Liberals never give up in their campaign to disarm America unilaterally. As the service lives of the components of America’s nuclear triad – the missiles, the aircraft, the submarines, and the warheads – come to an end, the Pentagon will have to replace them with new ones in the years ahead. Liberals believe this is a great opportunity for them to disarm the US unilaterally – through neglect and nonreplacement of America’s aging nuclear arms.
As the necessity to replace these aging weapons approaches, liberals are spreading blatant lies about the nuclear arsenal replacement’s costs, necessity, and the scope of the nuclear threats facing the US. In fact, liberals deny there are any nuclear threats to America’s security. This article will utterly refute their lies and state the truth on the subject.
The “director for disarmament and threat reduction” at the Arms Control Association (a far-left pro-unilateral-disarmament group funded by other far-left organizations), Kingston Reif, a pro-unilateral disarmament hack already refuted a few times here, has recently lied:
“Instead of moving forward with an overly ambitious and excessively expensive modernization plan that would recapitalize a US nuclear force that is, by the Pentagon’s and the president’s own analysis, far larger than US nuclear deterrence needs require, the White House, Pentagon and Energy Department should examine common-sense options for reshaping the arsenal in ways that would save billions and still provide more than adequate nuclear deterrence capabilities. Such options exist.”
“The Pentagon’s and the president’s own analysis” that Reif invokes is Obama’s own, singular, completely baseless claim from June 2013 that America can supposedly deter Russia, China, and North Korea with just 1,000 deployed warheads, while these two states pursue a limitless nuclear buildup.
But contrary to Reif’s and Obama’s blatant lies, the size of the nuclear force planned by the Pentagon for the future (similar to today’s nuclear force) will barely be adequate – and only assuming Russia and China don’t grow their arsenals much further. If they do build their arsenals up further, the US will also have to.
Russia currently has 375 ICBMs capable of delivering over 1,000 warheads to the CONUS, 80 strategic bombers capabe of delivering 886 warheads, and 14 ballistic missile subs capable of delivering over 1,200 warheads to the CONUS.
On top of that, Russia possesses 13 attack submarines and 8 guided missile submarines capable of unexpectedly attacking the US with hundreds of nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and 171 “continental” Tu-22M bombers capable of reaching the US with their payload (10 nuclear-tipped missiles each) if refueled mid-air.
In addition, Russia has a huge tactical nuclear arsenal that numbers up to 4,000 warheads. Their delivery systems range from short- and medium range Iskander and R-500 ground-launched missiles (which violate the INF treaty
Moscow is now busy replacing all of its Soviet-era systems with new weapons. It is building a fleet of new ballistic missile subs, building an additional 50 Tu-160 intercontinental bombers, and developing a new, stealthy strategic bomber as well as a hypersonic glide vehicle which, if delivered by a missile, could itself deliver a nuclear payload anywhere in the world in less than an hour. And, by 2022, all of Russia’s Soviet-era ICBMs will be replaced by new ones; what’s more, the fleet will grow to more than 400 missiles from 375 today.
Furthermore, Vladimir Putin has just announced that he’ll add over 40 new ICBM’s to Russia’s missile fleet this year alone. There is currently a dispute on th Net on whether these new missiles will be an addition to or a replacement for Russia’s current ICBMs. But even if they’re just replacing older missiles, that’s still a huge boost – this mean replacing 13% of Russia’s entire ICBM fleet in one year.
A Russian RS-24 Yars ICBM being test-launched. Russia will add 40 such ICBMs to its arsenal this year, President Putin said on June 16th. Photo credit: Sputnik News
Moreover, Russia’s new ground- and submarine-launched ballistic missiles can carry far more warheads than the old Soviet-era missiles they’re replacing. The new Yars and Rubezh missiles can carry 6-10 warheads each, unlike the old single-warhead RT-2PM Topol (SS-25 Sickle) ICBMs they’re replacing. Likewise, Russia’s new Bulava and Layner (Liner) submarine-launched missiles can carry 10 and 12 warheads, respectively, per missile; the Skiff missiles they’re replacing can only carry four. So a single Russian submarine armed with 16 such missiles can deliver 192 warheads to the CONUS; keep in mind Russia has 14 ballistic missile subs, including 9-10 operationally available at any moment.
A Russian Liner submarine-launched ballistic missile being test-launched. A single such missile can carry 12 warheads. Photo credit: NavalToday.
As the UK Daily Telegraph has noted about those 40 new ICBMs Putin will deploy this year:
“The older weapons will be withdrawn and succeeded by new SS-27 missiles, each capable of delivering between four and six strategic nuclear warheads. If loaded to full capacity, these new ICBMs could deliver 240 nuclear warheads – more than Britain’s entire arsenal.”
So not only is Russia deploying more missiles and bombers, they can carry far more warheads than the missiles/bombers they’re replacing.
Deputy Secretary Work is keenly aware that Russia’s nuclear arsenal is designed to do one thing: intimidate and threaten America and its allies:
“Bob Work, deputy defense secretary, told lawmakers at the House Armed Services Committee that Russia is “literally playing with fire” through recent actions, which have seen that nation speak openly about increasing its nuclear arsenal.
“Senior Russian officials continue to make irresponsible statements regarding Russia’s nuclear forces, and we assess they are doing it to intimidate our allies and us,” Work said.”
China is likewise deploying ever more missiles capable of carrying ever more warheads. It is now deploying the DF-41 mobile ICBM capable of carrying 10 warheads, has 4-5 Jin-class ballistic missile subs deployed (12 missiles each), and its H-6K bombers’ cruise missiles can reach Hawaii. Beijing is now developing the 24-missile Tang class of submarines, hypersonic nuclear-capable glide vehicles (similar to Russia’s), and a stealthy intercontinental bomber.
A Chinese Jin-class submarine. China has 4 such boats with a fifth slated to join them soon, and each of them can carry at least 12 JL-2 missiles, which in turn can carry at least 4 warheads each. A four-boat fleet gives China a continous at-sea nuclear deterrent like France and the UK have. Photo credit: Military-Today.com.
In short, both Russia and China already have large nuclear arsenals and are building them up further; arsenals which, in the future, will be even bigger and deadlier than today.
Against this background, it would be utterly suicidal for the US to cut its arsenal any further or to neglect to modernize it.
The truth is that the US – and its 30 allies who rely on the American nuclear umbrella for their security – must have a nuclear deterrent that can survive any potential Russian or Chinese first strike not only today, but indefinitely into the future.
The US nuclear arsenal must be large enough – and survivable enough – to withstand any blow, even a huge one – by Russian and Chinese nuclear forces – not only those of today, but more importantly those of the future.
In short, we must think of the future, not just the present. The new nuclear deterrent the Pentagon plans to build must protect America against any nuclear threat well into the future.
Thus, the US will need to increase – not cut – its nuclear arsenal, and modernize it fully.
In addition, the new Long-Range Strike Bomber is absolutely necessary to perform conventional bombing campaigns as well. And if used against a nuclear power like China or North Korea, it would greatly REDUCE the threat to the US and its allies by being able to destroy enemy missile launchers BEFORE they have a chance to launch their deadly payloads. The LRSB will be a transformational weapon giving the US military new capabilities – not a mere replacement for old bombers. As Dr Robbin Laird rightly writes here:
“The B-3 is not simply going to provide more ordnance over greater distance to do strategic missions; it is about reinforcing and enabling greater capabilities for a radically different combat air force. Range and payload will be important elements of the basic platform, as will leveraging new concepts of stealth to provide low observability. But that is simply a foundation.”
And the cost?
The Pentagon says it will need to spend $18 bn on nuclear deterrent modernization starting in 2021 and ending in 2035, for a total cost of $270 bn over 15 years.
The Pentagon’s total annual budget is around $600 bn; $18 bn is 3% of that. It is utter nonsense to claim that the Pentagon cannot afford to spend a pitiful 3% of its budget on modernizing America’s nuclear umbrella that also shields over 30 allies and friends.
Liberals falsely claim that the total modernization cost will be $1 trillion over 30 years, with $348 bn over the next 10 years.
But that figure is nothing but a claim of the Monterey Institute for Strategic Studies, another liberal pro-disarmament group.
But even if that figure were correct – which it likely won’t be – $1 trillion over 30 years is just $33.3 bn per year, i.e. around 6% of the Pentagon’s total budget. Deputy Secretary Robert Work estimates it at about 7%.
A few other liberals (CSIS’s Clark Murdock, Thomas Karako, and Angela Weaver) recently (and falsely) claimed, for their part, that:
“Nuclear weapons do not achieve U.S. policy objectives, dominant conventional forces do. The U.S. interest lies in seeking to minimize the importance accorded to nuclear weapons by narrowing the roles they are perceived to play. U.S. doctrine, policy, forces, and diplomacy should all be configured to support this interest. The posture described in this paper achieves just that, in contrast to postures that imagine uses of nuclear weapons that have never actually been demonstrated. After 70 years of indulging fantasies of what nuclear weapons can do, it is high time to acknowledge that they do very little and adapt U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, and forces to those facts.”
What they’re saying, though, are blatant lies, not facts. Nuclear weapons achieve three supremely important US policy objectives:
- Preventing a nuclear, chemical, biological, or major conventional attack on the US or its treaty allies;
- Reassuring those allies so that they don’t have to develop their nuclear arsenals, and thus limiting nuclear proliferation; and
- Preventing wars between the world’s great powers.
And contrary to their lie that “The U.S. interest lies in seeking to minimize the importance accorded to nuclear weapons by narrowing the roles they are perceived to play”, America’s national interest actually lies in preventing WMD or major conventional attacks against America’s allies and achieving the other objectives stated above.
Fantasising about “mimizing the importance accorded to nuclear weapons by narrowing the roles they are perceied to play” will not achieve any US policy objectives. Such childish fantasizing therefore contrary to America’s national interests.
No matter how badly these liberals – and Obama admin officials – wish to minimize nuclear weapons’ role, their importance in the world is huge, and will only grow in the future, as more countries acquire these arms and as existing nuclear powers modernize and expand their arsenals.
Russia, China, North Korea, India, and Pakistan are all growing and modernizing their nuclear arsenals. Because of their actions, the global, objective importance of atomic weapons is growing, not shrinking, no matter how much the US wishes it were otherwise.
It doesn’t matter what America wants; what matters is what the world is currently like. And the world is currently headed in the direction of MORE nuclear weapons and MORE countries armed with them, and thus, MUCH GREATER importance accorded to them.
The Arms Control Association’s Greg Thielmann, for his part, claims that the US should augment its “nuclear disarmament bona fides” by accelerating the nuclear arsenal cuts mandated by the New START treaty and by cutting that arsenal even further, to just 1,000 warheads.
But “nuclear disarmament bona fides” count for nothing in this world. They don’t make a country more secure – on the contrary, they only expose it to danger. Just look at Ukraine, which voluntarily gave up its nuclear arms during the 1990s in exchange for paper promises of respect for its territorial integrity and its independence. Russia brazenly violated these promises last year.
Finally, Adam Mount of the leftist Council on Foreign Relations falsely claims that there are no new nuclear threats, and that:
“It will certainly not help to worry about “new” nuclear threats where there are none. The best way to prevent a new arms race is to refuse to engage in one.”
He also falsely asserts that:
“There are already calls in the United States to fight fire with fire and add to our own nuclear forces. However, there is little reason to believe that building new nuclear capabilities or forward-deploying the ones we already have would restrain Russia. There is every reason to believe that Putin would take these steps as license to divert attention to the nuclear balance, to abrogate existing arms control treaties, to launch a new arms race, and to use his nuclear arsenal to cover aggression at lower levels—in short, to start a new Cold War.”
Like other liberals’ claims, these are also blatant lies. Russia and China have already started a new arms race against the US. At this point, the US only has a choice whether to accept the challenge (and thus develop counter-weapons it needs to defend itself) or not to respond and thus to fall behind its adversaries (which is essentially unilateral disarmament by neglect).
And contrary to his blatant lies, there are new nuclear threats to America’s security: Russia’s and China’s nuclear buildups, North Korea’s burgeoning nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals, and Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.
As for Mount’s false claim that Putin would use an American nuclear buildup as an excuse to “divert attention to the nuclear balance, to abrogate existing arms control treaties, to launch a new arms race, and to use his nuclear arsenal to cover aggression at lower levels” – he’s already doing all of that.
He has already launched an arms race against the US, is violating arms control treaties with impunity, is building up his nuclear arsenal and diverting the Russian public’s attention to it, and is using that arsenal to cover his aggression against his neighbors.
At this point, the US faces a simple choice: it will either build up its nuclear deterrent to a superior level, or it – along with all of its allies – will live under constant threat from an ever-aggressive Russia.