• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Not a Good Time for U.S. Unilateral Reductions

    Does the United States need fewer nuclear weapons? The White House thinks so.

    According to the recent reports, the Administration directed the Pentagon to develop three force levels for the U.S. arsenal of deployed strategic nuclear warheads. The Pentagon is looking at numbers from 1,100 to 300 operationally deployed warheads. The United States currently has about 1,800 warheads.

    Is the world becoming safer so that the U.S. could unilaterally reduce its nuclear weapons? No. Russia, China, and North Korea are expanding their arsenals. Nuclear-wannabe Iran is getting closer to developing a weapon and frequently threatens Israel, the most important U.S. ally in the Middle East. Yet despite more than 30 countries around the world depending on U.S. nuclear security guarantees, the U.S. is the only country without a substantial nuclear weapons modernization program.

    The President is mandating these cuts because he believes in a world without nuclear weapons (also called “nuclear zero”) and that others will follow in reducing their arsenals if the U.S. gives up its nuclear weapons. Unilateral reductions to the proposed levels are only an interim step on the road to the “nuclear zero.” But there is ample historical evidence that the assumption that others will follow is misguided.

    Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. eliminated over 80 percent of its nuclear weapons arsenal. Yet instead of others following the lead, new nuclear weapon players, such as North Korea, emerged. India and Pakistan tested their nuclear weapons in the 1990s. Following the ratification of the New Strategic Arms Control Treaty with the Russian Federation, Moscow started the most extensive nuclear modernization program since the end of the Cold War. This is because countries have their own motivations and security interests that are not derived from U.S. actions.

    A review based on an arbitrary set of numbers instead of a sound assessment of the strategic environment can have devastating consequences for the U.S. and its allies. U.S. leadership does not know where a threat will originate and therefore must preserve the widest possible range of options to deter and defend against a wide range of proliferating threats. Today, the list of potential targets is broader and evolves more rapidly than ever before as new players armed with nuclear weapons continue to emerge. This is not the time to further unilaterally reduce U.S. nuclear weapons.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Not a Good Time for U.S. Unilateral Reductions

    1. Gregg Weber says:

      Let's see if I get this. Lowering your MAD shield credibility (forgetting that even if Obama had the ability, I don't think that he would use it to counter any attack on the US, and therefore MAD deterrence has little credibility with his finger on the button. Also our enemies seem to be getting what they want from him.) will cause the bullys, tyrants, and power hungry leaders to be nice and do the same. Reasonable? Not in my opinion.

    2. Bru Thompson says:

      With what's happening around the world at this time it doesn't seem like a wise idea to cut, especially so drastically, any weapon system. This is just another example of being out of touch with reality!

    3. bobbymike says:

      Dear God November 2012 cannot come soon enough.

    4. Chucke says:

      Tell Iran stop their nueclear program or they cease to exist!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×