Perhaps you do not know that President Obama has asked the Pentagon to develop plans to reduce America's nuclear arsenal by up to 80 percent. That would ultimately leave America with just about 300 nuclear weapons, down from a high of over 31,000 at the height of the Cold War.
In 2010, President Obama completed negotiations with Russia for a New Start Treaty, which reduces America's nuclear warheads to 1,550. There were effectively no reductions in Russian weapons in return, because the collapsed Soviet empire was functionally unable to maintain the threatening nuclear arsenal it maintained during the Cold War.
President Obama exhibits a very strange lack of recognition of anything that happened during the Reagan years and the 1990s when Republicans gained control of Congress. You can see that in his failure to recognize any of the Reagan economic policies and their astounding success. He acts and talks as if none of that ever happened, perversely returning to the disastrously failed Keynesian economic policies of the 1970s.
Similarly, in foreign policy, President Obama acts and talks as if he doesn't know that America under Reagan/Bush won the Cold War without firing a shot, in Margaret Thatcher's celebrated phrase, and the old Soviet power is no more. When he entered office, there were no arms control treaties in effect because the old Soviet Union that was party to START I no longer existed.
In this context, reopening and completing New START Treaty negotiations with the surviving Russian Federation raises troubling concerns about President Obama's seemingly eerie state of mind. It is as if, so doggedly pursuing the opposite of everything that Reagan did, he is trying to reopen the Cold War, but this time with the opposite result: America loses.
The old Soviet Union cannot easily be put back together. But more troubling for America is that this is no longer a bipolar world. China is a rapidly emerging military power building new, highly advanced nuclear and space weaponry, and a navy that is on course to push American naval forces out of the Western Pacific in a couple of decades, if not sooner. While Newt Gingrich's political opponents ridiculed his proposal for an American moon base by the end of this decade, the Chinese will have one looking down on our food stamp nation within a couple of decades.
As Frank Gaffney wrote in the February 22 Washington Times:
The Obama Administration continues to assume that the People's Liberation Army has only a few hundred nuclear weapons -- approximately the number to which our commander in chief would like to reduce the American arsenal. A radically different estimate was recently provided, however, in a Georgetown University study led by a former Pentagon strategic forces analyst, Professor Phillip Karber….Mr. Karber's team concluded that, based on the vast infrastructure China has created to conceal its missiles [3,000 miles of hardened tunnels], it may have as many as 3,000 nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weaponry is also proliferating to Iran and North Korea, and soon to their rivals as America's nuclear umbrella becomes less and less reliable. That can mean Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt, besides Pakistan, which already has nukes that can fall into terrorist hands. And even shrunken Russia recently announced, under its about to be reinstalled President Vladimir Putin, a new $770 billion defense modernization plan with 400 new long range nuclear missiles, quite possibly each one with multiple, independently targeted warheads. This includes modernized ICBMs and submarine launched ballistic missiles. It is all in compliance with President Obama's New Start Treaty.
In this real world of today, agreeing with Russia alone to reduce American nuclear arsenals further makes no sense.
The Reagan Pretense
In his trip to South Korea last week, President Obama once again extolled his dream of a world without nuclear weapons, a vision he has treasured since his days as a radical student leftist at Columbia University. He announced that, even with the New Start nuclear reductions, he "can say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need." That is why he asked the Pentagon to prepare plans for him to reduce America's nuclear deterrent by up to 80 percent. As Frank Gaffney explained in the March 27 Washington Times, President Obama declared in South Korea that "since he is convinced we have more of those weapons than we need -- he is going to reduce our arsenal. According to some accounts, he has in mind cutting it to roughly the size of Pakistan's."
President Obama pretends that he is just carrying out Reagan's professed dream of a world without nuclear weapons. But that was to be for a day with highly advanced nuclear missile defenses, when the world did not include such aggressive military rivals as still threaten us.
President Obama secured enough Republican votes for passage of the New Start Treaty by promising to expand and complete U.S. missile defenses, and to modernize our own badly aging nuclear deterrent. That involved completing all four phases of the planned U.S. missile defenses in Europe and nearby seas, and modernizing and completing the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) on the American homeland. That also involved promises to fully fund America's depreciating nuclear weapons laboratories essential to keeping up with the modernization of the Russian and Chinese arsenals.
But President Obama is backing down from those promises. He never proposed or supported that full modernization funding. As Gaffney explained in the February 22 Washington Times, "the administration also is walking away from its promises to modernize what remains of our deterrent. Over time, the practical effect of combining the draconian nuclear cuts Mr. Obama seeks and his failure to arrest and reverse the atrophying of the obsolescing arsenal will leave us functionally disarmed."
While America never ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, it voluntarily follows a policy of no testing. That means we cannot be sure of the degree to which our nuclear arsenal is actually functional. President Bush was pursuing the Reliable Replacement Warhead program, which would have modernized America's force with much more reliable, new, modern weapons that would not need as much service and maintenance over time. But vigorously opposed by the Democrats, the program has been terminated by President Obama.