Tags: The | Dangerous | Path | Nuclear | Disarmament

The Dangerous Path of Nuclear Disarmament

Monday, 14 January 2002 12:00 AM

In fact, the Bush administration is going far beyond plans by the Clinton administration to cut nuclear weapons.

While I strongly support President Bush and applaud the job he has done in the wake of 9-11, I most strongly disagree with the course he, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and others in the administration are taking to unilaterally destroy our nuclear arsenal.

What are defense strategists in the Bush administration thinking?

Common sense and 40 years of Cold War experience make it clear that unilateral nuclear disarmament would put at risk every American, as well as the citizens of all democracies.

Yet unilateral nuclear disarmament is precisely the policy the U.S. government appears to be following.

During the 2000 campaign, then-Governor Bush promised unilateral nuclear arms cuts, but only in tandem with the deployment of ballistic missile defense shields. That may make sense.

But it's clear that after being elected, President Bush is seeking massive cuts of nuclear weapons.

Last year the administration called for the early destruction of America's MX "Peacekeeper" missiles.

These are the backbone of our land-based nuclear deterrent and the most modern ICBMs in our arsenal – ones built by President Reagan at great political and financial cost.

In recent proposals to Congress, the Bush administration is now calling for expediting the changeover of our ballistic missile-carrying Trident submarines into platforms only for conventional cruise missiles.

Like much else that is wrong with U.S. defense policy today, it all began under Clinton.

The idea was that with the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the emergence of the U.S. as the world's sole remaining superpower, suddenly Russia and China were our friends and we no longer needed a massive nuclear arsenal, which at the height of the Cold War included over 25,000 tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.

Based on that theory, Bill Clinton reduced our tactical nuclear arsenal by over 90 percent and banned the creation of any new nuclear weapons. Almost the entire tactical nuclear arsenal was destroyed during the Clinton years.

While unilateral nuclear disarmament might make sense in a truly peaceful world, it is extremely dangerous in the face of the multiple threats the U.S. now faces.

Russia, for instance, continues to build ICBMs, notably their state-of-the-art TOPOL-M, which is far superior to any weapon in our arsenal.

Despite the Soviet 'collapse', the Russians have maintained approximately 6,000 strategic nuclear warheads.

And there is no telling how many of the smaller, tactical nuclear weapons they have. During the Reagan years, it was believed Russia had stockpiled some 50,000 such weapons.

A few years ago, a Reuters report cited French intelligence as saying Russia still maintained 20,000 tactical nuclear weapons.

If true, this gives Russia today a tremendous advantage over us, and makes that country the greatest nuclear power on Earth.

Even if Russia was not a worry, there is China.

Communist China's nuclear arsenal will likely grow massively in the next few years, with more than 250 intercontinental nuclear missiles and new nuclear missile submarines – no doubt aimed at America.

China has already threatened to launch these weapons at the U.S. if we interfere with its plans to reassert control over Taiwan.

Additionally, there is the growing Muslim terrorist threat to America and the increasing likelihood that Arab terrorist states like Iraq, Iran and Syria will soon have nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles if they don't have them already.

As America seeks unilateral reductions, at least a dozen nations now have nuclear weapons – including India, Pakistan, North Korea, South Africa and Israel. Up to twenty other nations could have nuclear weapons in the next decade.

For 40 years – from the inception of the Cold War with Russia after World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1990 – U.S. nuclear deterrence has kept the peace.

Now our nuclear arsenal has been cut back to the point that if Russia launched a first strike at the U.S., most of our nuclear forces would be devastated, leaving just a handful of Trident submarines to retaliate with.

That's enough to give any concerned America nightmares, and reason enough to end the deconstruction of our nuclear arsenal.

A peaceful world in which all men are brothers is a wonderful dream, but it simply isn't reality no matter how much the liberal establishment says it is.

In the real world of multiple threats to our nation and nuclear superpowers like Russia, which have thousands of nuclear weapons targeting all of our cities, we need to maintain the world's most powerful nuclear arsenal and end the madness of unilateral nuclear disarmament.

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In fact, the Bush administration is going far beyond plans by the Clinton administration to cut nuclear weapons. While I strongly support President Bush and applaud the job he has done in the wake of 9-11, I most strongly disagree with the course he, Secretary of Defense...
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Monday, 14 January 2002 12:00 AM
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