Tuesday, April 6, 2010

US will begin disarming. Is this a good idea?

From CNN:
The United States will swear off the development of new generations of
nuclear weapons and will not use its existing arsenal to attack nonnuclear
states that are in compliance with nonproliferation agreements, the Obama
administration said Tuesday.
Among other things, the new American stance is meant to provide an
incentive for countries to stay within the rules of the 1968 Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty, a senior administration official said.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Adm. Mike Mullen, the
Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, announced the change two days before President
Obama is to sign a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia that reduces both
countries' missile stockpiles.
The new policy "recognizes that the greatest
threat to U.S. and global security is no longer a nuclear exchange between
nations, but nuclear terrorism by violent extremists and nuclear proliferation
to an increasing number of states," Obama said later in a
"Moreover, it recognizes that our national security and that of
our allies and partners can be increasingly defended by America's unsurpassed
conventional military capabilities and strong missile defenses."
Obama stressed that "preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism
is now at the top of America's nuclear agenda."
The position "provides a road map" to help achieve Obama's "long-term goal
of a nuclear-free world," Gates added. It removes a "calculated ambiguity" in
past U.S. nuclear policy while making clear that "this is a weapon of last
resort," he said.
Gates also noted, however, the new policy sends a "strong
message" to states such as Iran and North Korea.
"If you're going to play by
the rules [of the nonproliferation treaty], we will undertake certain
obligations to you," he said. "But if you're not going to play by the rules ...
all options are on the table."

Read the rest of the article at CNN

Normally, I'm not very much for the neo-conservative attitudes of war mongering and spreading Diplomacy through force.

But disarming the one remaining superpower? I'm not sure this is such a good idea.

Here's a real world example: My brother in law is a police officer on the east coast. His mid-size city's population was afraid of the police officers having shotguns in their cars, even in their trunks. So the chief took the shotguns away, and then took their tasers away, and if it weren't against federal law, I'm sure the chief would take away their pistols as well. All because people were scared of the weapons. Isn't that the point?

His department only carries their sidearms now. Their only option for any situation regarding use of force, from the baseball bat wielding teen to the automatic weapon toting terrorist. This is what happened during the 1984 San Ysidro McDonald's massacre, where the responding officer only had his sidearm and could not stop the killer. The shooter killed 22 people before SWAT put him down. This is the reason officers are heavily armed, so that when the situation calls for it, an officer can stop a shooting spree.

Same with nukes and the US. If we stop producing them, but another county keeps doing so in secret, how do we stop them from using them? Invade them? They'll just start shooting off their nukes, at us, at their own people--much like the shooting spree killer. Often, and I hate to say it, but the threat of existing nukes will oftentimes do what diplomacy cannot: scare the living hell out of dictators trying to produce nukes.

To disarm the US would be like taking guns away from the police. All you'll have left is a bunch of meter maids.

Crossposted to Republicans United


Patrick M said...

The best thing about having the biggest stick is that everybody knows you have it, everybody knows it's going to hurt, and no one generally has the testicular fortitude to try to take that stick away and get hit. And someone will ALWAYS have the biggest stick.

I've always looked at our military and our nuclear arsenal as something that kept more peace than it did start war. True, we have been involved in one conflict or another since we won our war for independence. And I can't imagine a time where there will ever be absolute peace on Earth. And war, war never changes (crap, been playing too much Fallout 3).

But since WWII we have been a superpower, sharing the stage in a Mexican standoff with the USSR during the Cold War, and the lone superpower after they collapsed. And in the nuclear era, there has been NO MAJOR WAR in the world. Since then, it's been a collection of smaller engagements against numerically superior but woefully unequipped enemies. And while we look at statistics and mourn the losses, it's been the fact that we have had the power to blow up the world and HAVEN'T (and neither did the Soviets) that proves the idea that having the biggest guns keeps the peace. I think the pithy version of this was "Peace through Strength."

So yeah, disarming ultimately is an invitation for someone to get a big stick and knock us on our ass, forcing us to again scramble to get our stick back.

Dave Miller said...

You can all bet that long before anyone gets a bomb that has the ability to reach, and kill us, we will have already responded to that threat.

Obama, and his GOP Sec Def are right on this.

The threat against us currently is not coming from established nations, but from the terrorist networks and rogue nations, to whom this does not apply.

James' Muse said...

Dave, I have to agree with Patrick here (egads!). We have the biggest stick. That has kept the peace on a large scale since WWII.

Obama's goals may be noble, but he campaigned on the goal of eventually eliminating nuclear weapons altogether.

You're right, Dave, right now our enemy isn't developed nations like it was during the 40's and the cold war. It is rogue nations and terrorists.

But again, Patrick is right, if we disarm, someone crazy (like Russia) will try to knock us down. Nukes, I hate to say, keep us from fighting a two front war. We don't want to fight terrorists and developed nations.

Dave Miller said...

So James, how are we supposed to get to Reagan's goal of a world free of nukes?

Is that still a goal we should pursue, or are you advocating dropping that idea?

Sheer had a great article on this today. I am sure you read it. Any thoughts?

What exactly is wrong with a policy that says we will not use nukes as a first strike option, or in response to a non nuclear attack?

It is not as if our clubs and bats are worthless. We will still have plenty of sidearms of the smart bomb, cluster bomb, cruise missile variety to kill as many people as we need.

Tim said...

I don't think we'll get rid of them completely, but we'll reduce them to a level where we'll still have anough to do the job and keep anyone from threatening out supremacy in that area. The nrest is just happy talk to make other countries like us better. Reducing this arsenal to onlt what is absolutely needed will also save money in these tight budgetary times.

I favor reducing our conventional forces as well. We spend 7 times more annual than China, the next biggest spender. I don't favor massive cuts all at once but a slow draw down of funds. Reduce 11 Carrier battlegroups to 6, scrap the F22, F35, and other hanger queens and put that money into UAV's which are more cost effective. 600 billion every year is just something the USA cannot afford anymore. Our allies need to step up and we need to stand down somewhat. Maintaining far flung base all over the world where citzens of the host nation (like Japan) don't want us just makes them dislike us and does not enhance our security.

rockync said...

Nowhere in the article does it mention "disarm", just nonproliferation and old stockpile reduction.
We've had these PR treaties before; when the stockpiles get old and need to be destroyed anyway, the US and Russia sign a treaty on this great gesture and then get rid of their old shit.
It would be nice if we were actually going to make serious moves toward global peace, but, alas, methinks this isn't it.

Dave Miller said...

Former Sec State under Reagan is well quoted in this article.


It's a good read James

bluepitbull said...

I can tell you this: Unless all nuke superpowers agree unilaterally to disarm at the same time, there is no way in hell that we will remain a true superpower.

Susannah said...

James! It has been a while. And this post was definitely worth my wait. Excellent, excellent, excellent post.

Very clear analogy, & you're quite right: "To disarm the US would be like taking guns away from the police. All you'll have left is a bunch of meter maids."

It's very dangerous shame that Hussein Obama is so glaringly arrogant in his effort to appear submissive to international pressure that he does NOT understand human nature.

Thanks for the post. Hope you're doing well.