If you are old enough to remember the Cold War then the term “arms race” is something you are aware of…..but for those youngsters here on IST….
An arms race occurs when two or more countries increase the size and quality of military resources to gain military and political superiority over one another. The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union is perhaps the largest and most expensive arms race in history……
But thank God with the end of the Cold War the dangerous game of arms race in nuclear weapons disappeared….think again!
We ended our involvement in the INF and that is an invitation to an arms race……
If you asked the Pentagon, they would tell you in no uncertain terms that the US is not engaged in any sort of nuclear arms race. At the same time, the US is spending heavily on new nuclear weapons, and is particularly scrambling to get weapons designed to target Russia.
Officials described a recent table-top war game where Russia carried out a tactical nuclear first-strike against NATO territory during a conflict in Europe. This idea of Russia attacking first seems to be informing a lot of US policy decisions.
The exercise saw a low-yield Russian nuke deployed, and the US arsenal, still limited on lower options, ultimately decided that their only response was a much bigger strategic nuclear strike on Russia, starting a civilization-ending nuclear exchange.
Though seemingly the risk of such a war would be a deterrent against a Russian first-strike, the Pentagon is arguing they need more low-yield options so they can engage in tit-for-tat nuclear wars at a lower level.
Analysts have been very concerned about these developments, because the Pentagon very publicly views lower-yield nukes as more usable, and this risks the US deploying them in attacks on non-nuclear states.
If there is NO arms race then why would the Pentagon be begging for more funds for nukes?
The US spends tens of billions of dollars annually on nuclear weapon modernization schemes. Every year, the Pentagon complains it is insufficient, and that continued with StratCom head Admiral Chas Richard, who warned that the US is “almost on a path to disarmament.”
Given how much the US spends, this is a vastly expensive sort of disarmament. Since the US outspends all other nuclear powers, it is hard to imagine that the problem is that the US needs to spend more, and while the admiral suggested the US should “invest smartly,” it’s clear he also wanted more money.
The narrative is that if the US continues at the current heightened level of spending they’ll still end up having to virtually rebuild their entire infrastructure or no longer be a nuclear power. This seems to be overly alarmist, but is just the sort of thing that would sell Congress on bankrolling more arms.
Still, while Strategic Command is built around always spending more money on more arms, and never couches it as an option, it must be considered if proper disarmament is worth considering. After all, if tens of billions of dollars every year can’t maintain an arsenal, the US could at least save that money by no longer pretending to be modernizing it.
In case you want more info…..
he Pentagon’s five-year nuclear weapons plan calls for requesting at least $167 billion through 2025 — building from the $29 billion sought for next year to $38 billion, according to previously undisclosed figures.
The commitment includes research, development, procurement, sustainment and operations. It reflects a major boost to an effort started under President Barack Obama to replace aging nuclear systems, such as Minuteman III missiles and command and control systems.
It doesn’t include funding for the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which is requesting $19.8 billion for fiscal 2021, including $15.6 billion for nuclear weapons activities.
So all indications are that we are still in an arms race with the USSR….my bad….Russia.
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