Why America Needs Nuclear Arms

For the last half-century, doves in both major political parties have pursued disarmament without reciprocity.  America survived this disarmament in spite of the existence of strategic adversaries like China and the former Soviet Union, but only because America still posed a credible threat to these nations.

America finessed its large arsenal of warheads into the ultimate strategic weapon.  After all, no nation knew exactly how many deliverable warheads America possessed, and every nation was sure that given proper provocation, America would consider a nuclear strike.  This "calculated ambiguity," as it was termed by defense insiders, enabled America to take the world into an age of unprecedented stability.  President Obama, admittedly uncomfortable with the idea of America as a superpower, would like to end this tradition, taking the nuclear option off the table by means of drastic reduction of nuclear weapons stockpiles below the practical point.  The question is, why?  The answer is bigger than Obama or any one man. 

Those governing from the shadows desire that America be no better, no more powerful, and no more influential than any other country.  For America to need the world, for interdependence and the designs of global government to come to fruition, American might must be dismantled.  This ideology necessitates not only military rebalancing, but significant economic leveling. 

New START would accomplish the goal of American decline, rendering America no more than a whining paper tiger. 

Reductions make no sense.  There are currently three thousand targets the U.S. must be ready to destroy.  The list grew by 20 percent in the aftermath of START II.  With new threats posed by rogue states and terrorist organizations, the potential for nuclear confrontation has increased exponentially.  The U.S. should stop talking reductions and start talking modernization.

At present, deliverable U.S. warheads number slightly more than 5,000 -- sufficient to fulfill strategic obligations.  But New START would reduce deliverable warheads to slightly more than 1,000, requiring the U.S. to step down from its position as global peacekeeper.  The U.S. cannot be a superpower when its arsenal is insufficient to defend its territory and the territory of its allies from nuclear attack. 

There is no better illustration of this backwards military methodology than the provisions addressing non-offensive U.S. missile defense technology.  New START contains requirements that the U.S. cease attempts to defend its territory from intercontinental attack, a domain where the U.S. has been quite successful, because defensive technologies eliminate the effectiveness of the Russian arsenal.  Translation: Russia wants the U.S. to abandon missile defense so that its missiles can kill Americans without difficulty. 

America should not agree to this insane demand.

Rather than "mutually assured destruction," why not share in a mutually assured peace?  American missile defense technology already has an 80-percent success rate, potentially rendering nuclear weapons obsolete.

Russia's absurd proposal demonstrates Russian weakness, yet Obama is capitulating to Russian demands as if Russia were in the driver's seat.  But Russia is attempting a transparent bluff with New START, and sometimes calling a bluff requires a willingness to walk out.  At Reykjavik, Ronald Reagan's unwillingness to compromise SDI was later acknowledged by Russian officials as the turning point in the Cold War that eventually led to Soviet collapse.[i]  Why reverse course now?

It is within this paradigm that Americans should seek to understand the utility of nuclear weapons and their proper place in the strategic schema.  Many Americans want to believe in the existence of universal values embodied in a universal phobia of nuclear weapons.  But American values are not universal.

The Communist Chinese, for example, do not value human life in the same way Americans mourn one soldier fallen.  If America ever ceased to be useful as a source of trade and investment, and instead became a burden -- the source of endless debt, perhaps -- then China would have no qualms about eliminating the American irritant.

No true American could support a policy that leaves America utterly defenseless against would-be aggressors.  That President Obama would seek to reduce U.S. nuclear stockpiles at a time of such demonstrated hostility is an indication of his real loyalties.   

Russia, tainted by nearly a century of Communist godlessness, will have no logical reason to allow America to continue ordering the world along American lines without corresponding American nuclear stare-down capability.  Why should nations that loathe America tolerate us if we are not strong?  Good will?  The Judeo-Christian ethic? 

No, Ronald Reagan understood: the only real peace is peace through strength.  In a world of constant conflict and tumult, the only real security comes from the ability to demolish potential adversaries -- an ability which must be known by all. 

Although its general nuclear posture is in disarray, Russia is ahead of the United States in nuclear modernization.  Russia builds more deadly weapons.  China perfects its strategic advantage, building fleets of U.S.-inspired nuclear submarines fitted with functioning SLBMs.  America may even have witnessed the test-firing of such a missile recently, as Obama twiddled his thumbs and decided on a "muted response."

What does America do?  America meekly resigns itself to even smaller arsenals and even fewer strategic options.  America reverses modernization efforts like the MX-Peacekeeper missile, forcing its citizenry to depend on the aging and, for many years, untested Minuteman-III.  Obama has openly proposed that the U.S. "de-MIRV" its missiles, despite the fact that multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles stand as America's main asset in targeting multiple locales simultaneously.  Surrendering this capability would leave Russia as the sole nation with MIRVs.  Russia could target multiple American cities, and America would be limited to a slap on the wrist in response.

In this single proposition is evidence of Obama's delusional mindset.  Like many radical leftists in the eighties, Obama is of the mind that America can survive without a nuclear triad, that America can unilaterally disarm and nothing will come of it.  Like the old Queen song "Hammer to Fall," the sentence "just surrender and it won't hurt at all" seems to be the core of Obama's nuclear philosophy. 

But the world does not operate on postmodern American fantasies.  The world operates on fear.  The world operates on strength. 

Will America remain strong?

[i] Margaret Thatcher, Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World, (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), 10-11.
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