Tag Archives: Nuclear Weapons

The US Needs To Immediately Trash the INF and New START Treaties

Last year, Obama administration recently – and very belatedly – announced it had found Russia in violation of the INF treaty, which prohibits Moscow and Washington from developing, testing, deploying, or otherwise possessing ground-launched missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Last week, the Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee passed its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which would seriously address those blatant Russian violations – something the Obama administration has refused to do.

Russia has been flagrantly violating the treaty since at least 2010, and we conservatives have been warning about this since 2011-2012, when credible reports of such violations first emerged. However, until now, the Obama administration and the pro-arms-control crowd have long been denying this fact – until this violation became too obvious and too easily provable to deny it.

Specifically, Russia has repeatedly flight-tested a new ground-launched cruise missile (R-500) of a range prohibited by the treaty (500 to 5,500 kms) and utilizing Iskander ballistic missile launchers; has flight-tested and deployed Iskander ballistic missiles also within that range envelope (exactly 500 kms, to be specific)[1]; and has flight-tested the Rubezh ICBM at a range of 2,000 kms – again, within the treaty’s envelope. (Some arms control advocates, such as Hans M. Kristensen, STILL deny that Russia has violated the INF Treaty, because, supposedly, the R-500 missile hasn’t been deployed, only tested. This is dead wrong, however.[2])

Now that Russia has effectively made the INF treaty a dead letter and a worthless piece of paper, the administration and its supporters in the pro-unilateral-disarmament community (including the Ploughshares Fund, the Arms Control Association, and other groups) are calling on the US to continue to unilaterally adhere to the treaty and to cut its own arsenal even further – even as Russia continues to build up its own and deploying missiles banned by the INF treaty. They denounce any proposals by strong-defense advocates in and out of Congress to develop America’s own intermediate-range ground-launched missiles.

This article will rebut their claims and thus make an irrefutable case as to why the US should immediately withdraw from the INF and New START treaties.

The Urgency Of The Threat

Firstly, they – spoken for by Ploughshares President Joe Cirincione and ACA’s Thomas Collina – falsely claim the Russian violation is not a grave or immediate threat to American and allied security.

This is dead wrong. Russia’s INF Treaty violation IS an immediate threat to the US AND its allies. These intermediate range missiles allow Russia to target its allies in Europe and Asia (and all US bases there) with very accurate missiles carrying very deadly payloads (nuclear and conventional). With ranges measured in hundreds (Iskander-M/K) and thousands (R-500, Yars-M) of kilometers, these missiles allow Russia to hold all US allies in Europe, and most in Asia, hostage to their nuclear weapons WITHOUT involving Russia’s strategic missile force. This is a very urgent threat.

Russia Will Never Comply With INF – It Faces A Grave Chinese Threat 

Secondly, the advocates of unilateral disarmament falsely claim that there is still time to “resolve this issue” through “patient diplomacy”, and that enough pressure can force Russia to scrap the forbidden missiles and come into compliance with INF. Says Cirincione:

“Concerns are raised privately in hope of resolving them. When that fails, they are made public. When that fails tougher diplomacy is tried. (…) This violation is more than a technical violation, but since it is not an immediate threat to the U.S. or our allies, there is time to use the established arms control mechanism to pressure Russia to halt the cruise missile program, verifiably dismantle any missiles tested in violation of the limits and agree to abide by the treaty’s terms. (…) Congress could back the administration’s efforts and add some clout by confirming into office the man in charge of verifying Russian compliance with arms control treaties. Frank Rose has been patiently waiting more than one year – 384 days – to be confirmed in his post as the assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance. (…) We have cajoled the Russians back into compliance before and – with the right staff in place and a united approach – we can do it again. In the process, we can prevent the Russians from rebuilding the weapons that Ronald Reagan so painstakingly destroyed.”

This is also utterly wrong. There is no way in hell that Russia will come into compliance with the INF treaty and dismantle its intermediate range missiles. Why? For two reasons.

Firstly, Russia has NEVER complied with ANY arms control treaty. On the contrary, it has violated EVERY arms reduction treaty it has ever signed, from the SALT I and II treaties, to the Limited and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, to the Chemical Weapons Convention, to the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaties.

Secondly, and even more importantly, abiding by the INF treaty is decidedly NOT in Russia’s national interest; on the contrary, it is in its security interest to violate the accord. The reason why is China’s deployment of over 1,200 short-range, and over 120 medium and intermediate range (DF-4, DF-21, DF-25, DF-26C), ballistic missiles, as well as hundreds of intermediate range (DH-10, CJ-10) ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCM). China has literally hundreds of such weapons, and they can deliver nuclear or conventional warheads to anywhere in Russia – WITHOUT the need to involve China’s intercontinental missiles.

PLA_ballistic_missiles_range-590x362

(Source: Department of Defense, Military Power of the People’s Republic of China, Washington DC, 2008.)

So Russia, like the US, is facing a huge threat from China’s ballistic and cruise missiles – and unlike the US, Russia is facing that missile threat right on its doorstep. Yet, Russia, like the US, is prohibited from fielding any intermediate-range ground-launched missiles to counter China, with which it shares a border and with whom it fought a short border war in 1969.

No wonder, then, that for years Russian leaders have called the treaty unjust and have been grousing about withdrawing from it. As they have said, the treaty prohibits only Russia and the US – but not China or anyone else – from fielding intermediate-range ground-launched missiles.

It is absolutely NOT in Russia’s NOR in America’s interest to continue to adhere to such an unequal treaty that only binds two countries in the world and no one else, while other nuclear powers continue to deploy intermediate range missiles and China continues to amass a large arsenal of these.

The difference between the US and Russia is that Russian leaders will do what is in their country’s interest, while America’s leaders will continue to insist on slavish, unilateral adherence to useless arms control treaties no one else observes.

North Korea Doesn’t Succumb to US Pressure – Neither Will Russia

Moreover, if anyone truly believes Russia can be “pressured” into compliance with the INF treaty, they should look at North Korea. That country has been a world pariah – subject to the world’s harshest international sanctions regime – for decades. It is shunned even by its sole formal ally, the PRC, which is now buddying with South Korea instead. It is the world’s most isolated and most heavily sanctioned country.

Yet, many decades of the world’s harshest sanctions regime have completely FAILED to force North Korea to stop, or even slow down, its nuclear weapons programme. Now North Korea has 20 miniaturized nuclear warheads (which it can mate with missiles) and enough highly-enriched uranium to build another 20 – plus missiles capable of reaching at least Alaska. In fact, North Korea’s regime is immensely proud of the fact that it has successfully defied the entire world’s pressure and developed that arsenal.

Does anyone really think Russia will succumb to American pressure and comply with arms control agreements, when the world’s greatest pariah, North Korea, has not?

So there is absolutely ZERO chance of Russia complying with the INF Treaty. It won’t, because it is not in its national security interest. Nor in America’s, for that matter.

It Is In America’s Vital Interest To Withdraw

Cirincione also falsely claims that:

Pulling out of a treaty that blocks the Russians from deploying weapons that we don’t have and don’t need would be foolish. (…) We have nothing to gain from pulling out of the INF treaty. We already have long-range nuclear weapons trained on hundreds of targets in Russia. We don’t need a few dozen more.”

This is also utterly wrong.

Russia now has more ICBMs, strategic bombers, and nuclear warheads than the US, and plans on adding still more, so the US DOES need to build up its nuclear arsenal – and fast. Moreover, deploying IRBMs (nuclear- or conventional-armed ones) in Europe and Asia would enable the US to hold at least some Russian and Chinese targets at risk without involving America’s intercontinental missile or bomber force – thus freeing up those intercontinental missiles and bombers for being aimed at other targets. More broadly, it would allow the US to counter China’s large deployment of short-, medium-, and intermediate ballistic and cruise missiles in East Asia (including the DF-16, whose range is 1,000 kms, the DF-21, whose range is 1,770 kms, and the DF-26C, which boasts a 3,400 km range).

Withdrawal from the INF Treaty would also allow the US to expand its conventional precision strike options against any targets. Right now, the US relies singularly on conventional-armed, subsonic JASSM-ER and Tomahawk cruise missiles (whose range is just 1,000 and 1,700 kms, respectively) for attacking soft targets and on its tiny fleet of strategic bombers for attacking more distant and hardened targets. But those missiles and bombers are subsonic and thus not good at attacking fleeting or otherwise time-sensitive targets.

Contrary to Cirincione’s false claims, America has nothing to gain by remaining a party to the INF treaty, to which only America adheres, thus essentially disarming itself. But disarming the US unilaterally, so that it will be vulnerable to Russia, is precisely Ploughshares’ and ACA’s goal.

Moreover, the INF treaty is not blocking Russia from anything – even though it formally prohibits Moscow to deploy intermediate range missiles. But the Kremlin is simply not complying with it, and there is no Earthly force which can force it to. Treaties are worth something ONLY if all parties adhere to them; if one or more party violates them, they’re worthless. It’s time to recognize that the INF Treaty is a dead letter.

Fact: the useless INF and New START treaties are not barring Russia from anything.

Beyond INF, Moscow is also violating a host of other arms limitation agreements, including the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, the Open Skies Treaty, the Missile Technology Control Regime accord, the Budapest Memorandum, and the Vienna Memorandum, and has recently withdrawn from the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty.

Trash New START, Too

Likewise, it is in America’s best interest to immediately withdraw from the Obama administration’s utterly failed New START treaty and to start building up, not cutting, its strategic nuclear arsenal. It is utterly foolish to adhere to treaties Russia violates; it is even more foolish and downright suicidal to abide by treaties which require only the US – not Russia – to cut its nuclear arsenal.

Unsurprisingly, the pro-unilateral-disarmament crowd opposes this idea. ACA’s Tom Collina falsely claims that:

“Releasing Russia from existing limits on strategic nuclear forces makes no sense, especially at this time of severe tensions between the West and the Kremlin. (…) If the United States were to stop reducing its nuclear forces under the 2010 New START treaty, Russia would likely do the same, and could even build up its forces. (…) Rubio and his colleagues* go too far with a March 25 resolution that would hold Russia accountable for “being in material breach of its obligations” under the treaty by calling for a halt to U.S. implementation of further strategic nuclear reductions, a move that would likely trigger a similar Russian response.”

Collina’s claims are patently false, just like everything else ACA and Ploughshares claim. Russia is NOT reducing ANYTHING – except reducing arms control treaties to dead letters.

Russia is ALREADY building up its nuclear arsenal, and has been for several years – with the Russian nuclear buildup ACCELERATING after New START was ratified. That’s because New START obligates only the US – but not Russia – to cut its strategic nuclear arsenal, and doesn’t even limit Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal at all.

It is RUSSIA that is building up its nuclear arsenal, while the US is disarming itself unilaterally.

Moscow is currently:

  • increasing its total number of deployed strategic warheads;
  • replacing single-warhead Topol and Topol-M missiles with 6-warhead Yars ICBMs;
  • replacing 4-warhead Skiff sub-launched missiles with Bulava and Liner missiles capable of carrying 10-12 warheads;
  • building a new class of guided missile submarines;
  • resuming the production of Tu-160 strategic bombers, capable of carrying 12 nuclear warheads each;
  • in sum, adding greater quantities of warheads and warhead carriers of all types.

As with the INF treaty, the US needs to reconsider whether or not to slavishly and unilaterally adhere to an arms control treaty that leaves it completely disadvantaged vis-a-vis Russia.

Cirincione And Co. Claim to Follow Reagan, Yet Bash His Policies

But Cirincione and Co. don’t just insist on America’s unilateral compliance with INF; they openly claim Ronald Reagan’s deployment of intermediate range missiles was a “failed policy” that should not be revisited:

“If we built new intermediate-range missiles, where would we deploy them? Europe? The last time we tried that, millions of citizens took to the streets of Europe in protest of U.S. and Russian weapons. There is no reason to revisit the failed policies of the past.”

Actually, the REALLY failed policies of the past (and the present) are the arms control policies Ploughshares, the ACA, and the Obama administration advocate: disarming the US unilaterally, and unilaterally adhering to arms control treaties. This is supposed to encourage others to be nice and disarm themselves. In practice, it has never worked. It has always failed spectacularly.

Russia has NEVER complied with ANY arms control treaties it has signed. It has flagrantly violated every one of them. That previous US presidents have allowed Moscow to get away with that is NO justification for letting Russia off the hook today. THAT is one of the failed policies of the past.

By contrast, Reagan’s deployment of US intermediate-range missiles in 1983 – which Cirincione falsely claims was a “failed policy” – actually reestablished nuclear balance between the US and the USSR in Europe, countered Russia’s 1,200 intermediate-range missiles there, and in 1987 forced the Kremlin to come back to the negotiating table and agree to dismantle all of these missiles. Gorbachev wanted to stop the arms race and reduce Soviet military spending to try save the stagnant Soviet economy. But he couldn’t do so unilaterally, so he had to agree to a treaty.

Because you can bring Russians into agreement ONLY when negotiating and acting from a position of STRENGTH, not weakness and appeasement. Unilaterally adhering to arms control treaties nobody else complies with leads to America’s weakness and dramatically REDUCES America’s security. This is precisely what the Obama administration has been doing, and precisely what the arms control crowd advocates.

Cirincione is advocating an alternate version of history where Ronald Reagan was an anti-nuclear peacenik. Urging conservatives not to attack the international arms control regime, he falsely claims:

Before letting loose the wrecking ball, they should check in with one of the principle architects of the regime and one of the toughest and most pro-arms control presidents in U.S. history: Ronald Reagan. (…) This was never President Reagan’s approach.”

Dead wrong again. While Reagan did (wrongly) indulge in arms control bargaining, he never allowed arms reduction policies and accords to cut America’s defenses to inadequate levels or to leave the US at an inferior military position vis-a-vis its adversaries. He never signed any agreements, nor implemented any arms reduction policies, that he feared would leave the US disadvantaged. He rejected calls for a nuclear freeze and for abandoning the SDI and his large-scale nuclear arsenal modernization programme. For Reagan, arms control talks were subordinate to the US military’s needs and to the need to win the Cold War against the USSR – not the other way around.

ReaganPeaceQuote

Most importantly, when Ronald Reagan caught the Soviet Union cheating, he did not hesitate to withdraw the US from useless arms control accords. Such was the case with the SALT-II accord: when Reagan found the USSR in violation of the treaty, in 1986, he withdrew the US from it.

As Reagan himself said: “No violations of a treaty can be considered to be a minor matter, nor can there be confidence in agreements if a country can pick and choose which provisions of an agreement it will comply with.”

Cirincione invokes Reagan’s failure to withdraw the US from the ABM treaty in the face of Soviet violation of it as supposed “proof” Reagan would support his position, rather than urge INF treaty withdrawal.

This is completely wrong. The only reason Reagan didn’t withdraw the US from the ABM treaty was because liberals in the federal government, especially in the State Department, fiercely resisted the idea, and continued to until George W. Bush finally withdraw the US from that useless treaty. A fight against the entrenched liberals in the federal bureaucracy over the ABM treaty was, alas, beyond Reagan’s strength, time, and patience.

Cirincione also falsely accuses the US of violating the INF treaty:

The Russians have their own complaints about us. We have actually built a brand-new intermediate-range missile. But we don’t call it a missile. We call it a target and use it to test our anti-ballistic missile interceptors in the Pacific. The Russians think it violates the treaty; we disagree.”

But this is utterly false. The mock missiles used to test American missile defenses do NOT violate the INF treaty, because that treaty allows for mock missiles to be used as targets. Article VI, paragraph 3, of the treaty clearly states:

3. If a GLBM is of a type developed and tested solely to intercept and counter objects not located on the surface of the earth, it shall not be considered to be a missile to which the limitations of this Treaty apply.

Paragraph 11 of the same article also clearly states:

11. A ballistic missile which is not a missile to be used in a ground-based mode shall not be considered to be a GLBM if it is test-launched at a test site from a fixed land-based launcher which is used solely for test purposes and which is distinguishable from GLBM launchers.

Cirincione also complains that reintroducing American intermediate range missiles in Europe or Asia could spark protests like those of 1983 against American Pershing and cruise missiles. But these protests were financed by the Soviet Union, and in any case, America’s military deployments should be determined solely by America’s and its allies’ security needs, NOT European popular opinion.

****

So, to close, the question before US policymakers is quite simple:

Russia is flagrantly violating the INF treaty (and a host of other arms limitation agreements) by testing and deploying missiles banned by that accord, and has been doing so for years. In so doing, Moscow is gravely threatening America’s and its allies’ security. Should the US continue to UNILATERALLY adhere to treaties Russia is not abiding by and has no intention of abiding by?

This writer says no. The Obama administration, the Democratic Party, and arms control advocacy groups, however, say “yes, the US should continue unilaterally adhering to arms control treaties nobody else abides by.”

*******************

Footnotes:

[1] The INF Treaty prohibits both the US and Russia from producing or deploying any ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles which have a range equal to or exceeding 500 kms but not greater than 5,500 kms. The Iskander (SS-26 Stone) missile’s range is exactly 500 kms, putting it squarely within the INF Treaty’s jurisdiction and thus making it illegal.

[2] Kristensen is dead wrong, because the INF Treaty doesn’t merely prohibit the production, stockpiling, and deployment of ground-launched missiles of such range; it also prohibits maintaining any production, maintenance, storage, or test facilities for them (the treaty calls them “missile support facilities”):

9. The term “missile support facility,” as regards intermediate-range or shorter-range missiles and launchers of such missiles, means a missile production facility or a launcher production facility, a missile repair facility or a launcher repair facility, a training facility, a missile storage facility or a launcher storage facility, a test range, or an elimination facility as those terms are defined in the Memorandum of Understanding.

The Elimination Protocol attached to the treaty further stipulates that any test or training missiles and the associated equipment is ALSO subject to elimination:

3. For both Parties, all training missiles, training missile stages, training launch canisters and training launchers shall be subject to elimination.

 

4. For both Parties, all stages of intermediate-range and shorter-range GLBMs shall be subject to elimination.

Article IV of the treaty requires that not only the banned missiles themselves, but also their support facilities and support equipment be completely dismantled and never reconstituted:

Article IV

 

1. Each Party shall eliminate all its intermediate-range missiles and launchers of such missiles, and all support structures and support equipment of the categories listed in the Memorandum of Understanding associated with such missiles and launchers, so that no later than three years after entry into force of this Treaty and thereafter no such missiles, launchers, support structures or support equipment shall be possessed by either Party.

Yet, Russia has tested the prohibited R-500, SS-26, and RS-24 Rubezh missiles on some of its military proving grounds – which makes these test facilities a violation of the treaty – and has produced test examples as well as retained production facilities for intermediate range missiles – all of which is a violation of the above provisions of the treaty.

Rebuttal of Tom Collina’s blatant lies about US nukes

nukeexplosion

Last week,the leftist Breaking Defense website published an utterly ridiculous screed by one of the most strident advocates of America’s unilateral nuclear disarmament, Tom Collina, the “research director” of the Arms Control Association, which advocates disarming the US unilaterally and foregoing the deployment of any missile defense systems. (The ACA is funded by several grant-awarding organizations which also advocate America’s unilateral disarmament.

In his screed, Collina makes a lot of lies, all of which, of course, are designed to smear nuclear weapons and mislead the public into supporting that treasonous goal.

Here’s his biggest lie:

“However, at a time of increasingly tight budgets, the more we spend on excess nuclear weapons the less will be available for what Ukraine and NATO need most: economic aid and conventional military assistance.”

Total garbage. Firstly, America does NOT have “excess nuclear weapons” – if anything, it has too few. Russia has a (slightly) BIGGER nuclear arsenal than the US, totalling 2,800 strategic and up to 5,700 tactical nuclear weapons. In fact, Russia has more nuclear weapons (8,500) than the US, Britain, and France combined (8,200). Sources: the Federation of American Scientists and SIPRI’s 2013 Military Balance.

Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal alone rivals America’s in size, and is complemented by “tactical” nuclear weapons, many of which (the warheads of Russian cruise missiles) can be delivered to the US (because the aircraft and nuclear-powered submarines carrying them can travel intercontinental distances). And these warheads are NOT subject to any arms limitation treaty.

Russia’s ICBM fleet alone can deliver at least 1,684 warheads to the US; Russia’s submarine fleet, another 1,400; and Moscow’s bomber fleet (Tu-95s, Tu-22Ms, Tu-160s), another 2,000 if need be.

On top of that, the US has to deter China, North Korea, and Iran. China alone has at least 1,600 nuclear weapons and continues to build that arsenal up.

Not to mention the fact that Russia, China, NK, and Iran are threats to many but protectors to nobody, while the US has to provide a nuclear umbrella to itself and to over 30 allies around the world, many of whom will go nuclear if the US fails to provide an adequate umbrella. (Already 66% of South Koreans want to do that; meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has ordered nuclear weapons in Pakistan and DF-21 ballistic missiles in China.)

No, Mr Collina, the US nuclear arsenal is not excessive at all – if anything, it is too small.

As for economic aid, that is an obsolete, socialist idea. Ukraine needs to revive its economy by implementing free market policies, NOT begging for handouts.

“Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned recently that “tough, tough choices are coming” if the Pentagon is forced to make deep spending cuts, as required by law. He may slash about 30,000 soldiers and retire an aircraft carrier.”

Excuse me? Those are supposed to be “tough choices”? Are you kidding me? Reducing the active duty Army to levels roughly equal to those of 9/11 and retiring a single carrier is not tough – it’s a no-brainer. It’s like picking the low-hanging fruit. (After Hagel’s cuts, the Army will be just slightly smaller than on 9/11, and the American people will have NO appetite or stomach for any more ground wars for a long time to come.)

Aircraft carriers are hugely expensive and extremely vulnerable, and their a/c have very little range. Flattops essentially provide NO return for the huge taxpayer investment they cost. I have already submitted an article dealing with this issue to Proceedings; it awaits the Editorial Board’s review.

It would be far better for the DOD to invest seriously in the single most reliable deterrent against aggression – the US nuclear umbrella – instead of blowing money on oversized land armies and very vulnerable flattops.

“As Crimea shows, these priorities are backwards. We must not allow our increasingly important conventional military forces to be undercut by excessive investments in nuclear weapons.”

Utter garbage as well. America’s conventional forces are not being undercut by the nuclear arsenal, whose total cost (ca. $32 bn per annum) is only 6% of the total military budget (roughly $600 bn in FY2014). Even eliminating it altogether would NOT save America’s conventional forces from sequestration. Sec. Hagel is absolutely right to make the nuclear deterrent a priority for the above reasons. As for conventional forces – don’t make me laugh. The unilateral disarmament movement, of which Collina is an active member, opposes BOTH America’s conventional and nuclear forces. The US nuclear deterrent is merely their first target on their way to disarming America unilaterally.

“And we don’t have to. The United States can stay at nuclear warhead levels set by the 2010 New START treaty and still save billions over the next decade by scaling back and delaying new delivery systems.”

Utter nonsense again. Firstly, New START levels are inadequate to deter Russia and China; second, New START is a worthless and treasonous treaty obligating only the US (not Russia) to cut its arsenal while Moscow is allowed to increase its own; and thirdly, Russia has cheated on EVERY arms control treaty it has signed, INCLUDING New START, as Bill Gertz has recently revealed in the WFB.

And “scaling back and delaying new delivery systems” would be utterly suicidal and a recipe for a Russian nuclear first strike. It would mean having far fewer systems (and thus a much less survivable arsenal), and NO new systems coming online for decades – at a time when existing delivery systems are already reaching the end of their service lives! This means, in practice, complete unilateral disarmament!

The Minuteman ICBM and air-launched cruise missiles will go out of service in the 2020s. The B-52 cannot operate in anything but friendly-controlled airspace. The Ohio class will start leaving service later this decade, and even under CURRENT funding projections, there will be a big gap in the SSBN fleet, with a low of just 10 boats in the early 2020s – unless the SSBN replacement program is hastened.

The cost of replacing them is not huge and will likely be far less than the $355 bn Collina falsely claims – but delaying it any further will significantly increase the price tag.

If a superior U.S. nuclear force did not restrain Moscow from annexing Crimea, how would an even larger force stop further Russian adventurism? It would not. The paradox of nuclear weapons is that they are too destructive to be used, so both sides are “deterred” from doing so.”

These are also blatant lies. The US nuclear arsenal, as proven above, is SMALLER and OLDER than Russia’s, and it was never intended or built to deter Russia from annexing… the Crimea, where it already had almost 30,000 troops and dozens of ships anyway. It was never intended to deter Russia from invading the Ukraine, which neither the US nor the EU had any intention of defending or supporting (and Putin knew it), a country the West has kept out of NATO and the EU and has essentially left to fend for itself.

Putin knew that the West would never offer more than verbal protests and tepid sanctions if he went into Ukraine. Which is why he did that. He knew that Ukraine was outside America’s security perimeter.

The US nuclear deterrent is intended to provide security for the US itself and for its NATO and non-NATO allies (e.g. SK, Japan) – and it has been doing that successfully, without any failure, ever since its inception in 1945.

And if nuclear weapons cannot deter Putin in the Crimea or elsewhere, conventional weapons – which have far less striking and thus deterring power – cannot do that, either. Is Collina suggesting the US deploy its soldiers in the Ukraine and used in a shooting war with Russia? Does he envisage US Army BCTs taking on Russian brigades? Because if he’s not, conventional forces are utterly useless in Ukraine.

As former US Strategic Command leader Gen. Kevin Chilton has stated, conventional weapons cannot replace nuclear arms as deterrents, because the former lack the overwhelming striking (and thus deterring) power of nuclear arms.

Collina also approvingly quotes former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans, who has falsely claimed that:

“Nuclear-weapons enthusiasts seem to have an inexhaustible appetite for bad arguments.”

In fact, Western anti-nuke activists, the advocates of the West’s unilateral disarmament, seem to have an inexhaustible appetite for bad arguments, lying, and disarming their own countries unilaterally.

And while nuclear weapons might not be useful in Ukraine, there is little the US can do there anyway (who’s suggesting putting US conventional troops there?). But building up the US nuclear arsenal and accelerating missile defense deployment in Europe would do three good things:

1) Increase US and allied security by finally providing a bigger, more adequate, and modernized deterrent;

2) Finally showing strength to Russia after many years of appeasement and unilateral disarmament – which is what emboldened Russia to take one aggressive action after another, culminating in the invasion of Ukraine; and

3) Be a huge geopolitical, diplomatic, and prestige defeat for Russia, which strongly opposes both. It’s time to stop giving Russia what it wants. It would mean Russia has finally lost the veto on US and NATO security matters that Obama gave Moscow in 2009 by cancelling GBI missile defense deployment in Europe. Russia (and other aggressors and bullies) only understand the language of force, and they respect only those who are stronger than them. To deter Russia and have a better negotiating position vis-a-vis Moscow, the US needs to have stronger nuclear AND conventional forces.

BreakingDefense itself approvingly published Collina’s screed and falsely called him:

“Tom Collina, a respected expert in nuclear weapons and arms control…”

Balderdash. Collina is not a “respected expert” on anything, ESPECIALLY not nuclear weapons and arms control. He’s an ignoramus and an ideological advocate of America’s unilateral disarmament. Calling him an expert is an insult to every real expert out there. Being a longtime anti-nuclear activist does not make one an expert. And while I would not call myself one, I know far more about nuclear weapons than he ever will.

Shame on him for lying so blatantly and advocating America’s unilateral disarmament, and shame on BD for publishing his utterly ridiculous screed.

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.

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

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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.

Rebuttal of Tom Collina’s and Kingston Reif’s call to cut nukes

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The US nuclear deterrent – cut by over 75% since the Cold War’s end – is now barely adequate, yet the leftist anti-nuclear-deterrence movement wants to cut it deeply even further and eventually scrap it altogether. They want that to happen unilaterally, without Russia or anyone else’s participation.

Why? Because these people, such as the ACA’s Tom Collina and the CLW’s Kingston Reif, genuinely hate the US and would love to see it nuked.

It was therefore not surprising (even though not pleasant, either) to see both of these rabid anti-nuclear activists to write new garbage screeds calling for deep, unilateral cuts in the US nuclear arsenal and the fleet of its delivery systems – ostensibly to save money. These pacifists are now laughably casting themselves as friends of the US military who want to help it cope with sequestration and save its conventional capabilities.

They claim that a) such cuts can be done without imperiling US national security; b) they would save much money to help the DOD cope with sequestration; c) they would help save higher-priority conventional programs; d) the US has more nuclear weapons than it needs.

All of their claims are utter garbage. Here’s why.

Firstly, contrary to their, and their Dear Leader Barack Obama’s, blatant lies, the US DOES NOT have “more nuclear weapons than it needs.” In fact, the current number – roughly 5,000, of which only about 1,700 are deployed – is barely adequate to deter Russia, China, and North Korea. The current commander of the US Strategic Command (responsible for America’s nuclear weapons) and his predecessor have both said that the current size of the arsenal is “exactly what we need.” Those are General Kehler’s words, not mine. Both of them have also utterly rejected calls for further deep cuts.

Thus also refuting Collina’s lie that “the US military is telling us we have more nuclear weapons than we need.” The US military has not said any such thing.

Why? And why have both Secretary Hagel and Deputy Secretary Carter – to the displeasure of Tom Collina – rejected calls for further cuts?

Because further cuts to America’s nuclear deterrent would gravely undermine US national security and quite possibly invite a nuclear first strike on the US.

In order to deter any adversary, a nuclear arsenal has to be able to a) survive a first strike by any enemy; and b) hold, and if need be, obliterate, so many of the enemy’s military and economic assets that the cost of American retaliation will be prohibitive to him and hence, he won’t retaliate.

For both of these purposes, you need a LARGE nuclear arsenal; a small one will never suffice, as it would be too easy to destroy in a nuclear first strike.

No amount of conventional weapons can substitute here; only nuclear weapons have a sufficient striking and retaliatory power.

The US needs thousands, not mere hundreds, of deployed nuclear warheads to deter Russia and China, and many hundreds of delivery systems to deliver these warheads – at minimum, no fewer than the current number.

Russia currently has 434 ICBMs capable of delivering 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; 251 bombers able to deliver 1,757 warheads to the same destination; and 13 ballistic missile subs capable of unleashing another 2,000 nuclear warheads on the US, depending on the missile type used.

On top of that, Russia has a huge tactical nuclear arsenal of 4,000 warheads and a wide range of systems (missiles, torpedoes, artillery pieces, aircraft, etc.) to deliver these, and is also developing an IRBM in flagrant violation of the INF treaty.

And if that were not enough, it’s also developing new road- and rail-mobile ICBMs, while the US is not developing any, and has not fielded a single new ICBM since the 1980s.

And on top of that, Russia has recently conducted a huge nuclear attack exercise involving several ICBMs and SLBMs, as well as several SRBMs, being fired at once – an exercise US intel agencies say were a simulation of a Russian nuclear attack!

Yet, Collina and Reif want the US to unilaterally cut its ICBM fleet from 450 to a paltry 300, the nuclear warhead stockpile to 1,000 or fewer warheads, and the ballistic missile sub fleet to just 8 boats!

China, contrary to the claims of American anti-nuclear activists, has at least 1,600, and potentially up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, according to two credible experts: General Viktor Yesin, a former chief of staff of Russia’s ICBM force, and Professor Philip Karber, the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist during the Reagan years and now a Georgetown University professor. This writer himself has estimated that China has at least 1,274 deployed nuclear warheads, without counting any of the 500 warheads attributed to China’s ground-launched cruise missiles or short-range ballistic missiles. If these are counted, China has at least 1,774 deployed nuclear warheads.

China’s nuclear arsenal is not at a standstill; Beijing is now introducing a new, 10-warhead ICBM called the DF-41, and two new sub-launched missile variants capable of carrying up to 12 warheads over 14,000 kms, as well as a sixth ballistic missile submarine.

This, BTW, completely belies China’s claim to have a “minimum nuclear deterrent” – but then again, deception is a practice deeply ingrained in Chinese military culture since at least the Sun Tzu years, if not earlier.

Additionally, while Russia, China, and North Korea are threats to many but protectors to nobody, the US has to provide a nuclear deterrent not only to itself but also to over 30 allies around the world, who rely on it for their security and their very existence. And they cannot afford to bet these on Obama’s, Collina’s, and Reif’s childish fantasies of a “world without nuclear weapons”, which will never happen.

If the US continues to further cut its nuclear umbrella, it will become woefully inadequate, forcing other countries to develop their own weapons. Already 66.5% of South Koreans want to do so. Persian Gulf states are already preparing to do so, in the face of the future Iranian nuclear threat. Japan, for its part, has facilities that can produce enough fissile material for 3,600 warheads in a matter of months if Tokyo chooses to go nuclear.

So cutting the US nuclear arsenal further will only lead to MORE nuclear proliferation around the world, not less.

But wouldn’t it at least save lots of money?

No, it wouldn’t.

Deputy Secretary Carter has already warned there is little that can be saved even by cutting the nuclear arsenal deeply. Collina condemns DOD officials for thinking nuclear weapons are cheap, but even he admits that they cost, overall, only $31 bn per year and that this is little compared to the overall US military budget.

Indeed, $31 bn is just 5% of the roughly $600 bn annual US military budget, and only 5/6 of 1% of the annual federal budget. It is also only about $100 per capita (for a US population of roughly 310 mn people).

So it costs every American (and immigrant) only $100 per year to maintain this large, diverse, three-legged, survivable nuclear deterrent which, for the last 68 years (and counting) has protected America against Russia, China, and North Korea.

Collina proposes to “dial back” the B61 nuclear bomb’s service life extension, cut the ballistic missile sub fleet (and its planned replacement) to just eight boats, delay the next generation bomber program by a decade, and cut the ICBM fleet from 450 to “300 or fewer” (there is no lower limit on cuts to US ICBMs that Collina would ever consider).

Collina desperately responds to such criticism that in fiscally dire times, every saving that can be accrued is worthy. But such puny savings are worthless – and even dangerous when they are made in the inventory of such crucial instruments of deterrence as nuclear weapons, which nothing can replace today.

Cutting the US nuclear arsenal further – let alone as deeply as Collina and Reif suggest – is not only not worth the puny savings it would accrue, it would be utterly suicidal, as it would invite (God forbid) a nuclear first strike on America and its allies. A much smaller US arsenal would be much easier for Russia and China to destroy in a first strike.

Preventing such a strike is, and out to be, THE highest priority of the DOD – as confirmed by Sec. Hagel and Deputy Secretary Carter. It is worth far more than any amount of money.

And at just 5% of the military budget and a paltry $100 per capita, it is a very low cost.

When lean budgetary years come, no sane company or organization cuts its budget by eliminating the most valuable service it provides. And nuclear deterrence is by far the most valuable service the military provides to the nation.

Collina’s proposal to delay the next-gen bomber by a decade is very dangerous (and treasonous) also for another reason: the next gen bomber is needed for conventional, not just nuclear, missions. This is because the B-52 (whose retention Collina advocates) and the non-nuclear B-1 have long ago lost ability to penetrate Soviet airspace (in fact, the B-1 never had it – it was obsolete by the time it entered service). Their radar signatures are so large that even legacy Soviet air defense systems, such as those owned by North Korea, would have no trouble detecting them and shooting them down.

That’s to say nothing of the modern, state of the art air defense systems used by Russia, China, Venezuela, and Belarus, and soon to be delivered to both Syria and Iran. No aircraft except the B-2 and the F-22 will be able to penetrate these systems – and experts such as CSBA’s Mark Gunzinger (a retired bomber pilot) say that even the B-2 will, a decade from now, lose its penetrating ability. Which would leave the US with no bomber able to penetrate enemy airspace – and thus give enemies complete sanctuary within their airspace and on the land below it.

And when you give your enemy any sanctuary, you lose the war.

The next-gen bomber is therefore absolutely needed – NOW, not a decade from today. The requirement for it has been validated by two consecutive QDRs (2006, 2010), by successive SECDEFs (Gates, Panetta, Carter) and USAF Chiefs of Staff (Moseley, Schwartz, Welsh), and by a wide range of outside-DOD studies by the CSBA, the Heritage Foundation, the Mitchell Institute, the Joint Force Quarterly, and others, including this writer. The USAF says delaying this program would be “very high risk.”

The NGB is not a mere wish; it is an absolute requirement. The USAF’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Welsh, lists it as one of his top three modernization priorities, along with the KC-46 tanker and the F-35 strike fighter.

Collina’s claim that making such cuts in nuclear weapons is necessary to cope with sequestration is also a blatant lie, and a figleaf for advocating deep, treasonous cuts that he and his treasonous, subversive organization (ACA), as well as other anti-nuclear groups like Kingston Reif’s CLW, have long been calling for in order to disarm America unilaterally.

Eliminating the ICBM leg of the nuclear triad would save only $1.1 bn per year; scrapping the bomber leg, only $2.5 bn per annum.

In fact, even eliminating the US nuclear arsenal completely would not provide more than half of the savings required to pay for sequestration, which amounts to $55 bn EVERY YEAR and $550 bn over the decade from FY2013 to FY2022.

The real money in the defense budget is in the military personnel accounts – pay, benefits, healthcare, retirement packages, etc. – which have, so far, been considered sacrosanct and off the table, based on the mistaken belief that even touching them would mean “breaking faith with the troops.” If there’s one thing Republicans and Democrats in Congress agree on, it’s stonewalling any DOD requests for authorizing reforms of personnel programs.

Yet, without meaningful reforms, personnel programs will, by FY2039, consume 100% of the US defense budget – leaving no money for any weapons, nuclear or conventional.

And that is probably what Collina and Reif want.

Obama willing to meet Iran’s Rouhani at UN

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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.”

Rebuttal of Benjamin Cooper’s attack on the nuclear deterrent

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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.

The Left’s blatant lies about nuclear weapons

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The Left never ceases to make attacks on what makes America great and strong – including its military power. And by far the most important and powerful component of America’s military power is its nuclear deterrent. Hence, it is the #1 target in the Left’s crosshairs as it seeks to disarm America unilaterally – gutting both its conventional and strategic arsenals, as well as missile defense.

But of course openly seeking to disarm America for its own sake – and to expose it to danger – would be rejected by most Americans. So to get the public to accept unilateral disarmament, the Left has made up a plethora of lies: that it will supposedly make America and the world more secure and peaceful, that others will follow suit and disarm themselves, that lots of money will be saved, that terrorists will be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons, that America’s “moral leadership” will encourage the “world community” to pressure North Korea and Iran into forgoing nukes… There’s seemingly no end to these Leftist fantasies.

I wonder if they’ll also claim that scrapping America’s nukes will solve the problem of obesity in America.

Let’s review the most popular Leftist lies about America’s nuclear arsenal and see if any of them have even a grain of truth.

1. Myth: “Cutting America’s nuclear arsenal, per se, will make America and the world more secure and peaceful. Less is more. Less is inherently better.”

Fact: On the contrary, it would make America and the world less secure and peaceful. It would weaken America’s deterrent against the gravest threats to US, allied, and world security – nuclear, chemical, biological, and ballistic missile attack, against which nothing else can protect (except, to a limited extent, missile defense). It would thus encourage such attacks by America’s adversaries, for whom the consequences of such attack – because of cuts in America’s deterrent – would be much smaller than when America’s nuclear arsenal is large.

To be secure, you MUST have a large nuclear arsenal – at least as large as that of your biggest adversary. This is because:

1) it needs to be big enough to survive an adversary’s first strike, thus deterring him from attempting one in the first place; and

2) it needs to be big enough to hold the vast majority of an enemy’s assets at risk – and there are thousands of such targets that need to be held at risk.

The more nuclear weapons America has, the safer she and her allies are and the more peaceful the world is. It is STRENGTH, not WEAKNESS, that ensures peace and security.

Just ask yourself: has the world gotten more secure and peaceful over the last 21 years, while America has cut her nuclear by over 75%? Of course not. Russia has rebounded, China has become a superpower, multiple rogue states have become grave threats (and are developing nuclear weapons), and multiple wars have engulfed the world.

2. Myth: “It will entice other countries, e.g. Russia and China, to cut and eventually eliminate their own nuclear arsenals.”

Fact: Quite the contrary, there is abundant evidence that they’d only increase, not cut, their nuclear arsenals. As even Jimmy Carter’s SECDEF, Harold Brown, has said, “When we build, they build. When we cut, they build.” He has called nuclear disarmament a fantasy.

Under New START, Russia has INCREASED, not cut, its nuclear arsenal – as it is allowed to, because New START only requires America to cut its arsenal. Previous unilateral American cuts have also failed to entice Russia to reciprocate. The only time Moscow has cut anything was under the old START treaty, signed in 1991. Now it is GROWING its nuclear arsenal and developing intermediate range missiles in violation of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Meanwhile, China, North Korea, and Pakistan, not bound by any treaty, have indeed GROWN their nuclear arsenals since then – China to as many as 3,000 warheads![1]

In addition, Russia is blatantly violating the INF Treaty by developing and testing an IRBM, and also violating the CFE Treaty! How can we trust Russia to comply with New START and reciprocate the newest cuts proposed by Obama when Russia is not complying with existing arms reduction treaties? We can’t!

3. Myth: “It will show America’s “moral leadership” and “moral example” to “the world community” and encourage it to heavily and successfully pressure North Korea and Iran to forego nuclear weapons.”

Fact: On the contrary, there is abundant evidence the world wouldn’t apply sufficient pressure on North Korea and Iran. And of course, these countries, by themselves, will not be impressed by America’s useless “moral example”. How do we know that?

Because we’ve already tried the Left’s useless, suicidal “arms control” policies and they have utterly failed. Since 1991, America has cut its nuclear arsenal by over 75%, from over 20,000 warheads to just 5,000 today – and has unilaterally withdrawn tactical nuclear weapons from South Korea, ships, and submarines, and unilaterally scrapped its most powerful ICBMs, the Peacekeepers.

Yet, the “world community” has utterly failed to significantly pressure North Korea and Iran – who, to this day, have or pursue nuclear weapons (and North Korea intends to grow its arsenal). Iran even recently opened a heavy-water facility that will enable it to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

Why has the “world community” failed to apply meaningful pressure? Because there is no such thing as a unified “world community”! (Despite the Chicago community organizer’s fantasies and those of Ploughshares’ Joe Cirincione.) America’s allies, including the Gulf states, Israel, Japan, and South Korea[2], have always supported strong pressure against Iran and North Korea, and they’d support such pressure regardless of what the US would’ve done.

(In fact, allies are more likely to back the US and be content with mere “pressure” and sanctions if the US provides a large, strong nuclear umbrella to them, and much less likely to back the US if it continues to cut its nuclear deterrent – which will force them to develop their own nuclear arsenals.)

It is America’s adversaries, Russia and China, who shield those regimes from meaningful pressure. And cutting America’s nuclear deterrent won’t impress them at all – it will only make them even MORE unwilling to influence Iran and North Korea, because an America with fewer nuclear weapons is a militarily weaker America (thus fewer reasons to fear it).

4. Myth: “It will lead to a world without nuclear weapons, which is both desirable and achievable.”

Fact: A world without nuclear weapons is neither desirable nor achievable. There is ZERO chance of there ever being a world without nukes. Russia and China have large and growing arsenals – and are growing and modernizing them. Russia is developing an IRBM in violation of the INF Treaty. North Korea, already wielding nukes, intends to grow it (and has the facilities to do so) – and frequently threatens nuclear war. Iran is well on its way to the nuclear club. Worried about Iran, the Gulf states are seriously considering “going nuclear.” Besides them, India, Pakistan, and Israel all have nuclear weapons and refuse to discuss, let alone scrap, them.[3]

As SIPRI recently admitted, no nuclear power is willing to scrap, or even stop modernizing, its nuclear arsenal. (Other than Obama’s America, that is.) SIPRI’s Hans Kristensen speaks of “rampant modernization” of the arsenals of all nuclear powers.

Moreover, Russia claims her nuclear weapons are “a sacred issue” and utterly refuses to scrap or even cut them. It accords them absolute priority in its military doctrine and reserves the right to use nuclear weapons first, even if its adversary doesn’t have nuclear weapons.

The goal of “a world without nuclear weapons” isn’t just “distant”; it’s utterly unrealistic and ridiculous.

The world is not “moving towards nuclear zero”; it isn’t even on the beginning of the road to nuclear zero, and never will be. The world (other than Obama’s America) is going in the EXACTLY OPPOSITE direction: more nuclear weapons and more nuclear-armed states.

Barack Obama’s legacy will not be “a world without nuclear weapons”, or even a planet going in that direction. Barack Obama’s legacy will be a planet going in the exactly opposite direction, and quite possibly, a nuclear-armed Iran.

So there is ZERO chance of there ever being a world without nuclear weapons. A world with unicorns is more likely.

Nor would such a world be desirable. Nuclear weapons should be liked, not hated, because they’ve prevented any war between the major powers since their inception in 1945. They have a superb, stellar record in deterring enemies and preventing war – a record no other weapon system can claim.

And as Sun Tzu taught, the acme of military skill is to win without fighting.

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

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

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

5. Myth: “It will prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

Fact: This claim is so ridiculous, it’s laughable. Scrapping America’s deterrent will do nothing to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons. They can’t steal American weapons, because these are too well protected. And scrapping America’s nuclear arsenal, as proven above (and by real life experience), will do nothing to entice other countries to give up their nukes, nor prevent terrorists from stealing such weapons or buying them on the black market (if it’s possible).

Besides, having a nuclear warhead is not enough. One must also have a delivery system – a missile or aircraft and mate the two. That is too difficult for terrorists.

6. Myth: “America’s nuclear arsenal is too expensive and not worth the cost of maintaining it. And it siphons money away from other defense programs.”

Fact: America’s nuclear deterrent is one of the cheapest parts of its defenses. It costs only 6% of America’s annual budget, thus giving taxpayers a great return on investment – namely, peace and security from the gravest military threats of this world: nuclear, biological, chemical, and ballistic missile attack.

The ICBM leg of the nuclear triad – the cheapest, most ready, most responsive, and most dispersed leg – costs only $1.1 bn per year to maintain; the bomber leg costs only $2.5 bn per year. The entire nuclear arsenal, including all the warheads, missiles, bombers, submarines, supporting facilities, and personnel costs only $32-38 bn per year to maintain, which is only 6.3% of the entire military budget ($611 bn in FY2013, pre-sequestration).

Numbers don’t lie; liberals do.

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

No, the nuclear deterrent is not siphoning money away from other defense programs. It is certain other, far more expensive defense programs – notably the Junk Strike Fighter and $13.5-billion-per-copy aircraft carriers – that are siphoning it.

7. Myth: “America’s nuclear deterrent is a relic of the Cold War irrelevant to the current security environment.”

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

The US nuclear arsenal is the most effective counter-proliferation program ever created. It has discouraged all of America’s allies except Britain and France from developing nuclear weapons, reassuring them that they don’t need to do so because the US provides a powerful nuclear umbrella to them. Such an umbrella is ESPECIALLY needed now – more than ever – given the nuclear threats posed by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

Russia has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (including 1,550 deployed) and up to 4,000 tactical warheads – and the means to deliver all 6,800 if need be. Its 434 ICBMs can collectively deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; its 14 ballistic missile submarines can deliver over 2,200 warheads to the CONUS (while sitting in their ports); and each of its 251 strategic bombers can carry up to 7 warheads (1 freefall bomb and 6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles). Its Tu-95 bomber fleet alone can deliver over 700 warheads to the middle of America.

China has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, and the means to deliver 1,274 of them. Among these are almost 70 ICBMs, 120 MRBMs, over 1,600 SRBMs, dozens of land-attack cruise missiles, six ballistic missile submarines, and 440 nuclear-capable aircraft. While the vast majority of its SRBMs and cruise missiles are reportedly conventionally-armed at present, they could be armed with nuclear weapons anytime, which is called “breakout capability.”

Then there’s North Korea with its nuclear arsenal (which it has announced it will grow) and ICBMs capable of reaching the US, and Iran, which is coming closer to achieving nuclear weapon status everyday. Only nuclear weapons can protect America against these threats. So they are HIGHLY RELEVANT in the 21st century.

Besides deterring nuclear attack, nuclear weapons also protect America’s treaty allies against a large-scale conventional attack – ensuring that it has never happened so far.

8. Myth: “A small nuclear deterrent (minimum deterrence) will suffice; we don’t need a large arsenal. Our arsenal is too big right now.”

Fact: A small nuclear arsenal will not suffice. Not even close. A small arsenal would be very easy to destroy in a first strike – as there would be far fewer targets for the enemy to destroy – thus stripping America of her nuclear retaliatory power. As Robert Kaplan rightly writes, “Never give your adversary too few problems to solve, because if you do, he’ll solve them.”

Destroying a US arsenal of only 300, 400, or even 800 weapons and a few submarines and bombers would be far easier for Russia and China than destroying America’s current arsenal.

It would also be, in and of itself, due to its small size, unable to threaten any credible retaliation because of too few weapons.

Why? Because, with a small arsenal, the US could threaten only a small number of Russia’s and China’s assets (such as military bases or weapon production plants). Yet, both Russia and China have thousands of assets that America must be able to strike in retaliation – and that doesn’t include North Korea and Iran. The 1,550 deployed strategic warhead ceiling is the absolute minimum needed to threaten credible retaliation against Russia and China. The Heritage Foundation estimates the US needs to have between 2,700-3,000 deployed warheads. The explanation why, and a simple discussion of the principles, the “mechanics”, and the needs of nuclear deterrence are here. Also please see my article here. Also see here.

May I remind you that Russia has between 6,800 and 8,800, and China has between 1,600-3,000, nuclear weapons, and the means to deliver all of them?

Thus, all leftist lies about America’s nuclear weapons have been utterly refuted once again. There isn’t even a kernel of truth in them. They’re all blatant lies.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Former DOD chief nuclear strategist Dr Philip Karber estimates China has up to 3,000 nuclear weapons, mostly hidden in its vast, 3,000-mile-long network of tunnels and bunkers. Retired Russian missile force general Viktor Yesin estimates China’s arsenal more conservatively at 1,600-1,800 warheads.

[2] While South Korea was somewhat hesitant to pressure the North under Presidents Kim and Rooh, that era is long over; current President Park is fed up with North Korea’s incessant threats.

[3] Israel, of course, has good reasons to have a nuclear deterrent, as does America.

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.

Russia has repeatedly violated the INF Treaty

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In 1987, the United States and the then Soviet Union signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which required both countries to completely dismantle all of their ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles – nuclear or conventional armed – that had a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

No other nuclear power – not China, not India, not Pakistan, nor anyone else – was included in the treaty. However, it did at least require the Soviet Union to verifiably dismantle its medium-range ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles.

However, since Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia, Moscow has repeatedly violated the INF treaty.

It has tested and deployed the R-500 ground-launched (and nuclear-capable) cruise missile, which has a range within INF treaty limits, and last month, it tested a “missile defense killer” Rubezh/Yars-M “pseudo-ICBM” at a range of just 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) – again within INF treaty limits. This means it’s an intermediate-range missile, prohibited by the INF treaty.

The treaty, ratified in 1988 by both sides, completely prohibits any development or testing, let alone procurement or deployment, of ground-launched missiles of such range (between 500 and 5,500 kilometers).

The test occurred on June 6th and was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon the next day. The Rubezh IRBM was launched from a missile base at Kapustin Yar and impacted a test target at the Sary-Shagan range, about 2,000 kms (1,242 miles) away. This is INF Treaty range.

Again, it bears repeating: even the development or testing, let alone the production or deployment, of such missiles is completely prohibited by the INF treaty.

The fact that the test occurred at a 2,000 km range was first disclosed by the Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz, a veteran national security journalist, and confirmed by US intelligence officials as well as nuclear weapons expert Dr. Mark B. Schneider of the National Institute for Public Policy. Dr Schneider has been warning about Russian violations of arms reduction treaties for years.

Schneider has also warned that Russia’s air and missile defense missiles could be used as medium-range surface-to-surface missiles, and so could be the first stage of the SS-27 ICBM – as a stand-alone missile, it would have a 3,000 km range, clearly within INF treaty limits.

Also, the Republican chairmen of the House Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, Reps. Howard McKeon (R-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI), respectively, and chairman of the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), have been warning about Russian violations of such treaties for at least a year now.

The confirmation of Russia’s repeated violations of the INF treaty by the WFB and US intel officials confirms the soundness of their warnings.

Accordingly, the chairmen, not wishing to see America’s nuclear deterrent cut unilaterally, or in a worthless treaty with an untrustworthy partner who violates his obligations, have introduced amendments to the annual National Defense Authorization and Energy Appropriations bills that would prohibit ANY further reductions to America’s nuclear deterrent, except through a treaty or an Act of Congress itself.

American and foreign pacifist saboteurs, however, are not giving up. Desiring to see America disarmed, they continue to lie on Russia’s and Obama’s behalf, advocating for even deeper cuts than those Obama has proposed, and are whitewashing Russia to absolve it of its blatant violations of arms limitation treaties, including the INF treaty.

FAS’s Hans M. Kristensen, a Danish pacifist now living in the US, has recently written a FAS blogpost lying about the June 6th missile test, falsely claiming that the missile traversed over 5,500 kms, outside INF treaty range. He claims that the Washington Free Beacon and Dr Schneider merely “claim” the Russians have violated the treaty.

But, as US intel community officials have confirmed, the test actually occurred at a 2,000 km range, from Kapustin Yar to Sary-Shagan, meaning the test WAS a violation of the treaty.

By denying that a violation occurred, Kristensen is essentially accusing these officials, as well as the three House committee chairman (who have access to classified information, whereas Kristensen doesn’t and never will), and the WFB’s Bill Gertz of lying.

But why would Bill Gertz – a reputed journalist who has been covering national security issues for almost 3 decades – lie? And has anyone found even one instance in his long journalist career in which he lied?

On the other hand, Kristensen – a lifelong Danish pacifist whose explicitly stated agenda is to see the US give up its nuclear weapons – has a motive to lie, and indeed has repeatedly been caught lying, over and over again.

Kristensen is nothing but another anti-American, pro-Russian Danish pacifist propagandist. He’s been working for pacifist, anti-nuclear organizations since being 21 years old. He has no credibility and no integrity whatsoever.

Moreover, this is not the first time when Kristensen has (implicitly or explicitly) accused of lying people who are far more credible than he is. Not so long ago, he accused the commander of the USAF’s nuclear forces of hiding America’s nuclear modernization programs from PDF slides, even though these programs were all listed in one of the slides.

In short, Kristensen is a lying, dishonest, pro-Russian pacifist propagandist. Not one word he says is credible.

As for Russia’s recent missile test, the matter is quite simple. If the test did occur at a 2,000 km range, it WAS a clear violation of the INF treaty. If it occurred at a range of more than 5,500 kms, a violation did not occur.

US intel officials, Dr. Schneider, and the WFB’s Bill Gertz say the test did occur at a 2,000 km range.

Hans Kristensen denies that.

Whom will you believe?

UPDATE: The State Department’s annual arms control treaty compliance report completely omits – but does not deny – Russia’s violation of the INF treaty by testing that Yars-M (Rubezh) missile. Meanwhile, McKeon and Rogers continue to protest against further nuclear arms cuts and to criticize Russia for its noncompliance. They say the Obama administration has never addressed their concerns – neither publicly nor privately. Bill Gertz says more on that here.

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

Rebuttal of the 6 most popular myths about nuclear weapons

megoizzy (CC)

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

It is falsely claimed that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s deal with these myths one after another.

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

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

megoizzy (CC)

megoizzy (CC)


The US nuclear arsenal is the most effective counter-proliferation program ever created. It has discouraged all of America’s allies except Britain and France from developing nuclear weapons, reassuring them that they don’t need to do so because the US provides a powerful nuclear umbrella to them. Such an umbrella is ESPECIALLY needed now – more than ever – given the nuclear threats posed by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

Russia has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (including 1,550 deployed) and up to 4,000 tactical warheads – and the means to deliver all 6,800 if need be. Its 434 ICBMs can collectively deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; its 14 ballistic missile submarines can deliver over 2,200 warheads to the CONUS (while sitting in their ports); and each of its 251 strategic bombers can carry up to 7 warheads (1 freefall bomb and 6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles). Its Tu-95 bomber fleet alone can deliver over 700 warheads to the middle of America.

China has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, and the means to deliver 1,274 of them. Among these are almost 70 ICBMs, 120-140 MRBMs, over 1,600 SRBMs, dozens of land-attack cruise missiles, six ballistic missile submarines, and 440 nuclear-capable aircraft. While the vast majority of its SRBMs and cruise missiles are reportedly conventionally-armed at present, they could be armed with nuclear weapons anytime, which is called “breakout capability.”

Then there’s North Korea with its nuclear arsenal (which it has announced it will grow) and ICBMs capable of reaching the US, and Iran, which is coming closer to achieving nuclear weapon status everyday.

Besides deterring nuclear attack, nuclear weapons also protect America’s treaty allies against a large-scale conventional attack – ensuring that it has never happened so far.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Numbers don’t lie. Liberals do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

Help STOP precipitous cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent

The extreme Left has not given up. Despite all the facts proving the need for continued nuclear deterrence and for a large, modern American nuclear deterrent, the extreme Left – led by Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Ed Markey (D-MA, now a Senate candidate), the left continues to work to disarm America unilaterally.

Purporting to want to solve the problem of sequestration – which would make $85 bn in spending cuts in the federal budget this year and $110 bn in each successive fiscal year through FY2022, half in the defense budget and half in nondefense discretionary spending – Ellison has introduced a bill (cosponsored by 11 other House liberals, including Markey) which would replace the sequester with even more crippling and disastrous defense cuts and with massive tax increases, while completely shielding civilian (nondefense) spending – discretionary and nondiscretionary alike – from ANY cuts.

Thus, under Ellison’s plan, the ONLY agencies that would see cuts in their budgets would be the DOD and the Department of Energy (in its nuclear weapons programs).

Under the guise of wanting to cancel sequestration, Ellison and his 11 fellow liberal Democrats have proposed a treasonous, disastrous plan to completely gut the US military, including and especially its nuclear deterrent that provides a life insurance and a security umbrella for the US as well as over 30 allies.

Never before have I seen such a disingenous, dishonest, and treasonous bill (except those sponsored by Markey) – pretending to save the military from sequestration but calling for even deeper, more crippling, cuts to it, especially (but not exclusively) to America’s nuclear deterrent.

Now, House Republicans will likely kill the bill in committee (as they should), but it’s such a dangerous and treasonous bill, and such an act of political perfidy and dishonesty, that I’d like to nonetheless explain its dangerous provisions so that the public will be warned and its sponsors will be shown for whom they really are: traitors.

What is wrong with that bill?

To start with, EVERYTHING.

It begins with so-called “Congressional findings”, where Ellison and his fellow extreme leftists inserted a number of blatant lies. They falsely claim that America can afford to dramatically and unilaterally cut its nuclear deterrent even further because “the Cold War is over, the Berlin Wall is down, and the Soviet Union is gone”. They also falsely claim that further deep cuts can be done  without damage to US national security.

But those empty slogans, which House liberals have been repeating for months, are meaningless and irrelevant to the question of how many nuclear weapons America needs. The end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall does NOT mean that the need for nuclear deterrence (and for a large American nuclear deterrent) has significantly diminished or that America can afford to cut its nuclear arsenal still further, on top of the 75% of the cuts already made since 1991.

In fact, the opposite is true: the need for nuclear deterrence, and for a large American nuclear deterrent, has only INCREASED since the Cold War’s end, as China has dramatically expanded its nuclear arsenal (to up to 3,000 nuclear warheads now), Russia has expanded and modernized its own arsenal since 2000, and two new countries hostile to the US – Pakistan and North Korea – have joined the nuclear club, with Iran well on its way there.

Furthermore, while Russia, China, and North Korea are threats to many but protectors to nobody, the US has to provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself, but also to over 30 allies who rely on it for their security and indeed their own survival. These allies cannot afford to bet their survival on America breaking free of its disarmament kool-aid in the next 4 years. If the US cuts its nuclear arsenal significantly further, they will have no choice but to develop their own nuclear weapons – and 66.5% of South Koreans ALREADY support such a course of action. (A large majority of South Koreans also want US nuclear weapons to be reintroduced to the Peninsula as a deterrent against North Korea.)

Today, Russia alone has up to 6,800 nuclear warheads (2,800 strategic and up to 4,00 tactical warheads), all of which are immediately deliverable. Russia’s fleet of 434 ICBMs alone can, due to the multiple-warhead carriage capacity of most of these ICBMs, deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS, while Russia’s 14-strong ballistic missile submarine fleet could deliver well over 2,000. Russia’s 251 strategic bombers can deliver 7 warheads each – 6 on nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and one as a freefall bomb. For its tactical warheads, Russia has a wide range of delivery systems: torpedoes, cruise missiles, surface ships, SRBMs, tactical aircraft, artillery systems, etc.

China has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads (most of which are immediately deliverable), as detailed here and here. On top of that, one also has to deter North Korea and Iran.

And no, a few hundred warheads would not suffice. They could destroy enemy population centers, but that would not deter the enemy – because Russian, Chinese, North Korean, and Iranian leaders do not value civilians’ lives. They care only about their military and economic assets and their tools of oppression. But to be able to target these, one needs thousands, not mere hundreds, of warheads – at minimum, the current 1,550 warheads allowed by New START, probably even more.

Deterrence means holding what the enemy REALLY values at risk. But then again, the Left rejects the entire principle of deterrence. Leftists think that military weakness guarantees safety and military strength is provocative. Ellison’s bill aims to make America as weak as possible.

No serious “analysts” or “experts” support these cuts

It also falsely claims that “many national security and arms control analysts and experts” say that the US should reduce its arsenal to “no more than 1,000 warheads.” But there aren’t any real “experts” or “analysts” calling for such cuts or such an arbitrary limit. The only people advocating that are utterly ignorant, but very opinionated advocates of unilateral disarmament, such as Tom Collina and Daryl Kimball of the ACA, Joe Cirincione of Ploughshares, Chuck Hagel of Global Zero, and the ignorant anti-nuclear hacks at the “Council for a Livable World.”

But these ignorant unilateral disarmament agitators have been calling for deep, unilateral cuts in America’s deterrent since the founding of their organizations in the 1960s and 1970s. They did not begin calling for America’s disarmament after the Berlin Wall fell, but much earlier – in the midst of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was still alive and very dangerous.

In other words, they have ALWAYS been singing the unilateral disarmament siren song – no matter what the times and circumstances were. And just as they were dead wrong during the Cold War, they’re dead wrong today.

And no serious “analyst” worth his salt, let alone an “expert”, would set an arbitrary limit on the US nuclear arsenal (“no more than X warheads”). A truly credible analyst would not set an upper limit on the nuclear deterrent and would call for however many warheads were necessary, also allowing for the possibility that he might be underestimating the need and for an increase of the arsenal should the need arise.

The pro-unilateral-disarmament hacks call for a firm upper limit (ceiling) on America’s nuclear deterrent, chosen arbitrarily at just 1,000 warheads, because they couldn’t care less about America’s security. All they care about is disarming the US unilaterally.

The bill also falsely claims that significant savings can be made by cutting the nuclear deterrent. But that’s also a blatant lie. The cost of maintaining it – the warheads, the delivery systems, and the supporting facilities – is only $32 to $36 bn per year, i.e. less than 1% of the ttoal federal budget.

Cutting it even by half – by $16-18 bn per year – wouldn’t come close to even making a dent in the federal budget deficit ($1 TRILLION every year). Eliminating the entire ICBM fleet would “save” only $1.1 bn per year; eliminating the bomber fleet, only $2.5 bn.

What does the bill call for?

So let’s see what the bill’s provisions are.

It would:

  • Prohibit any funding for maintaining the B61 and W78 warheads.
  • Require cutting the ICBM fleet from 450 to no more than 200 missiles.
  • Require retiring B-52 and B-2 bombers from nuclear deterrence and disabling their nuclear carriage capability.
  • Requiire cutting the ballistic missile submarine fleet to just 8 boats, down from 14, and procuring only 8 replacement SSBNs.
  • Prohibit the development of any replacement ICBM, even though the current fleet of ICBMs will, due to its age, retire by no later than 2030.
  • Prohibit making the F-35 nuclear-capable.
  • Prohibit the development of the urgently-needed Next Generation Bomber (the replacement for B-1s and B-52s) until FY2025, which would delay its entry into service by a decade, until FY2035 at the earliest (unless the Left decides to delay it further). For why the NGB is urgently needed and absolutely necessary, see here and here.
  • Prohibit the construction of the urgently-needed CMRR and Uranium Production Facilities (needed to produce plutonium pits for plutonium wahreads and highly-enriched uranium for uranium warheads, respectively), whose construction is REQUIRED by the Senate resolution of ratification of New START and the FY2013 NDAA.

In addition, the bill would gut America’s conventional capabilities as well:

  • It would dramatically cut F-35B and C procurement while also strictly limiting the procurement of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, often touted as an alternative for the F-35, to just a few hundred aircraft, well short of the Navy’s and the Marines’ needs (not to mention that the Super Bug cannot take off and land vertically).
  • It would permanently cut the carrier fleet to just 10 vessels by prohibiting the construction of the next USS Enterprise, CVN-80.
  • It would limit Virginia class attack submarine production to just one boat per year, thus dramatically cutting the attack submarine fleet’s size over the short and long term while also creating inefficiencies, because economies of scale (made by procuring two submarines per year) would be lost.
  • It would kill the excellent V-22 Osprey, which has performed magnificently in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, and is loved by its Marine pilots, without replacement.

The bill is not about saving the military from sequestration or saving taxpayers money. The bill is about gutting the US military’s nuclear and conventional capabilities alike, particularly the nuclear deterrent, which is responsible for keeping America and over 30 of its allies secure. And besides making you and all of us much less secure, and hostages to Russia’s and China’s nuclear arsenals, it would also raise your (and everyone’s) taxes.

This is a wolf in wolf’s clothing.

The bill must be utterly rejected and killed in committee. Furthermore, its sponsor (Keith Ellison) and cosponsors (Ed Markey and 10 other stridently liberal Democrats) must be unmaksed and outed for whom they really are: traitors.

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