That is the question.
I spent many years fighting against the spread of nuke weapons and energy…..and after the USSR collapsed we had some good times with both sides agreeing to limit the weapons and destroy those over the limit…..good times…..but I knew they could not last……and then the nightmare scenario came about this country elected Donald the Orange…..and the nuke race was once again in the forefront of foreign policy.
Since Trump he has wanted more nukes as a “deterrent”….but that is not what the story is….
Gen. Paul Selva, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee in March 2017 that while Russia and China continue to modernize their nuclear forces, “we [the United States] do have a qualitative advantage.”
The Trump administration, as outlined in its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) released on Feb. 2, 2018, intends to continue the modernization plan laid out by the Obama administration, and also develop several new nuclear weapons capabilities that will add to the price tag for nuclear forces, including the near-term development of a low-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and the longer-term development of new nuclear submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM).
The NPR acknowledges that the upgrade costs are “substantial” but claims that nuclear weapons will consume no more than 6.4 percent of the defense budget. This projection does not include the cost of the new capabilities proposed in the review nor the major costs that must be borne by NNSA to upgrade nuclear warheads and their supporting infrastructure.
Not to be outdone (as usual) Russia has plans as well…..
In the big strategic game, the Russians and Americans have the same reason for modernizing their nuclear forces: they want to maintain parity. If the two sides have the same number of nuclear warheads deployed, then they will not be tempted to shoot at each other. They also have a reason to avoid an arms race that would entail constantly seeking more nuclear weapons to try to achieve superiority—however temporary. As expensive as nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles are, parity has kept the costs down by holding the arms race in check.
In the past few years, President Vladimir Putin does seem to be after nuclear weapons for another reason—to show that Russia is still a great power to be reckoned with. He has been trumpeting new and exotic systems that are unique, like the nuclear weapon delivery system known as the Burevestnik nuclear-propelled cruise missile.
Now the BIg Two are going after more nukes…a third player has entered into the desire…..China.
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of an English daily tabloid published by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, urged his nation to expand its nuclear arsenal in response to “bullying” from the U.S. in a new editorial.
In the article published by The Global Times on Saturday, Hu argued that China needed to build up its stockpile of nuclear weapons as a “deterrent,” as U.S. officials have been increasingly critical of the Chinese government amid the coronavirus pandemic. The editor argued that this would “safeguard national security.”
To answer my original question…the answer is a resounding YES!
The Trump admin is traveling down a new road…..with No rules……
In a departure from this history, the Trump administration has abandoned U.S. leadership in the arms control field and seems guided by a contrary set of assertions that have gained salience on the hawkish side of the Republican party, namely:
• The United States should not discuss vital national security issues, or consider compromise, with adversaries such as Iran until they have fully met U.S. demands in all fields.
• Arms control agreements grant unwarranted concessions to opponents, and they constrain the United States’ freedom of action. (This has been the guiding principle for John Bolton, former national security adviser and a serial assassin of arms control agreements.)
• Arms control agreements serve little value if they do not solve every problem between the parties. This all-or-nothing approach is exemplified by the U.S. decision to withdraw from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
• We must be prepared and willing to wage, and prevail in, a “limited” nuclear war, which can remain “limited.” This mirrors an increased Russian interest in the same topic and is exemplified in the renewed U.S. program for construction of nonstrategic (so-called “low-yield”) warheads and delivery systems.
• The United States can achieve a numerical or technical advantage over our nuclear-armed adversaries by constantly pursuing improvements and new nuclear weapons capabilities. (The administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review makes several references to the U.S. “technical edge,” which is of little relevance in an all-out nuclear conflict.)
Time for people to get their idiot heads out of the sand….we are starting down a familiar path that can lead to nothing but apprehension and dread.
Time for the people to FIGHT back.
Bread for people…No Nukes!
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”