Obama Wants to Drastically Reduce US Nuclear Capability

Obama is showing his true colors. He’s a clueless idealist willing to sacrifice our country’s safety and security for pipe dreams of a “world without nuclear weapons” (his own words). This type of “change” makes terrorists and totalitarian regimes around the world jump for joy. Folks, we’re in serious trouble with this sorry excuse of a president.

AP | BARRY SCHWEID | Feb. 5, 2009

The Obama administration, reversing the Bush administration’s limited interest in nuclear disarmament, is gearing up for early negotiations with Russia on a new treaty that would sharply reduce stockpiles of nuclear warheads.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has notified Congress and her staff that she intends to get started quickly on talks with the Russians, who have voiced interest in recent weeks in settling on a new treaty calling for cutbacks in arsenals on both sides.

The 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty expires at the end of the year. It limited the United States and Russia to 6,000 nuclear warheads each. The American stockpile is believed to be about 2,300 warheads, and the Russians’ even lower.

Clinton’s spokesman, Robert Wood, said the new administration was serious about negotiating reductions in nuclear weapons. A replacement treaty for START “will be put on a fast track,” Wood said. […]

“I can’t give you a time frame when we will be able to complete a review,” Wood said in an interview Thursday. In that vein, he said, the administration was “clearly committed to reducing the numbers” but has not decided how deep to slash.

Internal talks on what position the U.S. should take in overall disarmament have begun within the State Department and with the White House, said officials aware of the discussions. Those discussions are expected to accelerate when the key posts are filled, said the officials, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly.

While the officials said they hoped the nomination process and Senate confirmation would not take long they did not know when the administration would be ready for talks with the Russians.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the private Arms Control Association, said “it appears that reductions down to 1,000 warheads are possible.” That would be a cut of more than 50 percent on the U.S. side.

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14 thoughts on “Obama Wants to Drastically Reduce US Nuclear Capability

  1. The U.S. is drowning in debt with the US Dollar about to hyperinflate.

    The current U.S. arsenal of nukes is far in excess of what any potential enemy has. The current arsenal costs over $6 Billion a year to maintain.

    The budget of the United States has to be cut. The continuing trillion dollar deficit spending can not continue. Entitlements need to go, discretionary spending has to go, wasteful government parasites must be eliminated.

    The Pentagon also has to get the ax. Nukes are not usable for any purpose other than deterring the other side from using them. As long as the US maintains a sufficiently large, survivable nuke arsenal, then I say cut the unnecessary nukes out and save money. While at it, you can also cut the F22 which was designed to counter planes the Soviets didn’t survive long enough to build, the V22 Osprey that is useless, the Sea Wolf class subs, and a bunch of other boondoggles that waste tax dollars on defending against threats that do not exist.

    If you have a nuke force which can survive a first strike, and which is capable of total worldwide destruction, then who cares if you have 1,000 thermonukes or 2,000? Each of these nukes ranges up to 6,000 times more powerful than the bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Just how many thousands of cities do we need to destroy to convince a potential rival that using nukes against us is a death wish?

    A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, and soon you are talking real money…..

  2. George your perspective is wrong. You’re willing to “save” $6 billion and endanger the entire country and 300 million people by entrusting our safety to the “good will” of terrorist (Iran), communist (China), unstable (Pakistan), and unfriendly (Russia) regimes. Sorry to say this but you are naive in the extreme. You’re worried about $6 billion when our deficit spending is $1 Trillion now? Even $60 or $160 billion would be worth it for us to insure no other regime dares to slaughter millions of Americans and plunge our country into another dark age. Have you learned nothing from history?

  3. I totally agree that we are debt-ridden and that the Fed is printing cash. Of course we need to cut spending. $6 billion, however, is a very small amount of money for the protection a large strategic nuclear arsenal provides. The Russian arsenal is still very large, China’s is rapidly expanding, and we can expect additional smaller arsenals to proliferate in the next ten years.

    A much larger cost savings with less impact to military capability might be realized by consolidating domestic military bases, but these bases are essentially huge pork projects.

  4. You’re worried about $6 billion when our deficit spending is $1 Trillion now? Even $60 or $160 billion would be worth it for us to insure no other regime dares to slaughter millions of Americans and plunge our country into another dark age. Have you learned nothing from history?

    Well, yes. I’ve learned that since 1945, not even Communist regimes capable of slaughtering millions of their own citizens are willing to risk nuclear war. It is not a question of absolute size of the arsenal. If you have a nuclear arsenal numbering in the thousands, deployed in the three legs of the strategic triad (bombers, subs, and land-based missiles), then no enemy is going to launch a nuke attack. You pass a certain level after which more missiles are simply – “overkill.” Where do you think that phrase comes from? This is the nuke arsenal above that which is necessary to complete eradicate all life in an enemy nation.

    If America has a survivable nuke arsenal of 1,500 nukes, that is enough power to complete destroy all population centers on Earth. How the heck are we more secure by having an additional 1,000 or more warheads? If there actually existed a suicidal regime somewhere that wants a nuke war, are they more likely to start one because we can ONLY blow them up 100 times instead of 200 times?

    The question isn’t the absolute value of yield. The question is – do you have a properly secured force capable of deterring an attack? Nukes are useless for any purpose other than deterrence. Simply cutting the number of nukes is not prima facie evidence of dereliction of duty. I have no problems cutting the quantity of nukes, and saving money where possible, as long as the overall deterrence force is properly maintained.

    A much larger cost savings with less impact to military capability might be realized by consolidating domestic military bases, but these bases are essentially huge pork projects.

    The defense budget is a wonderland of waste, fraud, graft, and even outright theft. However, any time anyone starts to toy with the ideas of closing bases, cutting weapons systems that are not needed, or taking other necessary steps – then everyone starts screaming. The communities impacted shriek about job losses. The military screams that the systems are needed, even though they are designed to combat threats that do not exist. ‘Conservatives’ scream that we are weakening the military.

    And besides, the proposed cuts will “only” save a billion or so dollars, not worth the effort is it?

    Well it is worth the effort. Time to stop screaming and start thinking. Russia or China is not going to start a nuke war because they have a 500 or 1,000 or even 200,000 more missiles than the U.S. Even a small nuke arsenal makes a nation immune from attack, because even one nuke hitting your country is an unacceptable loss for any political system. That is why small countries like North Korea are so anxious to go nuclear. Once you have the bomb, you are practically invulnerable. We would never have attacked a nuke-armed Iraq, would we? And that would be a nation with a small arsenal.

    Now imagine facing thousands of nukes. It doesn’t matter how unstable the regimes we face, or how much we dislike them, or they dislike us. As long as our forces maintain sufficient counterstrike credibility, we are not going to face a nuclear strike originating from a nation state that knows attacking with nukes is a death sentence.

    The only possible game changer would be a new technology, like nano tech, that made it possible to render a nuke arsenal inert on the ground. Then it wouldn’t be necessary to launch many nukes, only one would do it, and then threaten until the other site capitulated. Barring that kind of development, even a greatly reduced arsenal provides all the deterrence we need.

  5. George #4:

    I think that for the most part you are correct. However, Obama has advocated cuts of 80%. Exactly how many nukes we have left is not a publically available figure, but if 1,000 is over 50%, then we’re talking about a remaining force of less than 400 if Obama gets his way.

    During the cold war there were a number of times where the we came close to nuclear war with the Soviets. Besides the Cuban missile crisis, there was apparently a very close call in the mid-1980s, and there were some Politburo members pushing for a first strike shortly before communism’s collapse. This, at a time when the American arsenal was much larger than it is today.

    The arsenal needs to be sufficiently large that any would-be suicidal aggressor (say, Iran perhaps) would realize that a first strike on America or its allies would be suicidal, and it should be sufficiently large that if the arsenal must be used against one enemy, enough warheads remain to deter mischief from remaining threats.

  6. During the cold war there were a number of times where the we came close to nuclear war with the Soviets. Besides the Cuban missile crisis, there was apparently a very close call in the mid-1980s, and there were some Politburo members pushing for a first strike shortly before communism’s collapse. This, at a time when the American arsenal was much larger than it is today.

    I specialized in Slavic Studies for both undergrad and grad work, prior to getting an MBA and getting a real job.

    When the archives were opened after the fall of the Soviet Union, the most shocking thing for specialists in the field was that after Kennedy’s challenge, the Soviets were looking for a way out. They had overplayed their hand, and just wanted a face saving way to back down.

    Most totalitarian regimes are run by people who like the money, the chicks, and the good times. I know that is blunt, but facts are facts.

    As for any Politburo member advocating a nuke war with America – can you document that? I have never once heard such a thing.

    400 nukes is too low. If Obama is advocating for a number in that range, then that is too low. A number north of 1,000 or so is comfortable. You can, essentially, destroy the entire world with that number.

    Why does everyone on this board think Iran is suicidal? Iran has not attacked another nation in over a century. They are cautious, preferring even to co-operate with us in Iraq to ensure Shia power rather than go all out against us.

    Why do you think they are suicidal? Because their president is a buffoon? Look at what we have had for the past 8 years, and look at the moron we have now.

    Iran is not now, nor will it ever be suicidal. The majority of Iranians aren’t even particularly religious. The current president will not win re-election, and the culture is a cauldron of anti-clericalism. In 20 years, the place will be an ally again.

    The suicidal nature of Iran has turned into some kind of known fact. Everyone just ‘knows’ that Iranians are bent on getting a nuke so they can commit national suicide by hitting Tel Aviv. There is no rational basis for believing this. Oh they’ll gladly send arms to Hezbollah or Hamas so that those boys can die for Islam, but getting their own nation totally destroyed in a nuclear firestorm? They’ll pass on that.

    Looking abroad, I don’t see any nation state with a death wish. Keep the force north of 1,000 and ensure counterstrike capability, and there will be no problem.

  7. George, you bring up some valid points. However, it’s mostly speculation and wishful thinking. Even if you’re 90% accurate, that would still place the safety of this country at the mercy of lunatics and power-hungry near-despots. I’m not ready to gamble on that.

  8. As for any Politburo member advocating a nuke war with America – can you document that? I have never once heard such a thing.

    This was mentioned in an interview of a former communist official in a documentary about Reagan, but I don’t have the reference.

    Iran is not now, nor will it ever be suicidal.

    There is no way to know this. All we know is that a president, allowed to remain in power by the clerics who actually control the country, states in no uncertain terms that Israel will cease to exist. We also know he is trying to obtain nuclear weapons, as the kinds and quantities of centrifuges he is importing are only good for one thing. Then there are the apocalyptic Shi’ite religious beliefs. Sure, this isn’t proof, but I it is no sure bet that rational minds will prevail, regardless of the wishes of the effectively disenfranchised Iranian people.

  9. Then there are the apocalyptic Shi’ite religious beliefs. Sure, this isn’t proof, but I it is no sure bet that rational minds will prevail, regardless of the wishes of the effectively disenfranchised Iranian people.

    My party, the Republican Party, is practically dominated by people with apocalyptic beliefs. The Dispensationalists make the craziest claims ever. They advocate immediately attacking Syria on the grounds that Biblical prophecy has foretold this necessity. They advocate a showdown with Russia because it is ‘Gog,’ they call for nuclear strikes against Iran, ethnic cleansing in Iraq, etc.

    Even though Bush had the backing of this group, he never once tried to implement their most extreme agenda items. Having a large group of people with radical end times views is not the same thing as implementing them. I don’t want the rest of the world judging us by the things that fly out of the mouth of Pat Robertson. If that were the case, the planet would live in utter terror of us starting a nuke exchange to usher in the Rapture and the Millennial Reign of Christ.

    I understand the Shia end times thinking, but at the same time, I look at their actions as more indicative of their intentions. They are a very cautious regime, whose base of support among the people is rapidly eroding. They are screwing up their economy, and many an average Iranian is just sick of all the garbage and wants to get back to normal.

    Overall, Iranians are more secular-minded than those with pro-Western regimes such as Egypt. Why?

    Because Islam does not work. Iran gave its people full-on Islam. It crashed and burned. Islam is not compatible with modernity. The Iranians who crowd the slops of snowboarding competitions, or who buy American consumer goods on the black market, all know that Islam is a big, fat, dead end.

    Long-term, I expect our relationship to Iran to be much warmer and better for both sides than our alliance with Saudi Arabia.

    George, you bring up some valid points. However, it’s mostly speculation and wishful thinking. Even if you’re 90% accurate, that would still place the safety of this country at the mercy of lunatics and power-hungry near-despots. I’m not ready to gamble on that.

    Who’s gambling? There can be no general nuke disarmament. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Getting rid of nukes is a pipe dream, a fairy tale. If you disarm all the world’s super powers, then any nation wishing to cheat can build a nuke arsenal on the sly and become a major power over night.

    But, we do have too many nukes, and we could reduce that arsenal without making us less secure.

    We also have a lot of bloated weapons systems that can be gotten rid of without compromising security. Obama isn’t the right man for this, of course, because I don’t think he is smart enough to do the job properly.

    But getting our military spending under control has to be a priority. We need to set the stage properly for this in the future by framing our arguments properly. A future Republican regime taking office in 2013 needs to have the will of the base for the purposes of cutting back on military expenditures. It has to happen.

  10. D. George –

    You should pursue more research on the Soviet Union and its leadership based on the documents emerging since 1994:

    Realpolitik held sway in the Kremlin. Ideology played an important role in shaping their perceptions, but Soviet leaders were not focused on promoting worldwide revolution. They were concerned mostly with configurations of power, with protecting their country?s immediate periphery, ensuring its security, and preserving their rule. Governing a land devastated by two world wars, they feared a resurgence of German and Japanese strength. They felt threatened by a United States that alone among the combatants emerged from the war wealthier and armed with the atomic bomb. Soviet officials did not have preconceived plans to make Eastern Europe communist, to support the Chinese communists, or to wage war in Korea. Soviet clients, moreover, could and did act in pursuit of their own interests, sometimes goading the Kremlin into involvements it did not want.

    Totalitarian regimes are populated by cowards. Why? Brave men end up as martyrs early on, leaving behind a bunch of ‘yes men.’ A great contrast is Hitler versus Mussolini. Hitler was genuinely nuts. Mussolini came into WWII after he thought Hitler had won the war. He didn’t enter the war until 1940. He and the Italians also tried to quit the war and join the Allies.

    Mussolini was a typical Fascist bully – happy to attack Greece or Ethiopia, but unwilling to take on a major enemy. Hitler was different. So different, in fact, as to be historically unique. He was not a coward, having been a decorated veteran. He was, in fact, completely nuts. Most people who claw their way to the top of a dictatorship are not nuts.

    Over and over again, we’ve faced totalitarian or dictatorial regimes and convinced ourselves that they are blinded by ideology, or blood thirsty, or run by crazy men who will stop at nothing to destroy us and our way of life.

    Time and again, we find that we over estimated their allegiance to ideology. Time and again it turns out that Mao will make a deal, that Soviets will fold on a bad hand, or that Libya (for example) will cut a deal to stave off more sanctions.

    This is not to downplay how evil so many of these regimes are. They are evil, but their evil is mostly directed at their own populations. Typically, the men forming the power elite in these countries are personal cowards and blowhards who just want the money to keep flowing.

    Understanding that fact will save us a huge, huge number of blunders around the world.

  11. George #10:

    The Dispensationalists make the craziest claims ever. They advocate immediately attacking Syria on the grounds that Biblical prophecy has foretold this necessity. They advocate a showdown with Russia because it is ‘Gog,’ they call for nuclear strikes against Iran, ethnic cleansing in Iraq, etc.

    I am not a dispensationalist, but I have a strong understanding of dispensationalist beliefs due to my upbringing in a dispensationalist church. Dispensationalists do not believe the above, although various leftists have popularized the idea that they do in order to make them appear like lunatics. Dispensationalists do believe that the world will end in an apocalypse, but they don’t advocate attacking Russia or Syria. Many of them taught that Russia would be defeated after it launched an attack on Israel, not that Russia would be attacked and defeated. Furthermore, I never heard calls for nuclear strikes or ethnic cleansing against anyone the whole time I was taught by dispensationalists.

    The most unfortunate thing I saw was interpretation of prophecy that was incredibly detailed, often contradicted by current events, and subsequently revised. The smarter pastors were always less detailed in their interpretations of prophecy.

    There is a difference between believing certain things will happen (like 99.9% of dispensationalists) and trying to pick fights to get your interpretation of prophecies to happen. The vast majority of dispensationalists, I can assure you, do not advocate trying to hasten what they believe will happen. They will advocate defending Israel for sure, but they would not advocate a preemptive attack on Russia or Syria, at least not under current circumstances.

  12. The vast majority of dispensationalists, I can assure you, do not advocate trying to hasten what they believe will happen. They will advocate defending Israel for sure, but they would not advocate a preemptive attack on Russia or Syria, at least not under current circumstances.

    D. George –

    I grew up in a Dispensationalist family. My entire family, save for my wife and I, are still in that camp.

    We can go back and forth about what the majority believe or don’t believe. The fact is simply this – if you believe Russia is destined to be ‘Gog’ and to attack Israel, and that defending Israel is the most important thing in the world, then you are setting yourself up to confront Russia. Every move by Russia will be seen, not in light of great power politics, but as a move towards the Apocalypse. That will color your thinking and your attitudes.

    If the most objectionable thing you can find about Dispensationalist prophecy is that it is incredibly detailed, then I shudder for your Orthodoxy. The entire framework of Dispensationalist thought is pure heresy, and the fruits of heresy will be bitter for any society that succumbs to it.

  13. George #13: “If the most objectionable thing you can find about Dispensationalist prophecy is that it is incredibly detailed, then I shudder for your Orthodoxy.”

    Before I respond, I would like to better understand what you meant by “framework of [Dispensationalist] thought.” Do you mean that the entire body of beliefs of the dispensationalists is heretical, or do you mean that the whole cultural and intellectual condition (i.e., the framework from which they think) of the dispensationalists is itself heretical?

    As for the dispensationalist attitude toward Russia, I will agree it colored attitudes and did result in strong support of Israel and a strong military defense, but I disagree completely that it had many people actively seeking war against Russia – even during the cold war when Russia really did look like it might threaten Israel. But, perhaps we’ll have to agree to disagree on this as you say. I can only lean on experience with or exposure to many different (mostly evangelical and some Pentecostal/charismatic) dispensationalist denominations, as I don’t think anyone can point to accurate poll data of dispensationalist attitudes toward Russia.

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