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  • White House Deceptive, Not Schizophrenic, on Nuclear Weapons

    Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press, in their short piece of July 6 in Foreign Affairs, assert that the Obama Administration’s nuclear weapons policy appears to be schizophrenic. By describing the policy in this way, Lieber and Press are giving the Obama Administration more credit regarding its commitment to nuclear modernization than it deserves. It is more accurate to describe the Obama Administration as being deceptive about its nuclear weapons policy.

    The Obama Administration’s nuclear weapons policy, in reality, is both clear and consistent. It seeks nuclear disarmament and proposes to achieve that goal by marginalizing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security policy and accepting nuclear weapons in the arsenal that are both aging and decreasingly effective in meeting the needs of deterrence in the post–Cold War world.

    Its stated commitments to nuclear modernization are turning out to be more about the tactics of advancing its nuclear disarmament agenda than the substance of modernizing the nuclear force. The Obama Administration early on calculated that if it wanted to obtain Senate consent to the ratification of the New START arms control treaty with Russia, advance U.S. ratification of the previously rejected Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and further the effort that began with the 2010 review conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty to transform that treaty into a nuclear disarmament treaty, it would be advantageous for it to pledge to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons complex and nuclear arsenal.

    It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that while the pledges to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons complex and arsenal helped to achieve the ratification of New START, they are now more of an obstacle to the advancement of the remaining components of the Administration’s arms control and disarmament agenda. Thus, these pledges are all but certain to fade away.

    This is why it is necessary to consider other action regarding nuclear modernization from the Administration that Lieber and Press did not emphasize. The Obama Administration, during the debate over New START ratification, did not seek to secure commitments for nuclear modernization from the House Energy and Water Subcommittee on appropriations, which has long been a key obstacle to nuclear modernization. The subcommittee, in predictable fashion, has reduced the Administration’s proposed funding in fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill for such modernization.

    Further, the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review imposes strict output limits on nuclear modernization, described as no “new nuclear warheads,” no “new military missions,” and no “new military capabilities.” These qualitative limits on outputs are incompatible with an effort to create a new nuclear arsenal that has the capabilities to meet the new requirements for deterrence.

    Ultimately, compelling evidence suggests that the Administration, unlike Lieber and Press, believes in the concept of minimal deterrence that eschews counterforce capabilities. The same evidence points toward another arms control treaty with Russia, which the Obama Administration is already planning for, that will codify this policy of minimal deterrence at the expense of the earlier pledges for nuclear modernization.


    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to White House Deceptive, Not Schizophrenic, on Nuclear Weapons

    1. bobbymike says:

      Of course as soon as I heard the supposed "deal" of trading modernization for New Start I knew the modernization part would never be fulfilled.

      Just imagine how hard it is today to argue, "We need new nuclear weapons, a new ICBM, etc" with trillion and a half dollar deficits. Can you hear the cries of, "The Republicans want to throw grandma on the street, poison the air and water and take away social security, for what? "to build nuclear weapons and missiles?" "What a disgrace".

      Republicans were set up again with do something today and get something tomorrow from the Democrats. Guess what tomorrow will never come.

    2. Bobbie says:

      This is not acceptable! Nor is it tolerable! America is being put in harms way!

    3. Guest says:

      You really think the Administration holds any sway over the House Energy and Water Appropriations Committee? Or could have acquired any kind of pledge from them to push the Admin's modernization plan???? Don't you think it would make more sense for the Republicans in the Senate, who support modernization, to push the Republicans in the House, who control the committee??? Really, in what universe is the President responsible for the actions of a House Committee???

    4. Spoon says:

      It didn't start with the current administration. We pulled missles out and poured concrete down silo tubes and Lauch Control Facilities back in the early 90s at two major strategic deterence installations. One now "owns" the fleet of B2 bombers.

      The current, psychotic bozos are just slamming their foot down on the accelerator of distruction of the United States under the fantasy mindset that we can all play and live together despite of cultural differences. You've also got to remember that Big Bro knows what they are doing is in your best interest. D-Oh! Are they on a collision course with reality? Will the legal populace of this nation draw a line in the sands…once again? It's gonna be ugly, either way.

      I just keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and chaos to invade yours' and my neighborhood. Sad…truly a sad state of affairs with the idealistic zealots forgeting why America came into being in the first place.

    5. Roger S. says:

      If someone is coming at you with a club, what will be more effective:
      a) Step to the nearest tree and break off a twig?
      b) Pull out your cocked-and-locked automatic and flick off the safety?
      c) Any other (fantasy) option?
      START ratification was (another, one of many) proof(s) that the insane are now running the asylum!
      "The Doctor is Out" ! (Was never in: always campaigning.)
      "Head Nurse, Too" ! ( At the U.N. going for the "easy ones", like Libya.)

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