop their nuclear arsenals, and thus limiting nuclear proliferation; and
  • Preventing wars between the world’s great powers.

And contrary to their lie that “The U.S. interest lies in seeking to minimize the importance accorded to nuclear weapons by narrowing the roles they are perceived to play”, America’s national interest actually lies in preventing WMD or major conventional attacks against America’s allies and achieving the other objectives stated above.

Fantasising about “mimizing the importance accorded to nuclear weapons by narrowing the roles they are perceied to play” will not achieve any US policy objectives. Such childish fantasizing therefore contrary to America’s national interests.

No matter how badly these liberals – and Obama admin officials – wish to minimize nuclear weapons’ role, their importance in the world is huge, and will only grow in the future, as more countries acquire these arms and as existing nuclear powers modernize and expand their arsenals.

Russia, China, North Korea, India, and Pakistan are all growing and modernizing their nuclear arsenals. Because of their actions, the global, objective importance of atomic weapons is growing, not shrinking, no matter how much the US wishes it were otherwise.

It doesn’t matter what America wants; what matters is what the world is currently like. And the world is currently headed in the direction of MORE nuclear weapons and MORE countries armed with them, and thus, MUCH GREATER importance accorded to them.

The Arms Control Association’s Greg Thielmann, for his part, claims that the US should augment its “nuclear disarmament bona fides” by accelerating the nuclear arsenal cuts mandated by the New START treaty and by cutting that arsenal even further, to just 1,000 warheads.

But “nuclear disarmament bona fides” count for nothing in this world. They don’t make a country more secure – on the contrary, they only expose it to danger. Just look at Ukraine, which voluntarily gave up its nuclear arms during the 1990s in exchange for paper promises of respect for its territorial integrity and its independence. Russia brazenly violated these promises last year.

Finally, Adam Mount of the leftist Council on Foreign Relations falsely claims that there are no new nuclear threats, and that:

“It will certainly not help to worry about “new” nuclear threats where there are none. The best way to prevent a new arms race is to refuse to engage in one.”

He also falsely asserts that:

“There are already calls in the United States to fight fire with fire and add to our own nuclear forces. However, there is little reason to believe that building new nuclear capabilities or forward-deploying the ones we already have would restrain Russia. There is every reason to believe that Putin would take these steps as license to divert attention to the nuclear balance, to abrogate existing arms control treaties, to launch a new arms race, and to use his nuclear arsenal to cover aggression at lower levels—in short, to start a new Cold War.”

Like other liberals’ claims, these are also blatant lies. Russia and China have already started a new arms race against the US. At this point, the US only has a choice whether to accept the challenge (and thus develop counter-weapons it needs to defend itself) or not to respond and thus to fall behind its adversaries (which is essentially unilateral disarmament by neglect).

And contrary to his blatant lies, there are new nuclear threats to America’s security: Russia’s and China’s nuclear buildups, North Korea’s burgeoning nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals, and Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.

As for Mount’s false claim that Putin would use an American nuclear buildup as an excuse to “divert attention to the nuclear balance, to abrogate existing arms control treaties, to launch a new arms race, and to use his nuclear arsenal to cover aggression at lower levels” – he’s already doing all of that.

He has already launched an arms race against the US, is violating arms control treaties with impunity, is building up his nuclear arsenal and diverting the Russian public’s attention to it, and is using that arsenal to cover his aggression against his neighbors.

At this point, the US faces a simple choice: it will either build up its nuclear deterrent to a superior level, or it – along with all of its allies – will live under constant threat from an ever-aggressive Russia.

 

Rebuttal of lies about US nuclear weapons and ICBMs

nukeexplosion

For decades, leftist politicians, media outlets, and “arms control advocates” (read: advocates of America’s unilateral disarmament) have falsely claimed that the US nuclear deterrent is obsolete, unneeded, and unimportant. They have recently been joined by some pseudoconservative, pseudo-pro-military outlets such as the Air Force Magazine, the press organ of the Air Force Association.

Concurrently, for decades, Washington has carelessly and inexplicably neglected and underfunded the US nuclear deterrent, delaying its much-needed modernization until now, when the can cannot be kicked down the road any longer.

It is for THESE reasons, and not for the reasons the anti-military Left claims, that the US nuclear deterrent, or more specifically, its ICBM force, has witnessed a degrengolade in the last few years, with over 30 officers suspended or fired for cheating on tests (or tolerating cheating by others), a few others arrested for drug usage, and a two-star ICBM general punished for binge-drinking in Moscow.

It is precisely because of over two decades of unceasing leftist propaganda about the supposed obsolence and uselessness of the nuclear deterrent, unceasing Leftist attacks on it and proposals to cut or eliminate it outright, and because of over two decades of underfunding and neglecting the nuclear deterrent, that the ICBM force is showing such rot.

For over two decades, the nation has been (wrongly) telling the young men and women maintaining and operating America’s ICBMs, bombers, and ballistic missile subs that their mission doesn’t exist, their work doesn’t matter, and their tools of trade are useless (which, BTW, couldn’t be further from the truth). Guess what? Those young folks’ morale and motivation for work have collapsed – and consequently, so have their work ethic and standards.

As for drug and alcohol problems, these – like cheating on tests and tolerating cheating by others – are nothing but simple reflections of the American society as a whole. They’re commonplace in the entire US military – which is nothing but a reflection of the society it serves. And that society is, to be blunt, morally degenerate and rotten to the core.

Lexington Institute COO Loren Thompson, Ph.D., who taught nuclear deterrence issues at Georgetown some years back, says the ICBM force’s rot may have something to do with the forementioned dismissal and neglect of the nuclear deterrent.

Excuse me? It has EVERYTHING to do with that dismissal of the need for, and the neglect of, the nuclear deterrent.

The Real Causes of the ICBM Force’s Rot

The Air Force personnel who operate these missiles – the missileers – no longer feel appreciated, no longer believe their mission is vital, and thus, no longer feel the need to perform it to the best of their ability. And they know that these days, in an era of universal deceit, when the entire nation is deluding itself that it no longer needs nuclear weapons, being a missileer is a career killer.

This is a total contrast to the Cold War years, when the Air Force had a Strategic Air Command, controlling all of the nation’s ICBMs, bombers, tankers, and even some escort fighters. It was almost a shadow state within the Air Force, a powerful, awesome, and unstoppable military force all by itself, wielding far more ICBMs and bombers than the USAF does today.

On paper, it was just a part of the Air Force – but it was its most important component by far and THE crown jewel of all military commands. The dream of every missileer and bomber pilot during the Cold War was to end up commanding the SAC. SAC was not just a hugely important command in and of itself – several of its leaders, from Curtis “Bombs Away” LeMay to John D. Ryan to Larry D. Welch – ended up serving as Chiefs of Staff of the whole Air Force.

Thus, the job of a missileer, and of a bomber pilot, carried enormous prestige and gave young officers great career prospects in the Air Force – up to and often including the top position in the USAF.

Leftist anti-nuclear hacks, such as Joe Cirincione and AP reporter Robert Burns, falsely claim that the ICBM force is rotten because it’s “an outdated command wielding outdated weapons” and that its mission no longer exists. The Air Force Magazine’s chief editor, Adam J. Hebert, has also falsely claimed that there is no clear or significant nuclear threat facing the US and that therefore further reductions in America’s nuclear deterrent are “inevitable.”

All of these are blatant lies.

Clear and Present Danger

The nuclear threats facing the US are clear, many, and grave, and thus the need for a large US nuclear arsenal is very real. In fact, that need is now greater than ever.

Russia has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (of which at least 1,500 are operationally deployed right now, and the rest could also be deployed at any moment) and 4,000 tactical nuclear weapons – 6,800 nukes in total (the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimates Russia’s nuclear arsenal even higher, at 8,800 weapons).

Russia’s ICBM fleet alone can deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; Russia’s 251 strategic bombers (Tu-95, Tu-22M, Tu-160) can deliver well over 1,700; Russia’s 13 ballistic missile subs can deliver another 1,400 to 2,000, depending on the missile type. On top of that, Russia has attack and cruise missile submarines also armed with nuclear-tipped missiles – all of which can also be delivered to the US, and Russian subs have, in recent months, indeed been prowling US territorial waters.

China has at least 1,600, and possibly up to 3,000, nuclear weapons, according to General Viktor Yesin and Dr Philip Karber (the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist under Ronald Reagan, the last time US nuclear policy was made by sane people). To deliver them, China has at least 87 (and probably many more) ICBMs, 6 ballistic missile submarines, 440 nuclear-capable aircraft, over 100 medium-range ballistic missiles, and over 1,200 short-range ballistic missiles, as well as hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles.

Neither Russia’s or China’s nuclear arsenals are at a standstill. Both are undergoing rapid modernization and expansion.

Russia intends to procure 400 new ICBMs and is currently developing three new ICBM types (the Sarmat, the Rubezh, and the Yars) as well as a pseudo-ICBM (really an IRBM) to evade INF Treaty limits. It has recently tested IRBMs in blatant violation of that treaty. It is also fielding two new submarine-launched ballistic missiles (the Layner and the Bulava, carrying 12 and 10 warheads, respectively), building a new ballistic missile submarine class, and developing a new long-range bomber, the PAK DA.

China is now procuring two new ICBM types (the DF-31A and DF-41), two new MRBM types (the DF-21 and DF-25), building two new ballistic missile submarine classes, and developing a stealthy intercontinental bomber capable of hitting the CONUS, as well as two new, longer-ranged variants of its standard sub-launched missile, the JL-2, whose current range is 8,000-9,000 km; the Chinese want to extend that to 14,000 kms, which will allow their submarines to threaten all of the US while sitting in their homeports.

Not only do Russia and China wield large nuclear arsenals, they’re also quite willing to use them against those whom they perceive as weaker than them. Russia has threatened to aim or launch its nuclear weapons at America or its allies on at least 16 separate occassions in the last 16 years. It has recently deployed Iskander short-range ballistic missiles to Poland’s borders. In the last 2 years, starting in May 2012, it has repeatedly flown nuclear-armed strategic bombers close to and sometimes into US and allied airspace, and even that of neutral countries like Sweden – twice!

China has recently removed any mention of its former “no-first-use” policy from its defense policy papers, and in recent months, OFFICIAL Chinese state media, including the virulently anti-American Global Times, have posted maps of the US showing what deadly nuclear strikes could China unleash upon the US with its JL-2 and DF-31A missiles. Chinese state-owned media gleefully and openly commented on how many millions of Americans would die in Chinese nuclear strikes on the CONUS.

These are the principal adversaries America must confront and deter. No amount of “arms control” or smooth-talking or diplomacy will do. Only a large, diverse, powerful nuclear arsenal, operated by people whose mission is appreciated, can protect America against these threats.

On top of that, the US must also deter North Korea and Iran. The former already has nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to the CONUS, the latter is well on its way to acquiring that capability.

In fact, the “moderate” Iranian president Rouhani openly claims that the West’s recent deal with Iran signed in  on the subject of the Iranian nuclear program is a “capitulation” to Iran by Western countries. (He’s actually right – the deal is nothing but a shameful surrender.)

Defending America’s Allies is in America’s Own National Interest

On top of that, the US must provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself, but also to over 30 allies and friends around the world, from Canada, to Israel, to Persian Gulf allies, to Poland, to South Korea and Japan.

Many of these allies will have no choice but to develop their own nuclear weapons if the US continues cutting its nuclear arsenal. They cannot afford to, and will not, bet their security and their very existence on America breaking free of its “disarming ourselves will make us safer” delusion – or on such delusions and constant cuts in the US nuclear umbrella increasing their security.

Already, Saudi Arabia possesses DF-3 missiles bought from China and has ordered nuclear weapons in Pakistan, and 66% of South Koreans want their country to have its own nuclear deterrent. Japan is ready to develop one, too – it has a facility capable of producing enough material for 3,600 nuclear weapons in a year if need be.

That would make the nuclear proliferation problem much worse than it already is.

ICBMs Are Crucial – And Very Cheap

And as for ICBMs supposedly being obsolete and too expensive, they are anything but. They cost the DOD only 1.1 bn dollars to maintain and can, thanks to their large number (450, sitting in hardened siloes) absorb even large nuclear blows and still retaliate against an enemy. Only Russia or China could even attempt to destroy them. They have a readiness rate of 99% and can hit any target in the world.

They contribute mightily to nuclear deterrence and stability, and thus to US, allied, and world security.

If ICBMs are really “obsolete” and “expensive weapons, someone better tell that to the Russians, the Chinese, and the Israelis!

Because all of them possess, and continue to develop and build, such weapons.

How To Restore Order And Excellence In The ICBM Force

So how to restore order and excellence in the ICBM force, and the broader nuclear force? That’s easy – it’s just that Washington politicians are unwilling to do so, and the advocates of America’s unilateral disarmament will be dead set against this. But this must be done nonetheless. US, allied, and global security depends on America taking the following steps:

1. Draw up a proper national defense strategy which will prioritize countering nation state threats, especially those posed by Russia, China, and North Korea, over all other aims, and will designate nuclear weapons as the primary means of deterring and defeating these threats – just like nuclear weapons occupy the central place in Russia’s current military doctrine.

2. Publicly proclaim that maintaining and revitalizing all three legs of the nuclear triad, as well as the warheads and the associated facilities, is and will be one of the DOD’s top priorities, and assign funding accordingly. (It will, in any case, cost only 6-7% of the total US military budget to modernize the nuclear deterrent, at between 31 and 35 bn dollars per year out of a 600 bn total military budget.)

3. Withdraw from the New START treaty and reject any calls for any further cuts in the US nuclear deterrent.

4. Publicly proclaim that any attack by Russia, China, North Korea, or Iran against the US or any of its allies, including Israel and its Persian Gulf allies, will result in a massive nuclear retaliation by the US.

5. Publicly proclaim that service as a missileeer and as a bomber pilot is a very noble and glorious service to the Nation and underline its importance to global security. Award medals for long, distinguished service in those roles.

6. Redesignate the Air Force’s Global Strike Command as the Strategic Air Command and restore the old SAC’s logo and motto. Give missileers and bomber pilots a clear, achievable career path to the positions of SAC Commander, AF Chief of Staff, and Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, so that the job of a missileer and that of a bomber pilot will be a very attractive career (as it deserves to be), and not the career killer it currently is for missileers.

7. Strict discipline through punishments needs to be instituted across the entire military (not just the ICBM force), ESPECIALLY towards senior officers.

In sum, nuclear disarmament advocates’ claims are all blatant lies, as always. The need for a large nuclear deterrent, and for the US nuclear triad, is greater than ever because of the threats from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. Advocates of America’s disarmament, in and out of government, have, however, been vehemently denying the existence of these threats, and inexplicably neglected the US nuclear deterrent. THIS is why that deterrent is wearing out – as is the morale and work motivation of USAF missileers.

Rebuttal of Benjamin Cooper’s attack on the nuclear deterrent

Castle_romeo2

The (until recently very respected) Proceedings magazine, run by the US Naval Institute (a private association) has recently published an utterly ridiculous, leftist garbage article by Benjamin Cooper, a contractor working for missile defense companies, which argues for deep further cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent and for completely phasing out the ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) fleet – by the most survivable leg of America’s nuclear triad.

Cooper bases his call on utterly false arguments, namely, that:

1) America doesn’t need SSBNs and a second-strike capability* at all, Russia is a friendly partner, relations with Moscow have improved significantly in recent years and there’s no reason to expect them to deteriorate, and China has only a few hundred warheads;

2) SSBNs are too expensive to develop and build.

What is wrong with his article?

To start with, EVERYTHING.

All of his claims are utterly false, and there are numerous reasons to utterly reject his proposal – and any other proposal to cut the US nuclear deterent any further, for that matter. Here’s why.

1) Contrary to Cooper’s, the Obama administration’s, and the NPR’s lies, Russo-American relations have NOT improved at all under Vladimir Putin, and in the last several years, they have deteriorated significantly, despite, or arguably BECAUSE OF, Obama’s “reset” (read: appeasement) policy. Russia continues to staunchly oppose the US on a very wide range of key issues, such as BMD, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Edward Snowden, Russia’s repeated violations of human rights, and more. Russia continues to support America’s enemies around the world – Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, China – with diplomatic protection, economic aid, and except Cuba (which can’t afford them) modern weapons. It has, on numerous occassions since 2012, flown nuclear-armed bombers close to American and INTO Japanese airspace. It continues to provide nuclear fuel for Iran’s nuclear program. In the last 6 years, it has repeatedly threatened to target or even use nuclear weapons against US allies. Not only that, but Vladimir Putin openly pokes the US time after time and never misses an opportunity to humiliate Obama.

Russia, judged by its behavior as well as by its anti-American rhetoric, IS an adversary of the US by every definition of the word. If a country behaving in such a manner is not an adversary, then this word has no meaning.

And the ignorant Mr Cooper doesn’t even know that BMD is – especially according to Russia – one of the BIGGEST sources of tension between Washington and Moscow.

“the United States has a minimum of 14 years to continue improving relations with Russia to the point where a guaranteed second-strike capability is no longer required” – What a joke! Relations with Russia have steadily DETERIORATED under Putin, especially during the last 5 years, and will, in all likelihood, worsen even further as Russia exploits America’s weakness and Obama’s appeasement mentality.

2) Russia is not a partner at all, much less in reducing nuclear arsenals. Under New START, Russia is not obliged to cut ANYTHING, and indeed, has not cut even one warhead or delivery system. On the contrary, since New START’s entry into force, Russia has significantly INCREASED its nuclear arsenal – exactly as its leaders said it would do – and intends to increase it further, as confirmed by both Russian officials and Russian (as well as American) analysts. Moreover, it has repeatedly VIOLATED the INF treaty by testing IRBMs (prohibited by INF), which means treaties signed with Russia are worthless pieces of paper.

Throughout the ENTIRE Obama administration tenure, the US has been the ONLY country cutting its nuclear arsenal. Russia and China have been steadily GROWING theirs.

But Russia goes even further and openly calls its nuclear arsenal “sacred” and, in its military doctrine, reserves to itself the right to use nuclear weapons first – against nuclear- and non-nuclear states alike, to win a war quickly.

3) China, contrary to the author’s lies, has between 1,600 (per General Viktor Yesin) and 3,000 (per Professor Philip Karber) nuclear warheads (deployed and nondeployed), NOT the few hundred that Cooper claims. It does not yet have a first-strike capability vs the US, but it DOES have a large arsenal and a credible second-strike capability. It IS a near-peer nuclear opponent.

Its 36 DF-5 heavy ICBMs can carry up to 10 warheads each; its fleet of over 30 DF-31/31A ICBMs, 3-4 warheads per missile; its submarine-launched JL-2 missiles, also 3-4 warheads each; and its newest ICBM, the DF-41, can carry 10 warheads per missile.

36*10 = 30*3 + 10 = 460 warheads deliverable to the US. More than enough to destroy all 450 US ICBMs, if one Chinese warhead is attributed to each US ICBM. And that’s without involving any of China’s SLBMs.

Moreover, China is currently developing a stealthy intercontinental bomber that will also be able to deliver nuclear weapons to the CONUS.

4) Despite the author’s claims that a Russo-American rivalry like the Cold War or a similar Sino-American rivalry are unlikely, the fact is that his claims have already been disproven by reality: both Moscow and Beiing have large nuclear arsenals and are hostile to the US.

5) On top of Russia and China, the US must also deter North Korea and Iran simoultaneously, and must provide a nuclear umbrella to OVER 30 allies and partners. Meanwhile, Russia and China are threats to many but protectors to nobody. America’s allies around the world have already warned the US over cutting its nuclear arsenal further, and if the US proceeds with further cuts anyway, they will very likely develop their own nuclear arsenals. Japan has facilities that could produce 3,600 warheads in a matter of 6 months if need be. Saudi Arabia is already preparing to “go nuclear” if need be.

Thus, contrary to the author’s blatant lies, a second-strike capability – and thus, the SSBNX program – is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Moreover, the 2010 NPR, which the author loves to quote (selectively), REAFFIRMED the nuclear triad. And while the author cites a few leftist studies arguing for a dyad, there are many other, much more credible, studies calling for the retention of the nuclear triad, such as those by the Heritage Foundation, the CSBA, CSIS,  and CNAS.

6) Despite the author’s claim that the SSBNX is unaffordable, it actually is quite affordable – its unit cost of $3.6 bn is not much more than the Virginia class’s $2.4 bn per boat cost or the Arleigh Burke’s $2 bn per ship cost. Once the SSBNX class goes into production, its cost will stabilize. And it could be reduced even further, to no more than $2.4 bn per boat, if the USN were to build a Virginia-class derivative instead of an entirely new class.

And the Missile Defense Agency’s budget – $9-10 bn per year – is not much value for taxpayers’ money. For that kind of money, I could buy at least 2 SSBNs per year, and build the entire required fleet of 12 boats in 6 years. If the cost of a single SSBNX were brought down to $2.4 bn, I could build the entire replacement fleet of 12 boats in 3 years!

Moreover, submarines – including SSBNs – sail underwater and are very stealthy – especially the US Navy’s SSBNs. They are not affected by the dangers that surface ships face (other than naval mines, which they can detect easily); they just can’t let the enemy to detect them acoustically – which, again, the US Navy’s SSBNs have successfully been doing for decades, and you can expect the next-gen SSBNX class to be even quieter.

Meanwhile, surface ships, including and especially the Burke class DDGs that the author hails as alternatives to the SSBNX, face a myriad of deadly threats against which they’re ill-equipped and ill-defended: anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles, submarines, naval mines, suicide boats, and fast attack craft.

A suicide boat nearly sank the Burke-class destroyer USS Cole in 2000. The USN is ill-equipped (and Burkes are not equipped at all) to fight naval mines – the USN has only 14 aging minesweepers (the French Navy alone has almost that much, at 11). As for ballistic and cruise missiles, the Aegis combat system cannot intercept more than 4 missiles at once, and is hopelessly ineffective against fast, sea-skimming cruise missiles like the SS-N-27 Sizzler (possessed by Russia, China, and Iran among others). Heck, the Navy cannot even replicate the Sizzler – or China’s DF-21D ballistic missile – as a target!

Moreover, according to Winslow Wheeler, when he worked for the GAO in 1980s, the Aegis system performed poorly even against moderately difficult to intercept missiles; against those flying lower and faster, it was hopelessly ineffective.

Again, submarines face none of these threats, other than naval mines.

7) BMD, which the author claims is “the future of strategic deterrence”, is not a credible replacement for SSBNs at all. BMD is still a developmental technology in its infancy. BMD systems have shot down ballistic missiles only in carefully-scripted and timed exercises with advance information, and questions about their reliability abound. Moreover, the USN does not have dedicated, single-purpose BMD ships – it has DDGs and CGs which carry interceptor missiles as well as others – and their magazines of missiles can be easily and quickly exhausted. Indeed, any adversary, even NK and Iran, can always build more offensive missiles than the US can build interceptors, and interceptors are far more expensive than offensive missiles.

8) There is also another problem, namely that land-based ICBMs (or rather, their launch control systems, and for that matter all electrical devices in the US) could be instantly disabled by one EMP strike on the CONUS – for example, by detonating a single nuclear warhead – at a high altitude above the central US (e.g. Nebraska). This would disable all US ICBMs and instantly set the US back to the Stone Age. China (and probably Russia as well) is currently developing EMP weapons to do exactly that. Yet, the US is completely unprepared for the EMP threat.

By contrast, those SSBNs that would be at sea would not be affected at all, as they’d be submerged AND far away from the US. There’s a reason why the SSBN fleet is by far the most survivable leg of the nuclear triad.

In short, Benjamin Cooper’s article is completely wrong and utterly ridiculous. America’s nuclear arsenal and its SSBN fleet are NOT anachronisms, but vital instruments of deterrence in the 21st century; Russia and China both are hostile to the US and have large nuclear arsenals; missile defense is not, and can never be, a replacement for the nuclear deterrent; its effectiveness (and affordability) are dubious; and on top of that, the US has to provide a large nuclear umbrella to over 30 allies who rely on it for their very survival – and who will have to go nuclear themselves if the US cuts its arsenal further.

Cooper’s screed is arguably the dumbest and the worst article ever published in Proceedings, and the editors should be ashamed of themselves for publishing such a pathetic screed.

Cooper’s screed is cretinous and ridiculous. Shame on Proceedings for publishing it.

Postscriptum: I would be remiss if I also didn’t add that the South Korean Defense Ministry has now confirmed what I’ve been saying for many months: that North Korea IS capable of mating nuclear warheads to missiles and HAS mastered the requisite technology. See here.

Nuclear deterrent cuts: wrong in the 90s, wrong today

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The Left never ceases trying to make America weaker and less secure. Their biggest target right now is America’s nuclear deterrent – the country’s only defense against WMD attack, the only weapon system that has proven itself to always work, the only deterrent that has never failed and has kept America and its allies secure for 67 years (and counting), the most effective nonproliferation program ever invented, which discourages allies from developing their own nuclear weapons by reassuring them with an American nuclear umbrella.

Yet, the Left now wants to dismantle that crucial deterrent and thus disarm America unilaterally. This would be very dangerous and foolish. The deep unilateral cuts made by President Bush I between 1989 and 1993 are sometimes invoked as cuts that supposedly were “a good thing” and an example are emulate.

But the Left is wrong on that one as well. Those unilateral cuts of the Bush administration were also wrong.

The elder President Bush slashed the total nuclear stockpile by 50%, signed two START treaties (in 1991 and 1993), killed B-2 stealthy bomber production at just 21 aircraft, killed Midgetman small ICBM and air-launched cruise missile production, and completely stopped the development, production, upgrades, and testing of nuclear warheads. What were, and are, the results?

China has, since then, dramatically increased its nuclear arsenal – to between 1,600 and 3,000 nuclear warheads, according to General Viktor Yesin (a former Russian strategic missile force chief of staff) and Georgetown Professor Philip Karber, respectively. (Professor Karber was the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist under the Reagan Administration.)  It has also produced enough fissile material for 3,600 nuclear warheads (Yesin says half of it has been used so far) and built 3,000 miles of tunnels and bunkers for its nuclear warheads and their delivery missiles). It has also modernized all three legs of its nuclear triad – the submarines, ICBMs, and bombers.

Russia initially cut its nuclear arsenal within the old START treaty framework, but since President Putin came to power, it has begun rebuilding it, and the New START treaty allows it to. START data exchanges show that Russia has significantly increased its nuclear arsenal since New START’s ratification by the US – exactly as Russian leaders said they would.

And throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Russia has been steadily modernizing its nuclear arsenal, especially the ICBM leg, but also the bomber and submarine legs of its nuclear triad. A new class of SSBNs has entered service, the modern Tu-160 Blackjack bomber is in production from stockpiled parts, Moscow is now developing a new bomber, and throughout that time, new ICBM types have been introduced in large numbers – the Topol, Topol-M, Yars, and now Yars-M.

Also, since 1991, India and Israel have significantly increased their nuclear arsenals, and two new states hostile to the US have joined the nuclear club: Pakistan in 1998 and North Korea in 2006. Iran, meanwhile, has made great progress towards nuclear weapons acquisition.

If the goal of Bush’s nuclear arsenal cuts was to convince others to do the same and rogue states to stop pursuing nuclear weapons, his policy is utterly failed – as it was always doomed to, because that is what always happens when the US nuclear deterrent is cut.

Another disastrous consequence of Bush’s foolish nuclear policies was the degradation of America’s nuclear weapons complex: the facilities, dating back to the Manhattan Project days, are now utterly dilapidated and require an urgent, complete renovation. Renovation that has been constantly delayed by successive administrations, including the Obama administration.

Yet another disastrous consequence of Bush’s stupidities has been the progressing obsolence of the nuclear warheads themselves and their delivery systems. Because no new warheads have been produced or tested since 1992, we don’t know if they’re reliable, and existing warheads require service life extensions. As for delivery systems, the majority of them are obsolete and nonstealthy and overdue for replacement.

The Air Force has already foolishly dismantled all of its stealthy cruise missiles and the contract to BEGIN developing new ones won’t be awarded until FY2015. The Air Force’s newest ICBMs, Minutemen-III, were deployed in 1976. (President Reagan deployed the more powerful Peacekeeper missile in 1986, but the elder Bush killed its production and the younger Bush dismantled all of the Peacekeepers the US had already produced. Russia, of course, did not reciprocate and actually increased ICBM production. The USAF, meanwhile, won’t get any new ICBMs until 2030 – if ever.)

Bush also killed B-2 stealthy bomber production at just 21 aircraft, instead of the 132 originally planned, thus causing the unit cost to shoot up dramatically, to 2 bn dollars per copy (including development and testing costs) because economies of scale were lost. Had the 132 originally planned B-2s been built, each of them would’ve cost no more than a B747.

As a result, the USAF now has only 20 bombers capable of penetrating anything better than primitive Soviet air defense systems – only 20 capable of defeating advanced Russian and Chinese air defense systems like the S-300, S-400, HQ-9, HQ-12, and HQ-16, and upgraded Soviet systems like the SA-11/17. 20 stealthy bombers is not even close to enough. As a result, in 1996, during that year’s crisis with Iraq, US commanders in the Middle East had fewer than 20 stealthy bombers available to deal with Iraq – proving that 20 B-2s were not enough, as Gen. Chuck Horner observed.

Carrier-based aircraft were not and aren’t stealthy, and short-range stealthy strike jets couldn’t take off because US allies in the region forbade the US to use their bases and airspace in 1996.

And now, because Bush killed the B-2 at 21 aircraft, and because the next generation bomber program has been repeatedly and inexplicably delayed, the USAF will not get a new bomber until the mid-2020s – and that’s assuming that the Democrats don’t kill the next gen bomber program, as they have repeatedly tried to.

Bush’s unilateral nuclear cuts and utter neglect of the nuclear weapons complex also resulted in thousands of highly-educated, highly-skilled nuclear scientists leaving government service and joining the private sector or retiring without being replaced. The nuclear weapons complex today suffers as much from a brain drain and personnel shortage as from obsolence. And you can thank the two Bushes, as well as Clinton and Obama, for that.

Also, Bush unilaterally withdrew US tactical nukes from South Korea and from surface warships. Did anyone reciprocate? No. North Korea has, since then, developed, deployed, and tested nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles of all ranges, while Russia continues to keep numerous nuclear weapons in various forms on its surface warships and submarines.

Those are the disastrous consequnces of the elder Bush’s deep unilateral cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent. And these consequences still bedevil us today.

Yet, despite that, the Democrats and other proponents of America’s unilateral disarmament falsely claim that this “was a good thing” and that the US should continue to cut its arsenal further and unilaterally.

They want to cancel long overdue facility and warhead refurbishment programs; long overdue bomber, cruise missile, and submarine replacement programs; and cut America’s existing arsenal deeply and unilaterally, below 1,000 or even below 800 (according to Rep. Jim Cooper) warheads – at least twice less than what China has.

They want to disarm America unilaterally at a time when – as even the pacifist Stockholm Institute for Peace Research Studies (SIPRI) and Danish pacifist Hans M. Kristensen admit – everyone else is modernizing and/or growing their nuclear arsenals.

Indeed, America’s adversaries – Russia, China, and North Korea – are all growing and modernizing their arsenals.

Russia’s and China’s nuclear arsenals, militaries, and base infrastructure are so large and so reduntant and disperses that the US needs thousands, not mere hundreds, of nuclear warheads to deter them – especially to deter both of them. And both of them will have the ability to reduce the US arsenal in a preemptive first strike, if it’s cut as deeply as the Dems’ and their pacifist bankrollers like the Council for a Livable World want to.

Russia is in the midst of the largest nuclear buildup since the Soviet times. Russia has 2,800 strategic and up to 4,000 tactical nuclear warheads, deployed and nondeployed. It has 434 ICBMs *most of them multiple/warhead/armed), 251 strategic bombers (each carrying up to 6 nuclear cruise missiles and many also carrying a nuclear freefall bomb), and 14 ballistic missile subs with 16-20 missiles each, and 4-12 warheads per missile, depending on its type (Sinyeva missiles carry only 4 warheads; Liner missiles carry 12). Russian boomer subs can launch their missiles while being homeported.

Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal is even larger. It consists of up to 4,000 warheads in various forms: nuclear depth charges, nuclear bombs, warheads for short-range missiles, nuclear artillery shells, etc. Russia can deliver them by many means: surface warships, submarines, cruise missiles, artillery pieces, SRBMs, etc.

What’s more, Russia and China are GROWING, not shrinking, their nuclear arsenals. Russia has been doing so since New START ratification – as allowed to do so by that one-sided treaty, which requires cuts only in the US arsenal. Russia is adding warheads as well as delivery systems. It has resumed Tu-160 bomber production from stockpiled parts.

Moscow is not only growing its arsenal but also becoming more aggressive as well. In the last 12 months, Russia has practiced simulated nuclear bomber strikes on US missile defense facilities five times, each time flying dangerously close to US or allied airspace, and three times flying into Air Defense Identification Zones – forcing US or allied fighters to scramble. For more, see here and here.

“Who told you that the Cold War was ever over? It transforms; it is like a virus,” said Russian KGB/FSB defector Sergei Tretyakov in an interview with FOX News in 2009.

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

China also has a large arsenal – contrary to the false claims of pacifist groups. It has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads according to General Viktor Yesin (former Russian missile force chief of staff) and Professor Philip Karber, respectively. It has recently built 3,000 miles of tunnels and bunkers for its nuclear missiles and warheads. You don’t build such a vast network for only a few hundred warheads.

China currently has 86ICBMs (20 DF-4s, 36 DF-5s, at least 30 DF-31/31As, and at least one DF-41), over 1,600 SRBMs, hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles, at least 100 MRBMs (DF-21s and DF-3s), 6 ballistic missile submarines (5 Jin class, 1 Xia class, with at least 12 nuclear-armed missiles per boat), and 440 nuclear-capable aircraft (H-6, Q-5, JH-7).

Both Russia and China are also rapidly modernizing their entire arsenals of warheads and delivery systems. Russia is developing or producing several new ICBM types: the Yars silo-based and Yars-M road-mobile ICBM, a rail-mobile ICBM, the “Avangard” ICBM (little is known about it), the “Son of Satan” ICBM intended to replace the SS-18 Satan heavy ICBM, a “pseudo-ICBM” with a 6,000 km range, and another ICBM recently mentioned by Russian Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin.

Russia is also developing a next-generation bomber and has recently fielded the Kalibr sub-launched cruise missile, the Kh-102 air-launched cruise missile, new warheads, and the Su-34 attack aircraft.

China is also modernizing by fielding new ICBMs (DF-31As, DF-41s), a new air-launched cruise missile (CJ-20), the new Jin class of SSBNs, improved variants of the JL-2 sub-launched ballistic missile with a 12,000 km range, and a sub-launched cruise missile. It’s also developing a new class of SSBNs (follow-on to the Jin class) and has ordered 36 Tu-22M bombers. Concurrently, both China and Russia are also developing missile defenses.

Moscow and Beijing aren’t the only nuclear threats to America, though. North Korea has 8-12 nuclear warheads, ICBMs capable of reaching the US, and – through its successful satellite test conducted last December – demonstrated capability to mate nuclear payloads to missiles, confirmed by the DIA and by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. North Korea has, since the last crisis, announced it will GROW, not give up, its nuclear arsenal – and has recently test-fired several SRBMs again. Meanwhile, Iran is racing towards nuclear weapons.

And yet, the Dems want America to dramatically and unilaterally cut America’s nuclear deterrent in the face of all of these nuclear threats! What’s more, they lie that cutting America’s deterrent unilaterally will make her and the world safer and more peaceful!

Do you see the absurdity of their claims, Dear Reader?

Let’s not mince words. The elder Bush, like his son, was a fool. His unilateral cuts in and neglect of America’s nuclear deterrent dramatically weakened America and put its security, and that of its allies, at unnecessary risk, while emboldening America’s adversaries and encouraging nuclear proliferation.

Cutting America’s nuclear deterrent further – especially unilaterally – would only aggravate these problems, and could possible invite a nuclear first strike on the US.

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

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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.

Stop the Democrats’ unilateral cuts in the US nuclear deterrent!

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The Left never ceases to attempt to weaken, sabotage, and undermine the US and its defenses. Its biggest target these days is the nuclear deterrent.

As the House moves to consider the annual defense authorization bill, the Democrats have filed a slew of amendments which, if they pass (God forbid), would deeply and unilaterally cut America’s already barely sufficient nuclear deterrent – at a time when no one else is cutting theirs and all adversaries of the US are GROWING and MODERNIZING their nuclear arsenals.

The Intercepts blog at DefenseNews.com reports that an entire slew of such amendments will be introduced by the Democrats during the floor debate; they’ll also attempt to cut the defense budget further, deeper than sequestration.

The Left absolutely must be stopped from cutting the (already barely adequate and aging) nuclear deterrent any further. By any means necessary. Here’s why.

Cutting the US nuclear deterrent – contrary to the Left’s lies – has not and will never make America and the world more secure. On the contrary, there is abundant evidence it will make America, its allies (including Israel), and the world much less secure, and the world will get much less peaceful.

Why? Because cutting America’s defenses makes the US, its allies, and the world less secure, not more. It is military strength that safeguards peace and security, and military weakness that jeopardizes them.

Nowhere is this more obvious tha in the nuclear deterrence realm. Cutting the US nuclear deterrent further will make it too small and thus much easier for America’s potential adversaries, like Russia and China, to destroy in a disarming first strike – which Russia reserves the right to conduct, and which China has refused to rule out.

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Cutting America’s arsenal will also reduce the number of enemy assets (bases, units, stockpiles, industrial facilities, etc.) that the US can hold at risk and threaten to destroy in retaliation – thus precipitously reducing America’s retaliatory power. This is what the Dems’ treasonous policies would do.

Russia’s and China’s nuclear arsenals, militaries, and base infrastructure are so large and so reduntant and disperses that the US needs thousands, not mere hundreds, of nuclear warheads to deter them – especially to deter both of them. And both of them will have the ability to reduce the US arsenal in a preemptive first strike, if it’s cut as deeply as the Dems’ and their pacifist bankrollers like the Council for a Livable World want to.

Russia has 2,800 strategic and up to 4,000 tactical nuclear warheads, deployed and nondeployed. It has 434 ICBMs (most of them multiple/warhead/armed), 251 strategic bombers (each carrying up to 6 nuclear cruise missiles and many also carrying a nuclear freefall bomb), and 14 ballistic missile subs with 16-20 missiles each, and 4-12 warheads per missile, depending on its type (Sinyeva missiles carry only 4 warheads; Liner missiles carry 12). Russian boomer subs can launch their missiles while being homeported.

Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal is even larger. It consists of up to 4,000 warheads in various forms: nuclear depth charges, nuclear bombs, warheads for short-range missiles, nuclear artillery shells, etc. Russia can deliver them by many means: surface warships, submarines, cruise missiles, artillery pieces, SRBMs, etc.

What’s more, Russia and China are GROWING, not shrinking, their nuclear arsenals. Russia has been doing so since New START ratification – as allowed to do so by that one-sided treaty, which requires cuts only in the US arsenal. Russia is adding warheads as well as delivery systems. It has resumed Tu-160 bomber production from stockpiled parts.

China also has a large arsenal – contrary to the false claims of pacifist groups. It has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads according to General Viktor Yesin (former Russian missile force chief of staff) and Professor Philip Karber, respectively. It has recently built 3,000 miles of tunnels and bunkers for its nuclear missiles and warheads. You don’t build such a vast network for only a few hundred warheads.

China currently has 87 ICBMs (20 DF-4s, 36 DF-5s, at least 30 DF-31/31As, and at least one DF-41), over 1,600 SRBMs, hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles, at least 100 MRBMs (DF-21s and DF-3s), 6 ballistic missile submarines (5 Jin class, 1 Xia class, with at least 12 nuclear-armed missiles per boat), and 440 nuclear-capable aircraft (H-6, Q-5, JH-7).

Both Russia and China are also rapidly modernizing their entire arsenals of warheads and delivery systems. Russia is developing or producing several new ICBM types: the Yars silo-based and Yars-M road-mobile ICBM, a rail-mobile ICBM, the “Avangard” ICBM (little is known about it), a “pseudo-ICBM” with a 6,000 km range, and another ICBM recently mentioned by deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin. Plus the “Son of Satan” ICBM intended to replace the SS-18 heavy ICBM.

Russia is also developing a next-generation bomber and has recently fielded the Kalibr sub-launched cruise missile, the Kh-102 air-launched cruise missile, new warheads, and the Su-34 attack aircraft.

Moscow is not only growing its arsenal but also becoming more aggressive as well. In the last 12 months, Russia has practiced simulated nuclear bomber strikes on US missile defense facilities five times, each time flying dangerously close to US or allied airspace, and three times flying into Air Defense Identification Zones – forcing US or allied fighters to scramble. For more, see here and here.

“Who told you that the Cold War was ever over? It transforms; it is like a virus,” said Russian KGB/FSB defector Sergei Tretyakov in an interview with FOX News in 2009.

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

China is also modernizing by fielding new ICBMs (DF-31As, DF-41s), a new air-launched cruise missile (CJ-20), the new Jin class of SSBNs, improved variants of the JL-2 sub-launched ballistic missile with a 12,000 km range, and a sub-launched cruise missile. It’s also developing a new class of SSBNs (follow-on to the Jin class) and has ordered 36 Tu-22M bombers. Concurrently, both China and Russia are also developing missile defenses.

Moscow and Beijing aren’t the only nuclear threats to America, though. North Korea has 8-12 nuclear warheads, ICBMs capable of reaching the US, and – through its successful satellite test conducted last December – demonstrated capability to mate nuclear payloads to missiles, confirmed by the DIA and by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. North Korea has, since the last crisis, announced it will GROW, not give up, its nuclear arsenal – and has recently test-fired several SRBMs again. Meanwhile, Iran is racing towards nuclear weapons.

And yet, the Dems want America to dramatically and unilaterally cut America’s nuclear deterrent in the face of all of these nuclear threats! What’s more, they lie that cutting America’s deterrent unilaterally will make her and the world safer and more peaceful!

Do you see the idiocy of this, Dear Reader?

Meanwhile, America’s allies are slowly losing trust in America’s nuclear umbrella, which is being continually cut and undermined by the Dems. Already, 66.5% of South Koreans want their country to have nuclear weapons, and Japan has recently opened a facility that can produce enough plutonium for 3,600 warheads in several months if need be… that is, if the US cuts its nuclear umbrella further.

If the US continues doing so, America’s allies will have no choice but to develop their own arsenals, as they cannot afford to bet their security, and indeed their very existence, on the Democrats’ “unilateral disarmament will make us safer” fantasies – or on America breaking free of Democrat rule in 2016.

What’s more, the US needs to be able to deter nuclear threats not only today, but well into the future – decades from now. That cannot be done with a tiny nuclear deterrent, because the arsenals of America’s adversaries, already large, will only grow in the future. Thus, so must America’s arsenal.

Remember: in the nuclear deterrence business, there is zero allowable margin of risk and zero room for error.

Cutting America’s nuclear deterrent has only made her, her allies, and the world much less secure and peaceful. The US has reduced its arsenal by over 75% since the Cold War’s end; stopped designing, producing, or testing new warheads; hasn’t deployed a new ICBM since 1986 and a new bomber since the early 1990s; hasn’t modernized its nuclear warheads or facilities since the Cold War’s end; and is not seriously modernizing what arsenal it has left.

(This is a deliberate Obama administration policy: their Undesecretary of State for Arms Control has said, “We’re not modernizing. That has been one of the basic tenets and principles of our policy.”)

Meanwhile, Russia has begun rebuilding its nuclear arsenal, China has dramatically increased its, and two new states – Pakistan and North Korea – have joined the nuclear club. Iran is well on its way there, defying all international sanctions.

Judged by the results, “arms control” – cutting the US nuclear arsenal deeply – has been an utter failure which has made America, its allies, and the world dramatically less secure while encouraging nuclear proliferation.

The US should do the exact opposite of what the Democrats demand. It should modernize and grow, not cut, its nuclear arsenal.

UPDATE: The debate is now ongoing on the House floor. Liberal Democrat Jim Cooper of Tennessee, one of the most vociferous Democrat opponents of America’s nuclear deterrent, has just made the ridiculous statement that

“What’s good for a missile base in Wyoming is not necessarily good for our country.”

The missile base he referred to is Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in WY. Do you believe, Congressman, that having a strong, large, and dispersed nuclear deterrent, consisting of three legs (ICBMs, bombers, submarines) is a bad thing? That having a large nuclear deterrent to dissuade Russia, China, and North Korea is a bad thing? Because that is exactly what you suggest when you make such claims.

This is not about one missile base in Wyoming. This is about preserving the nuclear deterrent – the part of our defenses which is responsible for protecting America and its allies against the gravest threats we face – Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. And ICBMs are by far the cheapest, most ready, and most responsive part of that deterrent, costing only 1 bn dollars per year to maintain. No real savings can be achieved by cutting them. Congressman Cooper is a fool and needs to apologize to the folks in WY and to the Air Force.

UPDATE #2: The House has passed an amendment to preserve America’s current ICBMs in operational status, thus barring Obama from scrapping them. While 7 Democrats voted for it, 4 pseudoconservative “libertarian” Republicans voted against it: Justin Amash of MI, Mick Mulvaney of SC, Thomas Massie of KY, and Putin lover Dana Rohrabacher of CA.

In so doing, these 4 RINOs essentially voted to give Obama a free hand to scrap America’s ICBMs – the cheapest, most ready, most responsive, and most dispersed leg of the nuclear triad, joining 185 liberal Democrats – their true ideological allies.

There is absolutely NO excuse – military, fiscal or other – for what they’ve done. The entire ICBM fleet costs only 1 billion per year to maintain, so even scrapping it completely would save only 1 bn dollars – not even a drop in the bucket that the budget deficit is.

In addition to being the cheapest, the ICBM leg of the triad is also the most ready, most responsive, and most dispersed one, deployed in 450 different (and hardened) siloes across North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming and with a 95-99% readiness rate at any moment. It could be launched minutes after the President giving the order.

And perhaps that’s why the Left – including leftist anti-defense Republicans like Amash, Massie, Mulvaney, and Rohrabacher have targeted it – because it’s so powerful, so ready, and so responsive at such a little fiscal cost.

The only good thing they’ve done by voting against maintaining America’s ICBMs is to show the entire nation that they are pseudoconservatives and are, in fact, strident anti-defense liberals/libertarians, and do not belong in the GOP or in the Congress.

There is NO excuse for voting AGAINST preserving ICBMs – the cheapest, most ready, and most responsive leg of the nuclear triad.

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll223.xml

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.”

Rebuttal of Obama’s SOTU lies about America’s nuclear deterrent

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When he delivers the SOTU tonight, Obama will likely mention his plan to deeply cut (read: dramatically weaken) further America’s already excessively cut nuclear deterrent at a time when Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, and India are all growing and modernizing nuclear arsenals, and just a day after North Korea tested a nuclear weapon – thus utterly refuting Obama’s notions of a “nuclear-free world”.

Republicans have the duty and the power to stop his cuts of America’s nuclear deterrent while explaining to the public – in their rebuttal of Obama’s SOTU as well as on other occassions – why Obama’s policy is suicidal and treasonous and why America needs a large nuclear deterrent and will need it for the foreseeable future.

The following is offered as advice on how to refute the lies that Obama is likely to make in his remarks.

Obama will likely falsely claim that:

1) “America has more nuclear weapons than needed for national security.”

Yet, on close inspection, this claim is completely false.

A significantly smaller nuclear arsenal will not be able to meet most, let alone all, of America’s defense requirements and those of its allies. It will not be able to effectively deter America’s enemies for the simple reason that it will be too small. Being significantly smaller, it will not be survivable enough and will thus be much easier for both Russia and China to destroy in a nuclear first strike on the US. Even if they refrain from such a drastic action, they will certainly use America’s weakness to intimidateWashington and its allies and to attack American allies and interests around the world. Don’t delude yourself that Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran would refrain from doing that if they had the opportunity to do so.

The fact is that a nuclear arsenal, in order to be survivable, MUST be large – there’s no way around that fact. In order to be an effective deterrent, it also must be able to hold the vast majority of enemy military and economic assets at risk. A smaller arsenal and the new nuclear strategy prepared for Obama’s signature will be utterly unable to do so.

This is because there are simply so many strategic and nonstrategic weapon sites and other important military (and economic) targets in Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran that being able to target a majority of them will require far more warheads than Obama would allow – not a mere 1000-1100, but at least 1,550, if not more. The Heritage Foundation’s nuclear weapons experts have estimated that about 2,700-3,000 nuclear warheads are required for that.

And why is it important to target at least a majority, if not the vast majority, of an enemy’s assets? Because only then will he suffer a truly devastating and prohibitively costly retaliation if he commits aggression. If he loses only a minority of his assets – even if they’re the most important ones – he will not be deterred from attacking. Only if the vast majority of his assets are held at risk will he refrain from aggression.

A small nuclear arsenal could only target Russian, Chinese, North Korean, and Iranian population centers, as it would be woefully insufficient to hold the majority of enemy military assets at risk. This would mean a shift from counterforce to countervalue targeting – i.e. targeting innocent civilian populations (which Russian, Chinese, NK, and Iranian leaders don’t value anyway) instead of enemy warmaking capability. Is this the policy we want? The proponents of arms reduction do.

But such a policy would arguably be immoral, and would not be accepted by most Americans. So the only credible and acceptable policy is counterforce – which requires a large number of warheads.

Yet, Obama and his bureaucrats and apparatchiks don’t care about that. All they care about is disarming the US and creating their pipedream “world without nuclear weapons”, a fiction that will never exist (as NK’s nuclear test yesterday proves).

So instead of reviewing possible targets and then deciding on how many warheads the US needs, they’ll instead impose an ideological, arbitrary warhead cut on the military: no more than 1000-1100 warheads, and the military will have to adapt its targeting strategy to that.

They’ve got it exactly backwards. They’re imposing an arbitrary warhead limit on the military and forcing it to THEN come up with a targeting strategy to fit that limit.

2) “Nuclear weapons are relics of the Cold War.”

This false claim doesn’t even meet the straight face test. Nuclear weapons are highly relevant in today’s security environment.

The biggest military threats to America are Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. The first three have nuclear weapons; Iran is racing to acquire them. The biggest threat posed by these countries is that of a large-scale nuclear or (in Russia’s or China’s case) attack by them.

Russia has a very large strategic nuclear arsenal (2,800 warheads, 1,500 of them deployed and 1,300 in reserve) and the means to deliver it:

  • Over 250 strategic bombers (64 Tu-95s, 16 Tu-160s, and 151-171[1] Tu-22Ms), each capable of carrying six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and a nuclear freefall bomb;
  • 14 ballistic missile submarines (5 Delta III class, 7 Delta IV class, 1 Typhoon class, and 1 Borei class submarine), which can carry 16 ballistic missiles each (the Typhoon class boat can carry 20); these missiles include the 12-warhead Liner SLBM and the 10-warhead Bulava SLBM;
  • 434 ICBMs, including (numbers in parentheses refer to the maximum warhead carriage capacity):
  1. 58 SS-18 Satan missiles (10 warheads and 30 penetration aids each);
  2. 136 SS-19 Stiletto missiles (6 warheads/missile);
  3. 171 SS-25 Sickle (RT-2PM Topol) missiles (single-warhead);
  4. 74 SS-27 Sickle B (RT-2UTTH) missiles (single-warhead);
  5. at least 18 SS-29 (RS-24) missiles (4 warheads/missile).

The Satan fleet alone can carry 580 warheads to the CONUS. Russia’s ICBMs are not currently loaded with the maximum possible number of warheads, but can be thus loaded at any time, if the Kremlin so orders.

Russia also has a huge tactical nuclear arsenal – far larger than America’s. It is estimated to have at least 1,000-4,000 tactical nuclear warheads – by any measure, far more than the US has (about 500). These are warheads of various types: missile warheads, aircraft bombs, nuclear depth charges, nuclear torpedo warheads, nuclear artillery shells, etc. They are deliverable by a wide range of systems, including aircraft (e.g. the Su-24, Su-25, Tupolev bombers, and the Su-27/30/33/34/35 Flanker family; Russia plans to procure 200 Su-34s), short-range ballistic missiles (e.g. the SS-26 Stone), surface warships, submarines, and artillery pieces.

So Russia alone has a huge nuclear arsenal which America must defend itself and its allies against. It has, in recent years, made repeated threats (over a dozen in the last 4 years alone) to use these weapons against the US or its allies if they don’t succumb to Russia’s demands on various issues.

Thus, the Russian threat, by itself, is huge and justifies the retention of a large US nuclear arsenal.

China has 1,800, and potentially up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, as determined in objective, impartial studies independently by Professor Philip Karber (Georgetown) and Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, a former Russian missile force chief of staff. Their estimates are based on Chinese fissile material stockpiles, delivery system inventories, potential targets for China, and itsst, 3,000-mile-long network of tunnels for nuclear missiles (which the US has to be able to destroy to be capable of credible retaliation if China attacks). China’s nuclear arsenal is so large and so sophisticated and survivable that General Yesin visited the US last year to warn US policymakers about that fact.

North Korea has about 12 nuclear warheads and the capability to deliver them to the US, as demonstrated by its successful December 2012 test of a genuine ICBM and the fact that it can mate nuclear warheads to ballistic missiles. North Korea, of course, also has large arsenals of SRBMs and MRBMs.

Iran is currently developing nuclear weapons and may have them by next year. It is also developing an ICBM capable of hitting the US, which US intel estimates it may have by 2015, and already possesses ballistic missiles which can hit targets as far away as Warsaw (e.g. the Sejjil missile).

Moreover, while Russia and China are threats to many but protectors to nobody, the US has to provide a nuclear deterrent not only for itself but also for 30 allies, many of whom would otherwise develop their own nuclear weapons. If the US nuclear arsenal is further cut significantly, they (especially Japan and South Korea) will have no choice but to “go nuclear.” This will make the proliferation problem much worse.

3) “Nuclear weapons are too costly to maintain. We can save a lot of money by cutting their number.”

This claim is also utterly false. The entire ICBM leg of the nuclear triad costs only $1.1 bn to maintain; the bomber leg, only $2.5 bn. The total nuclear arsenal and its supporting facilities and workforce cost $32 bn to $35 bn per year to maintain according to the Stimson Center. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the DOD’s annual budget (over $600 bn), the annual federal budget deficit ($1 trillion), or the total annual federal budget ($3.6 trillion).

Eliminating both the bomber and ICBM legs of the triad would “save” a tiny $3.6 bn per year – 0.1% of the total federal budget. It’s nothing. It’s less than a rounding error.

4) “Cutting our nuclear arsenal will convince others to give up their nukes. If we give up ours, North Korea will give up its.”

This false claim is downright laughable. There is zero evidence supporting it. In fact, while the US has been dramatically cutting its nuclear arsenal since the Cold War’s end – from over 20,000 warheads in 1991 to 5,000 today – two new states (Pakistan and North Korea) have joined the nuclear club and fielded ICBMs, while China has dramatically expanded its nuclear arsenal. India and Israel have grown theirs. Moreover, all of these countries consistently refuse to even talk about, let alone give up, their nuclear arsenals. China has recently categorically rejected nuclear disarmament and North Korea has just tested a nuclear weapon. What’s more, China has actively AIDED North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

Other countries don’t give a damn about America’s “moral example” or “leadership by example”. They don’t care about American gestures. All they care about is THEIR military strength and how it compares to America’s. If the US cuts its nuclear arsenal, they will only see it as a sign of weakness – which it would be. It will never convince them to give up their nuclear arms.

Signing and implementing New START has not convinced other countries to give up their nukes.

Moreover, further cuts to America’s arsenal will not enhance America’s “credibility” in the yes of the “international community” or convince that community to place meaningful pressure on North Korea and Iran; the “international community” has utterly failed to do so.

That Obama (reportedly) plans to cynically use North Korea’s nuclear test to justify further deep reductions in America’s own deterrent is mindboggling, ridiculous, despicable, and outrageous. As North Korea, China, and Russia grow their nuclear arsenals, it is foolish and suicidal to cut America’s. North Korea’s nuclear test is an argument AGAINST Obama’s US nuclear arsenal cuts, not for them.

In sum, there are absolutely NO reasons to cut the US nuclear arsenal. But there are many reasons NOT to do it. Republicans should study the above facts and disseminate them widely to counter the blatant lies that Obama will likely make tonight to defend his indefensible, deep cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent and thus America’s deterring power. Republicans also have the power AND the duty to STOP Obama’s gutting of America’s nuclear arsenal.

For more information and analysis of America’s nuclear deterrence needs, check out my website. Recommended reading includes this, this, this, this, this, this, this, thisthis, and this article.

Also, Dear Readers, please call your Congressman and both of your Senators and tell them that you will NEVER vote for them again if they don’t stop America’s unilateral disarmament by Obama.

Pacifist Obama decides on deeper nuclear deterrent cuts

On the ForeignPolicy.com website, R. Jeffrey Smith of the extremely leftist “Center for Public Integrity” says that Barack Obama and his administration’s officials have settled on the number to which they will cut America’s nuclear deterrent beyond the cuts already imposed, and to try to justify these cuts, which he enthusiastically supports, he makes a litany of false claims.

In other words, his screed is a litany of blatant lies.

The deployed US nuclear arsenal is to be cut, under Obama’s plans, from 1,550 to just 1,000-1,100 warheads – i.e. by a third. Obama also wants to reduce America’s total nuclear stockpile – including reserve warheads and tactical nuclear weapons – to just 2,500, i.e. by 50%, from about 5,000 today.

Smith tacitly admits that these cuts – and their announcement – were cowardly delayed until Obama was safely reelected so that Obama would not lose the election:

“Several said the results were not disclosed at the time partly because of political concerns that any resulting controversy might rob Obama of votes in the November election. Some Republican lawmakers have said they oppose cutting the U.S. arsenal out of concern that it could diminish America’s standing in the world.”

This is a tacit recognition that American voters would likely NOT approve of his planned gutting of America’s nuclear deterrent, and would’ve likely voted him out of office, had the cuts been announced prior to the election

It is only now that Obama will announce these cuts, now that he’s safely reelected and that he doesn’t have to face voters again.

Smith says that “Senior Obama administration officials have agreed that the number of nuclear warheads the U.S. military deploys could be cut by at least a third without harming national security, according to sources involved in the deliberations”, and falsely claims of the draft nuclear arsenal cut decision and targeting strategy that “It makes clear that an even smaller nuclear force can still meet all defense requirements.”

But that is completely false. A significantly smaller nuclear arsenal will not be able to meet most, let alone all, of America’s defense requirements and those of its allies. It will not be able to effectively deter America’s enemies for the simple reason that it will be too small. Being significantly smaller, it will not be survivable enough and will thus be much easier for both Russia and China to destroy in a nuclear first strike on the US. Even if they refrain from such a drastic action, they will certainly use America’s weakness to intimidate Washington and its allies and to attack American allies and interests around the world. Don’t delude yourself that Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran would refrain from doing that if they had the opportunity to do so.

The fact is that a nuclear arsenal, in order to be survivable, MUST be large – there’s no way around that fact. In order to be an effective deterrent, it also must be able to hold the vast majority of enemy military and economic assets at risk. A smaller arsenal and the new nuclear strategy prepared for Obama’s signature will be utterly unable to do so.

This is because there are simply so many strategic and nonstrategic weapon sites and other important military (and economic) targets in Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran that being able to target a majority of them will require far more warheads than Obama would allow – not a mere 1000-1100, but at least 1,550, if not more. The Heritage Foundation’s nuclear weapons experts have estimated that about 2,700-3,000 nuclear warheads are required for that.

And why is it important to target at least a majority, if not the vast majority, of an enemy’s assets? Because only then will he suffer a truly devastating and prohibitively costly retaliation if he commits aggressions. If he loses only a minority of his assets – even if they’re the most important ones – he will not be deterred from attacking. Only if the vast majority of his assets are held at risk will he refrain from aggression.

Yet, Obama and his bureaucrats and apparatchiks don’t care about that. All they care about is disarming the US and creating their pipedream “world without nuclear weapons”, a fiction that will never exist.

So instead of reviewing possible targets and then deciding on how many warheads the US needs, they’ll instead impose an ideological, arbitrary warhead cut on the military: no more than 1000-1100 warheads, and the military will have to adapt its targeting strategy to that.

They’ve got it exactly backwards. They’re imposing an arbitrary warhead limit on the military and forcing it to THEN come up with a targeting strategy to fit that limit.

Smith also uncritically repeats the 2010 NPR’s false claim that nuclear weapons are

“poorly suited to address the challenges posed by suicidal terrorists and unfriendly regimes seeking nuclear weapons.”

This is a blatant lie. Nuclear weapons are very well suited to defend America and its allies against rogue regimes seeking or already possessing nuclear weapons. When your enemy is seeking – or already has – such weapons, a large and survivable nuclear deterrent is your ONLY chance of survival.

Indeed, America’s nuclear deterrent is its – and its allies’ – only real insurance policy against the large nuclear arsenals of Russia and China, the small but growing arsenal of North Korea (which Pyongyang plans to test again later this month), and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Conventional weapons cannot substitute; only nuclear weapons have the striking power capable of imposing a sufficient retaliation and thus of deterring these enemies.

As I have documented and proven numerous times, most recently last week on CDN, nuclear weapons are not relics of a bygone era; they are vital assets which are very much needed today to deter Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

Smith also falsely claims that:

“The financial savings from even the modest reduction now being contemplated could be substantial, according to officials and independent experts. Already, to comply with New Start, the Pentagon has been pulling warheads from land-based missiles and making plans to decommission some of the missiles themselves; it is also planning to reduce the number of missile tubes aboard its Trident submarines.

By pushing the arsenal size even lower, it could close perhaps two of its three land-based missile wings and cut at least two of the 12 new strategic submarines it now plans to build — saving $6 billion to $8 billion for each one. Eliminating a single wing of 150 missiles would save roughly $360 million a year, or more than $3 billion over a decade, according to Tom Collina, research director at the Arms Control Association, a non-profit research group in Washington. Modernization of the remaining land-based missiles might also be deferred, bringing additional savings.”

Firstly, Collina is not an expert, he’s an extremely leftist pro-unilateral-disarmament propagandist. He has zero expertise in the field of national security. Indeed, no real expert worth his salt would make claims as ridiculous as those quoted above.

Secondly, compliance with New START treaty produces only tiny “savings” but high compliance costs (of dismantling the missiles and warheads and disabling submarine missile tubes) and, on balance, costs far more money than it saves.

Thirdly, the claim that eliminating a single wing of ICBM would save “roughly $360 million a year” is false. Even eliminating the ENTIRE ICBM leg of the nuclear triad would save only 1 bn USD per year; cutting one of the current 3 ICBM wings would save even less. Furthermore, given that the ICBM leg of the triad is the cheapest and most reliable of the three legs of the triad, the damage thus done to national security would far outweight the meagre monetary savings this would produce.

Fourthly, eliminating one SSBN of the planned new ballistic missile submarine class would save, at most, only $4.9 bn per year (which is their real cost), not $6-8 bn as the author falsely claims. Furthermore, fewer submarines in total means fewer submarines at sea, which means fewer targets for Russian or Chinese attack submarines to sink.

Fifth, the claim – which the author repeates throughout the entire article – that the deep cuts Obama has ordered will save lots of money is also completely false. All of the cuts that Obama has now decided on will not make ANY impact – even the most meager one – on the budget deficit, which is $1 trillion per year. Even saving, say, $10 bn per year on nuclear weapons would not make even the most trivial impact on the federal budget deficit. What’s more, even eliminating the entire US nuclear arsenal altogether would not make any meaningful impact on the deficit, because the US nuclear arsenal costs only $35.2 bn per year to maintain.

Remember: the entire federal budget deficit is 1 trillion per year. Even eliminating the nuclear arsenal entirely would not even make a dent in the deficit.

Moreover, Jeffrey Smith’s claim that China has a “deterrence-only policy” is also a blatant lie. China actually has a far larger arsenal than the author and other disarmament proponents claim. It has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, and the means to deliver at least 1,274 of them immediately, including about 200 of them to the US.

Smith also falsely claims that other nuclear weapon states are also reconsidering their nuclear arsenals, but the only country doing so – and the only example he gives – is cash-strapped Britain where, as in the US, even supposedly “conservative” politicians prefer to cut defense rather than social spending (which, in the British government budget, is 7 times higher than defense spending). An unnamed British official claims that Britain needs a “debate” on nuclear deterrence and might scale back or cancel its procurement or deployment of new SSBNs and their warheads.

But Britain is the ONLY nuclear weapon state other than the US cutting its nuclear arsenal. No other country is doing so. Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, India, and Israel are all GROWING and MODERNIZING, not shrinking, their nuclear arsenals. They have no intention of cutting, let alone giving up, their nuclear arsenals.

So we’re seeing the most dangerous phenomenon and most dangerous world possible: the West is unilaterally disarming itself while Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, and others are growing their nuclear arsenals!

This is a recipe for suicide, aggression, death, and destruction.

Finally, the claim – which the author and Obama administration officials continue to repeat throughout the article – that the US will still be secure even with such a significantly reduced arsenal is also a blatant lie. The US will not be secure. The US will be threatened and frequently blackmailed by both Russia and China. Moreover, even if the cuts are done through a treaty with Russia, it’s very likely that Russia will not comply with it, just like it hasn’t complied with any previous treaty it has signed.

Furthermore, we must not forget that while Russia and China are threats to many and protectors to nobody, the US is responsible for providing a nuclear deterrrent not just for itself, but also for 30 allies. If the US makes the cuts that Obama calls for, many of America’s allies will have no choice but to develop their own nuclear weapons. And you can bet that they will.

Shame on Jeffrey Smith for writing this litany of blatant leftist lies, and shame on Foreign Policy for publishing it.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/02/08/obama_embraces_big_nuke_cuts