Tag Archives: Nuclear Program

CNS and Cirincione are lying; America needs a LARGE nuclear deterrent

nukeexplosion

The leftist, California-based “Center for Nonproliferation Studies” and the also leftist, Democrat-run CBO have recently released rigged “studies” claiming that nuclear weapons modernization and maintenance will cost the US $355 bn over the next decade and$1 trillion over the next 30 years.

These figures are wildly exaggerated and not based on any accurate statistics, and their purpose, of course, is to propagandize and mislead the public and the Congress into foregoing the US nuclear deterrent’s modernization – thus allowing it to decay and rust out due to old age. In other words, these leftists want to disarm the US through nonmodernization and nonreplacement of its nuclear deterrent – by simply allowing it to decay without refit or replacement.

Ploughshares Fund president Joe Cirincione, a radical anti-nuke leftist activist whom Frank Gaffney has often humiliated on TV, goes even further and demands deep cuts to America’s nuclear deterrent right now. He falsely claims that the deterrent is still configured to prevent a massive nuclear attack by Russia and not to counter 21st century challenges. He falsely claims further that “configuring” the nuclear arsenal to counter “21st century threats” would permit radical, deep cuts in that arsenal.

All of these are blatant lies. I’ll show you why. I’ll start with why the US needs to maintain a large nuclear arsenal and modernize all of its legs.

So why exactly?

Because the 21st century threat environment – the very environment Cirincione claims to be concerned about – requires a large, modern US nuclear arsenal.

The biggest threats to US security by far are Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran (in that order). Nothing else comes even close to posing as much a security threat as these four hostile dictatorships. Specifically, it is their military buildups, and particularly their nuclear programs, that pose the biggest threat to US, allied, and world security.

Russia and China both have large nuclear arsenals. Moscow has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (according to the Federation of American Scientists), of which 1,500 are deployed and 50 further will be soon, and around 4,000 tactical nuclear warheads (many of which can be delivered against the US). To deliver them, Russia has over 410 ICBMs, 13 ballistic missile submarines, 251 strategic bombers, and around 20 attack submarines capable of carrying nuclear cruise missiles anywhere in the world. To deliver its tactical warheads, Russia has those attack submarines plus short-range ballistic missiles, attack aircraft, surface warships, artillery pieces, and IRBMs such as the Yars-M.

China has at least 1,600, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, according to former Russian missile force chief Gen. Viktor Yesin and Georgetown Professor Philip Karber (who was the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist under President Reagan). To deliver them, Beijing wields 75-87 ICBMs (and is adding more every year), 120-160 strategic bombers, 6 ballistic missile subs, over 120 MRBMs, over 1,200 SRBMs, and 280 tactical strike aircraft. Note that China, like Russia, is adding more nuclear weapons and delivery systems every year.

Both Moscow and Beijing are now growing and rapidly modernizing their nuclear triads: they are developing, producing, and deploying next-generation ICBMs, ballistic missile subs, and bombers. Both of them are now developing stealthy intercontinental bombers capable of hitting the US, as well as rail-mobile ICBMs.

To cut the US nuclear arsenal any further, let alone deeply, in the face of these aggressive Russian and Chinese nuclear buildup aimed exclusively at the US and its allies, would be utterly suicidal and indeed treasonous. It would openly invite a Russian or Chinese nuclear first strike on the US.

That’s because, in order to be survivable and credible, a nuclear arsenal MUST be large – no smaller than the enemy’s. Otherwise, it will be very easy for the enemy to destroy in a preemptive first strike, and even without one, it will be too small to hold most of the enemy’s military and economic assets at risk.

Moscow and Beijing not only have large nuclear arsenals, they’re quite willing to use them. In fact, in the last 7 years, Russia has threatened to aim or use nuclear weapons against the US or its allies on 16 separate occassions, and in the last 2 years has flown nuclear-armed bombers into or close to US and allied airspace. In May 2012, when its bombers overtly practiced a nuclear strike on Alaska, the Russian Air Force said to the press it was “practicing attacking the enemy.”

Not only that, but in its military doctrine Russia openly claims a right to use nuclear weapons first – even if the opponent does not have any nuclear weapons!

Moreover, the US now has to deter not only Russia and China, but North Korea and Iran as well.

On top of that, the US has to provide a credible nuclear deterrent not only to itself, but to over 30 allies around the world: all NATO members, Israel, Gulf countries, and Pacific allies such as the Philippines, Japan, and South Korea. These allies are watching the state of the US nuclear arsenal closely and will develop their own if the US cuts its umbrella further. Thus making the problem of proliferation – which the CNS and Ploughshares falsely pretend to be concerned about – that much worse.

The truth is that the need for a large nuclear deterrent, and the nuclear triad, has never been greater. America needs them now more than ever. In this 21st century threat environment marked by three (soon to be four) hostile nuclear powers, two of them with large nuclear arsenals, it would be utterly suicidal and foolish to cut the US nuclear arsenal further, let alone deeply so.

OK, but what about the cost?

The cost isn’t – and will not be – nearly as high as the CNS and the CBO falsely claim. It will amount to roughly $200 bn per decade according to the DOD and the Air Force Global Strike Command.

But even if one accepts the CBO’s exaggerated figure of $355 bn per decade, that still amounts to only $35.5 bn per year, out of a total military budget of $607 bn in FY2014. That is a paltry 5.8% of the military budget.

Anyone who claims that America cannot afford to invest 35.5 bn per year – a meager 5.8% of its military budget – in modernizing its nuclear deterrent (its most valuable shield against aggression) – is an idiot or a deceitful, lying bastard.

In fact, even the leftist Center for Nonproliferation Studies admits in its “study” that even at the peak of US nuclear modernization efforts, the US will devote only 3% of its military budget to nuclear modernization. Which means 97% will be spent on non-nuclear programs. And that’s during the peak years of nuclear modernization efforts. The CNS says such proportions would be similar to those seen under Ronald Reagan in the 1980s – the last time the US modernized its nuclear deterrent.

(Indeed, if the cost of nuclear modernization seems great, it is precisely because of the many decades of nonmodernization, neglect, precipitous cuts, and underfunding of the US nuclear arsenal. These many decades of neglect have consequences, and the bill for these three decades of negligence has now arrived.)

Furthermore, the CNS itself admits that the US spends only 8 billion dollars per year maintaining its nuclear triad. This is consistent with USAF figures, according to which ICBMs cost only $1.1 bn, and bombers only $2.5 bn, per year to maintain.

But the CNS and other leftist organizations – such as the ACA and the CLW – still have the nerve to claim that nuclear modernization, and in particular Ohio class submarine replacement, “threatens to jeopardize the rest of the fleet.” This is a blatant lie, considering that by their own admission nuclear modernization, even at peak years, will consume only 3-6% of the total military budget.

The fact is that America’s nuclear weapons budget and modernization programme is, and will certainly remain, way too small to threaten any conventional programs.

On the contrary, it is conventional weapon programs’ escalating costs that are threatening nuclear modernization. For example, the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, will cost $12.8 bn by the time it’s completed, and the next carrier, the Kennedy, will cost $10.8 bn. The tri-service F-35 Junk Strike Fighter program will cost an astounding $391 bn to develop and procure!

The Navy could save itself a lot of money, and be able to buy lots of different ships (including new SSBNs) if it ended its obsession with hyperexpensive and vulnerable aircraft carriers, cut its carrier fleet, invested more in submarines, and dramatically cut its internal bureaucracy – ESPECIALLY at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), which procures ships.

The fact is that the US nuclear modernization program is perfectly affordable, cheap, and absolutely necessary in light of the nuclear threats posed by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. Therefore, the claims of the CNS, the ACA, the CLW, Ploughshares, and other leftist, anti-nuclear organizations are utterly false, as always.

Sen. Lindsey Graham wants to attack Iran

DonkeyHotey (CC)

DonkeyHotey (CC)

DonkeyHotey (CC)


While President Obama is signalling that he’s willing to talk with Iran’s president, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is calling for an attack. While he admits that it’s not likely that he’ll get enough support to carry out any military action against Iran, Graham is insisting that it is something that the U.S. must do, to protect our interests in the region – or more importantly, to protect Israel.

“The mixed message and the debacle called Syria can’t be repeated when it comes to Iran,” Graham continued. “So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to get a bipartisan coalition together. We’re going to put together a use-of-force resolution allowing our country to use military force as a last resort to stop the Iranian nuclear program, to make sure they get a clear signal that all this debacle about Syria doesn’t mean we’re confused about Iran.”

Beyond the issue of involving the U.S. in yet another war, one issue with Graham’s proposal would be defining exactly what “last resort” is, especially in light of the current problem in Syria, with Obama’s “red line” on chemical weapons. While Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did define what the limit should be in regard to Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, that may not be the line the U.S. would want to draw. While attempts at diplomacy are being considered now with the President Hassan Rouhani, it’s also true that any talks are not likely to cause Iran to stop the centrifuges that are rapidly moving toward the point of producing weapon-level nuclear material.

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Obama willing to meet Iran’s Rouhani at UN

Official_Photo_of_Hassan_Rouhani,_7th_President_of_Iran,_August_2013

Official_Photo_of_Hassan_Rouhani,_7th_President_of_Iran,_August_2013

The White House has expressed the President Obama is willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN, offering the possibility of warming relations between the two nations that have been at odds since the 1979 revolution in Iran. This is undoubtedly in response to a less militant veneer that Rouhani has brought to his office, since the end of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s departure. The change in posture in Iran has been credited to Rouhani being more “moderate” than his predecessor, however as far as Iran’s nuclear aspirations are concerned, it is important to remember that he had been instrumental in advancing the nuclear program in that nation for years.

While Obama may be open to trusting the new leadership in Iran, Israel is not so sure. The Israelis are acutely aware of Rouhani’s history in regard to Iran’s nuclear program, and are assuming that the new president is going to attempt to use a softer touch to get what the leaders in his nation want – nuclear capability. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also pointed out that Rouhani’s claims that he does not intend to continue work on acquiring a nuclear weapon are “deceptive”.

“The Iranians are spinning stories in the media so that the centrifuges can keep on spinning,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The true test is not in Rowhani’s words, but in the actions taken but the Iranian regime, which—while Rowhani is giving interviews—continues to push its nuclear program.”

Finding a Winning Strategy in Iran

Nuclear Iran

Preventing Iran from getting the capability to manufacture nuclear bombs is obviously high on the list of concerns for the White House, and will be for the foreseeable future. Finding a way to do that is another issue entirely. While pundits from the U.S. often talk about the concept of “spin” in news reports, our journalists are amateurs in comparison with the religious leaders in Iran. And that is part of our current problem in dealing with their leadership.

Nuclear Iran

Mark Rain (CC)


On a very simplistic level, Americans are incapable of fully understanding the depth of resolve in Iran. It is a cultural divide that exacerbates the situation. The region in general is influenced to this day by tribal and clan feuds dating back thousands of years. In Islamist regimes like Iran, government is backed by God, as far as the people are concerned. That, coupled with the relative isolation of the nation from the rest of the world, leaves religious leaders there with the ability to spin the story about the current trade restrictions against Iran as an evil plot by infidels, or whatever they choose. While those leaders control to some extent what information gets in to the citizens, they also control what gets out. Only recently, the West got a taste of what could be a daily occurrence in Iran for all we know – citizens protesting against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Add to that the fact that Iran has a history of instability, and cannot under any circumstances be trusted to honor promises or treaties, and it becomes one of the most difficult diplomacy problems facing the U.S.

It is a given that Iran will be a large part of the foreign policy debate between Obama and Romney this fall. But, it will necessarily be in general terms that will likely be useless in practice, and will only be for the benefit of the public and pundits. And it is unlikely that there will be much from Romney’s side that will differ greatly from the current course of action, if for no other reason, because the options are fairly limited. No one that wants to be elected this November will suggest military action in Iran, outside of unmanned air-strikes, or limited surgical actions to reduce Iran’s ability to produce enriched Uranium. And any debate on that would be limited to what is already known publicly about those operations, so there would be logistical issues to address in such a plan – Iran apparently has been building facilities underground, presumably out of the reach of conventional air-strikes.

While the release of video showing domestic unrest is somewhat heartening, it is without real context. Yes, the people are angry with Ahmadinejad, but they could just as easily be more angry with the U.S. – a likely scenario, given that they are undoubtedly given daily doses of anti-Western rhetoric from clerics. The video evidence is also anecdotal, so it would be foolish to think that it is a sign of a potential mass uprising and eventual regime change. For the true cynics out there, change might not be good either – there are no guarantees that once the dust settles, the new leadership would be any friendlier with the U.S. or Israel.

Arab nations in the region add to the instability of the situation as well. Syria’s problems give Iran incentive to move forward faster toward nuclear capabilities, since that nation is its only real ally in the region. Then there is the issue of other Arab nations seeking nuclear arms in the wake of Iran accomplishing that end. That alone is arguably the greatest reason for preventing Iran from entering the nuclear club.

Then there is the possibility that Israel would render all U.S. diplomatic considerations moot by initiating a strike against Iran. If this happens before November, it would radically change the situation for our election, obviously. If it happens at all, it virtually guarantees U.S. involvement in yet another war. Any plan for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities that does not take Israel into consideration should be left on the drawing board. If Romney wants to truly exploit deficiencies in the Obama course of action, this is it. The current administration’s diplomatic failures with Israel should be tied into the Iran problem.

The one thing this administration might have done right was to enlist Russia in the diplomatic process. There is a tiny glimmer of hope that their restarting of talks with Tehran may cause the end of the current problem. While it may not leave all parties happy, since it may result in Iran’s ability to export power from nuclear plants, it is at least progress.

As for finding a winning strategy in Iran, perhaps the answer lies in the middle, between extending an open hand as the Obama administration is doing, and offering only a fist, like Iran. But, no matter what is chosen, if the U.S. does not stop characterizing itself as a weakling on the world stage, our nation will pay for it. There is such a thing as tough diplomacy, and as a nation, we need to embrace that stance once again.

Suggested Reading:

Keeping Iran in Check

The Israeli and Arab Dimensions of Iran’s Nuclear Program

The Ghost of Iran’s Future

Claims of major nuclear advances coming from Iran

On Wednesday, in a continued show of defiance against sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, Iran announced two major advances in its nuclear program. A CNN report said Iranian President Ahmadinejad was at the reactor to personally hand load domestically made file rods while also announcing a new generation of advanced centrifuges with the intent to produce yellowcake, which is used to enrich uranium. Yellowcake is a material which the United Nations has banned Iran from developing.

Tehran displayed further resistance as state media reported the Islamic Nation was taking steps to stop oil exports to six European countries as a result of the sanctions. This would include an oil ban. It’s reported Iran has already discontinued exports to France and the Netherlands while placing an ultimatum on Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal demanding they either sign long term contracts with Iran or be cut off completely. The ban on Iranian oil by the EU set to go in effect in July.

On Wednesday Iran’s head nuclear negotiator formally notified the EU’s foreign policy chief that Iran has a willingness to resume talks with world powers over its nuclear program. However many in the West feel it’s ploy to buy more time.

Ahmadinejad: the world will soon witness Iran’s “major nuclear achievements”

Saturday, before state TV, Iranian President Ahmadinejad stated that Iran in the near future will announce significant progress in its nuclear program.

The announcement came on the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution before thousands of Iranians, carrying flags and pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei while chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America”, in state-organized rallies across the Islamic republic.

“In the coming days the world will witness Iran’s announcement of its very important and very major nuclear achievements,” Ahmadinejad said to a crowd at Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom). He gave no specific details.

Despite sanctions imposed by the United States and its European allies in an attempt to force Tehran back to the table for more talks. Iran continues to maintain its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Ahmadinejad: the world will soon witness Iran's "major nuclear achievements"

Saturday, before state TV, Iranian President Ahmadinejad stated that Iran in the near future will announce significant progress in its nuclear program.

The announcement came on the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution before thousands of Iranians, carrying flags and pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei while chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America”, in state-organized rallies across the Islamic republic.

“In the coming days the world will witness Iran’s announcement of its very important and very major nuclear achievements,” Ahmadinejad said to a crowd at Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom). He gave no specific details.

Despite sanctions imposed by the United States and its European allies in an attempt to force Tehran back to the table for more talks. Iran continues to maintain its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.