He promised to fundamentally transform this country…

… and he’s doing his level best to do just that:

ObamaPresident Obama has ordered the Pentagon to consider cutting U.S. strategic nuclear forces to as low as 300 deployed warheads—below the number believed to be in China’s arsenal and far fewer than current Russian strategic warhead stocks.

Pentagon and military planners were asked to develop three force levels for the U.S. arsenal of deployed strategic nuclear warheads: a force of 1,100 to 1,000 warheads; a second scenario of between 700 and 800 warheads; and the lowest level of between 300 and 400 warheads.

A congressional official said no president in the past ever told the Pentagon to conduct a review based on specific numbers of warheads.

“In the past, the way it worked was, ‘tell me what the world is like and then tell me what the force should be,’” the official said. “That is not happening in this review.”

The plan for a radical cut in warheads is contained in a review of nuclear weapons ordered by the president in an August directive. The review called the Nuclear Posture Review Implementation Study is nearing completion and could be presented to the president as early as next month.

The plan has come under fire from senior military officers in charge of maintaining nuclear deterrence against Russia, China, and future nuclear rogue states.

Asked about the opposition, a senior officer involved in strategic arms declined to comment.

Critics of the nuclear force cuts in Congress and the national security community said the force structure is being studied without matching the need for nuclear forces to combat growing threats, as was done in past strategic nuclear reviews.

Currently, the U.S. arsenal includes about 5,000 warheads, many of them slated for dismantlement. Russia has between 4,000 and 6,500 warheads and China is believed to have more than 300.

Pentagon spokesman George Little declined to comment on the specific force levels being examined in the review.

“While the details are classified, the president asked DoD to develop several alternative approaches to deterrence and stability, to include illustrative force size and postures to best support those alternatives,” Little said. “As part of the NPR implementation study, DOD is evaluating these alternatives using policy criteria outlined in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.”

John Bolton, former U.N. ambassador and undersecretary of state for international security during the George W. Bush administration, said in an interview that the administration’s plan to cut nuclear force to as low as 300 “alone is sufficient to vote against Obama in November.”

“Congress should urgently adopt a resolution rejecting the idea that any of these levels is consistent with American national security,” Bolton said. “Let’s just see who is prepared to support Obama.”

Many of us have been saying for more than three years that this guy’s a radical.

Can there be any doubts now?

Jennifer Rubin Hits Santorum with Quote Out of Context
A Crony Military? Jerry Brown's Man Fires California's First Female Army General
  • Pingback: Brutally Honest()

  • Sky__Captain

    Barack Hussein Obama – our first anti-American President.

    • Hugh_G

      Yeah instead of blowing up the entire world once you Cro-Magnons would like to do it about a dozen times.


      •  Hugh demonstrates yet another field in which he is shockingly ignorant.

  • Hank_M

    As others have asked….if Obama wanted to ruin the country what would he be doing differently?

    Wasn’t it a couple of years ago that he abandoned Missile defense in Eastern Europe?
    Reuters reported on Monday that Obama has cut our domestic missile defense budget by approx 700 million, about the same amount he decided to send to the so-called Arab-Spring countries. And now he wants to gut our nuclear deterrence capability.

    He’s going to leave us broke, defenseless, and more divided than any time in recent memory.

    God save us.

    • jim_m

      Wasn’t it a couple of years ago that he abandoned Missile defense in Eastern Europe?

      Yes, President Super Genius informed the Poles on the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland.  That’s our smarter, more intelligent foreign policy at work.

  • Commander_Chico

    One of the great things about Ronald Reagan was that he wanted to reduce and eventually abolish nukes.  He got the US and the USSR on the road to that. 


    Nukes are really, really expensive, because of the cost of maintenance, security and delivery systems.  Having 5000+ is as insane as John Bolton. 

    Since 1945, nukes have been useless in warfighting.  Their only function is deterrence.  We’re still maintaining the 60 year old B-52 as a nuclear bomber, how credible is that, really?

    How many nukes would be a deterrent to attack?  Since this is a study considering multiple options, I doubt the USA is going to 300 right away, and it won’t go there without Russian reductions.  But even if it were, 300 weapons like the W88 of 475 kt, even assuming a failure rate of one-third, would pretty much wipe out Russia or China.  

    • Not without delivery systems. 

      Of course, we could always FedEx ’em…

      I think the MAD policy of the Cold War was effective in it’s way – but that required two opposing governments that wanted to maintain their countries intact and were willing to glare at each other and rattle swords, but never draw them and strike.

      Upcoming threats?  I’m not so sure about the ‘not striking’ part.  Also, supposedly the ME countries respect negotiating from a position of strength – the ‘Strong Horse’ model – and I’m not at all sure Obama’s thought through the ramifications of hobbling the horse, so to speak.

      (In fact, I’m pretty sure he hasn’t.  It probably sounds good to his advisors, but they’ve not exactly proven to be the sharpest knives in the drawer, know what I mean?)

      I’d disagree with you about nukes being useless in warfighting – they’re the class of weapon that you DON’T want to have used against you, and I believe have caused a lot of countries to back down on their conventional warfare plans.  And as far as the B-52 goes – they were massively overbuilt, and with avionics and engine upgrades are still quite flyable.  Why buy a new airframe when you can upgrade the old?  (And just think of the cost of developing a new airframe for bombing… you’re talking $10s of billions just to get a flying prototype, if current procurement practices are followed.)

      • Commander_Chico

        When we were facing the 1st Guards Tank Army, and others of the USSR on the central front, yeah, lots of nukes were a deterrent.  Even the “Davy Crockett,” 203mm nuke cannon shells, and nuke depth charges had a purpose.  That was when there were 10,000 plus nukes, and the likes of Bolton howled then when that was reduced.  Now, 5000+ aren’t needed.

        I could see a scenario where the USA used some small or even bigger nukes to “send a message” after some outrage like a chemical or bio attack, but that would be a limited use.

        As for B-52s, I understand the durability of the airframe, but I’m skeptical about their ability to get to the target.  Still, if it was a choice between getting rid of them or getting rid of land based ICBMs, I’d get rid of the Minutemen.

        Your point about delivery systems seems to support reducing the number of nukes – what’s the point of having 5000+ nukes if there is no way of delivering them all?  For example, destroyers no longer carry nukes, the B-1 is no longer nuke-capable, there aren’t many B-2s, I don’t think there are any nuke tube artillery units and even a lot of Minutemen are single-warhead.  It’s not like there are 100 delivery platforms like in 1970.

        • cirby

          The problem isn’t “5000 nukes we didn’t use,” it’s “only 300 nukes that get blown up on the ground before they launch.”  When the US had several thousand nuclear warheads of various types, ready to go, we never planned on being able to use all of them.  We were planning on using – maybe – 1/3 of them.  The real plan was supposedly 10% or so.

          When you only have a half-hour warning, 300 is not enough.

          Remember – we have a President who, when confronted with the idea of sending in guys to kill Osama bin Laden, took eighteen hours.  He slept on the problem.  He had a decade to learn about the guy, more than two years to think about it as President, and he still had a decision-making disorder when it came to the actual situation.  You think he’d be able to come to a rational decision when confronted with a real problem?

          Our nuclear deterrent system is specifically designed to allow for someone freezing up and not making a decision on time.  What if the President takes twenty minutes to make a decision when he only has nineteen?  That’s what the other thousand or so weapons are for…

    • Gmacr1

      Indeed, the price to disassemble them is pretty steep also.

      “We’re still maintaining the 60 year old B-52 as a nuclear bomber, how credible is that, really?”

      It’s still a feared weapons platform and “Steel Rain” is something even the Jihadi’s have become intimately aquatinted with. FYI, in 1945 there were exactly 2 nuclear weapons for a few brief months, then there were none when we introduced them to the world, and Japan.

      “How many nukes would be a deterrent to attack?”

      You know as well as I do that that has been flogged so much there isn’t anything left to poke at.

      The mere fact that an incompetent CIC or his advisor’s are even mentioning “300” is serious reason for concern considering all the other outstanding management decisions he’s made over the past three years.

  • cirby

    The thing they keep leaving out (or glossing over) in the news coverage of this?

    The guys who came up with the lowball “300 nukes” suggestion based it on having an “excellent” anti-ballistic missile system.  Which we don’t (and will not) have.  

    Even the low-intermediate “800 nukes” scenarios assume advanced technology and newer, better delivery systems and defenses.  If we keep using current systems, we can’t drop below 1500 or so without risking the whole shebang.  We can’t even verify if the Russians follow us on cutting that far, because the plan also assumes a level of inspection of each other’s nuclear arsenal that the Russians just can’t be trusted to follow.

    For decades now, the nuclear strategy (for the US and Russia/USSR) has been based on Mutual Assured Destruction – the idea that, even with a maximum attack by the other side, you’d still have enough weapons and delivery systems to return the favor (due to targeting and reliability issues).  By dropping much below 1000-1500 weapons (without a large Strategic Defense system), you start getting into the “maybe it would work” range of nuclear options.

    A really low number, like 300 nukes?  Unless you really spread out the nuclear triad (subs, ICBMs, bombers) geographically, the other guys can start planning on taking your side down with one prompt attack.  Lose one leg of the triad, and the problem gets simple really fast.  What happens if we discover out that all of our sub-based missiles have a flaw that makes them fail on launch – and the Russians find out?  We can’t rely on the sanity of the other side – all it takes is one nutcase in the government with access to the launch codes.  The US has a very strong system in place to prevent the “one crazy guy” or “we thought they were attacking us” problems – the Russians do not.

    The other issue is that with low numbers of delivery systems, you have to go back to “launch on warning,” or take the risk that you can’t get your systems off the ground fast enough.  One of the great triumphs of the last couple of decades was getting the Russians away from launch on warning, since their system reliability was so poor – we nearly had full-on nuclear war several times just because of that.

    The Russians have one more advantage in the “low level” scenario – they have a good-sized ABM system in place.  They also have a LOT of “surface to air” missiles that, with addition of an advanced radar, become full-fledged ABM systems.

    • Commander_Chico

      I think the assumption is that you get the Russians to reduce to the same number the USA has, so they have all the issues you list.  Your hypothetical about some flaw in all SLBMs is out of Tom Clancy – these systems are tested.

      • cirby


        Yeah, about that: it doesn’t work.  The Russians have a long and tiring history of signing treaties, expecting us to follow them – and ignoring their part.  

        Like the ABM Treaty.  

        The idea was that each side could (in theory) build one ABM system to cover either an ICBM field (which the US did, then cancelled the day before it went into operation) or that country’s capital (which the Soviets did, with a much-larger system that is still operational today).

        The problem is that the Soviets also built a lot of ABM hardware and pretended it was something else, like surface-to-air missiles.  Part of the reason the US finally bailed on the ABM Treaty was that the Russians have a large number of “SAM systems” that are basically ABM missiles with SAM radars – and many of those radars are basically ABM radars with SAM software tacked on.

        The same for your “some flaw” assumption – we’ve had a couple of times over the last few decades where entire weapons systems were taken offline because of a flaw like that (B-1 bombers, or the recent F-22/F-35 issues).  All it takes is one screwup in design or maintenance, and the whole system is offline until further notice.  

        Note, for example the “engineering failure” with the 50 ICBMs at Warren AFB in October of 2010.  The USAF claimed the missiles could still launch – but only technically, since the systems that would take over and fire them were not available at the time, and could not have been working in time for an actual attack.  There was a similar failure in the late 1990s – from the same cause, apparently.  Oops.  With a 300 warhead arsenal, 50 missiles takes out a huge chunk of capability.

        Our ICBM systems aren’t “tested” in the way you think, by the way – they built a lot, fired a few, and hoped they would work.  None of the current ICBM/SLBM arsenal owned by the US has been tested with a live warhead, for example.  We’re pretty sure they’ll work, but we don’t really know.  There could be some part of the warhead that stops working when fired in real life – we can’t even fire one off underground any more to see if they worked in the first place.  Our most recent ICBM warheads (the W88 series) finished production in 1989.  They’ll probably go off if they’re ever really needed, but that’s why we built a LOT of them in the first place.

        The most recent Minuteman III test launch (July 2011) failed, by the way…

        • jim_m

          Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” 

          obama says “Trust and do nothing when you find they have screwed you.”  That is called enlightened foreign policy by the left.

      • herddog505

        No: it’s out of history.

        Ongoing problems with the W-47 warhead, especially with its mechanical arming and safing equipment, led to large numbers of the missiles being recalled for modifications, and the U.S. Navy sought a replacement with either a larger yield or equivalent destructive power. The result was the W-58 warhead used in a “cluster” of three warheads for the Polaris A-3, the final model of the Polaris missile.


        Minuteman has had its own problems (the damned things are pushing forty years old):

        A missile test at Vandenberg Air Force Base this morning ends in failure. Air Force officials say they had to destroy the unarmed Minuteman 3 missile just minutes after launch because of safety concerns.

        The missile blasted off from the base on time at 3:01 a.m. It was supposed to travel about 4200 miles southwest to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, but did not reach its target.

        There have been problems with both Minuteman 3 missile tests so far this year. Just five weeks ago, the launch had a communications glitch. That missile eventually reached its target, but that was not the case Wednesday morning.


        Assuming that we ever get around to deploying a new strategic system – bomber, ICBM, SSBN / SLBM – what is the development time?  What happens when the program gets “behind schedule”?  Or we discover the inevitable teething problems?

      • Gmacr1

        SALT I, II & III – Finally killed mercifully by W…

        The only reason the Russians were removing arms was because they were so rusted they no longer worked.

  • Well, he told us he was going to fundamentally transform the country.  Thing is – there’s a lot of ways you can ‘transform’ something.

    You can take the raw materials, and transform a pile of metal into a Ferrari.

    You can take that same Ferrari and transform it into a pile of junk by wrapping it around a telephone pole.

    I think he decided he was going to take a country that had some problems with the economy, and turn those problems into something he could REALLY use to transform us… into a third-world failure.

    In reply to Hank M. above – I really don’t know what he’d be doing differently if he WERE trying to drive the country into the ground.  Money to cronies?  Check.  Money wasted on useless projects?  Check.  Money to unions for their unquestioning support?  Check.  Refusing to make any sort of decision that would drop the price of energy?  Check. 

    Telling us that under his control, the price of energy would necessarily skyrocket?  Check.

    I suppose he could do a pre-emptive surrender to Russia or China, but he’s probably saving that for year 7.

  • GarandFan

    What’s next on Barry’s list?  Start selling aircraft carriers to China?

    • jim_m

      What’s next on his list?  Well, remember that plan for student loan forgiveness?  You can get loan forgiveness as long as you do not work for a religious institution.

      That’s right. The government can force religious institutions to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs and in return those same institutions and their employees will be left out from any sort of access to government services.

      Yeah.  He isn’t conducting a war on religion.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.

    • Lee

       Don’t give him any ideas!

    • jim_m

      Actually, we don’t have much to sell them.  Clinton already gave them our nuke secrets.

  • Gmacr1

    He is a fool playing the fool’s game in his drive to diminsh the defensive capabilities of America.

  • herddog505

    JEBUS!  This guy isn’t a radical: he’s a f*cking lunatic!

    The Russians didn’t blink in ’62 because we were nice to them: they blinked because they KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that Tommy Power and SAC were ready, willing and able to incinerate just about every square inch of the USSR, Red China and the rest of the Warsaw Pact countries with nearly 2000 bombers and ICBM’s.

    Deterence doesn’t work when you can “hurt” the other guy: it only works when he knows that you can KILL HIM.

    • jim_m

       But obama and the left don’t want to hurt much less kill the Russians.  They want us to surrender to them or, better yet, to the Chinese so we can finally be communists.

  • Vagabond661

    Imagine what would happen if Obama proposed an 80% reduction of the EPA? Or the Deptartment of Education? Or funding for Soylent Green Energy? 

  • herddog505

    Some further thoughts on idiocy:

    1.  A low warhead count implies a change from a counterforce strategy to a countervalue strategy, i.e. city-busting and killing lots of civilians.  I don’t have a problem with that, but it is a rather significant shift in US policy.  Further, it implicitly invites enemy retaliation on US cities;

    2.  As indicated in the article cited, “the force structure is being studied without matching the need for nuclear forces to combat growing threats, as was done in past strategic nuclear reviews.” In other words, there is apparently no effort being made to determine what targets must be covered or how many weapons must be assigned to have the desired probability of destroying them.  Again, this implies city-busting as cities are very soft targets that, in the absence of credible enemy defenses and with reliable US weapons, can be destroyed with a high level of confidence by a small number of weapons.  I must say that it also raises questions about the SIOP: are we not bothering to plan for the worst any more?  Talk about damaging the credibility of our deterrent!

    3.  A low warhead count creates serious issues with survivability and hence the credibility of the deterrent force depending on alert posture, delivery system “mix”, and release policy.

       (A) Alert posture – how many weapons do we desire to have on alert at any given time?  This gets back to the issue of the number of targets that must be covered, the number of weapons that must be assigned to have a high confidence of destroying them, and the expected warning time.

       (B) Delivery system mix – the advantages and disadvantages of the legs of the “triad” have been a matter of lengthy discussion and analysis for fifty years.  However, the problem becomes somewhat more complicated by a low warhead count.  This applies especially to bombers and SSBN’s:

          (i) Bombers are the most vulnerable delivery system, even if maintained on airborne alert.  There is also a significant maintenance cost: the aircraft (elderly B-52’s and complex B-2’s) must be maintained and the aircrews must get lots of flying time to stay proficient.  This flying time also wears out the airframes.  

          (ii) SSBN’s have the problem of adequate command / control in a strike / post-strike environment.  Further, the Ohio submarines / Trident II combination was built to carry a very large number of warheads (up to 192 warheads per boat, I believe); one fully-armed Ohio would therefore carry nearly 2/3 of the potential US stockpile.  That’s putting a lot of eggs in one basket.  However, if we greatly reduce the number of warheads per missile, then the issue of cost-effectiveness arises: do we want to spend large sums to maintain even a small SSBN fleet?

          (iii) This leaves the ICBM.  This is relatively cheap: the missiles have been built (forty years ago!) and, aside from low-cost upgrades and maintenance, it costs very little to stick them in a silo and keep them on alert.  Unfortunately, the enemy knows exactly where the silos are; they haven’t moved in forty years or more and are vulnerable to modern, accurate missile attack.

          (iv) Part of the rationale behind the Triad was that it complicates enemy planning: they must defend against attacks by several different weapons systems.

       (C) Release policy – this has been a question since at least the late 50’s: when do we launch?  With an all-bomber force, launch on warning is not a particular problem as the aircraft are slow and can be recalled if the warning proves false.  Missiles, on the other hand, cannot be recalled.  Silo-based ICBM’s MUST be launched on warning or else there is a high risk that they will be destroyed by an enemy strike.  While the SSBN force is reasonably secure from an enemy first strike (assuming multiple boats at sea), the weapons may be useless after such a strike because there may be no way to communicate with them to order a retaliation.

    4.  A low warhead count eliminates economy of scale for producing new warheads.

    5.  A low warhead count decreases the credibility of the deterrent as ANY widespread problems with the warheads or a delivery system (see my remarks about the W-47 warhead and cirby‘s remarks about the Minuteman wing at Warren AFB above) means a relatively huge fraction of the deterrent force becomes unreliable or even unusable until the problem(s) are solved.

    My guess is that, if that f*cking jugeared idiot goes ahead with this, we’ll be down to three hundred Minuteman missiles in a few years.  This will put us in the unenviable position of risking that an enemy first strike against them will REQUIRE us to launch the all at his cities.  Will we?

    6.  Along with reducing warheads, will we also reduce the infrastructure that is associated with them, such as BMEWS, PAVE PAWS, DSP, TACANMO, Looking Glass, etc.?

    The plan has come under fire from senior military officers in charge of maintaining nuclear deterrence against Russia, China, and future nuclear rogue states.

    Remember when Bush was an idiot because he “didn’t listen to his generals”?  I guess Barry is such a genius that he hasn’t got to listen to them, eh?

    • Commander_Chico

      The shift to a countervalue strategy seems to be there, but wasn’t the assumption that counterforce was questionable anyways?  Didn’t they wargame it again and again and everyone always ended up nuking Moscow and Washington?    Counterforce is nuclear warfighting with some expectation of “winning” something – who’s thinking of it that way now?

      Deterrence is city-burning.  I was looking at stuff on the Chinese nuclear force- their relatively small numbers of warheads in ICBMs have large yields – with 4-5 mt.

      The British, the French and the Chinese seem to have abandoned the kind of certainty you want, yet I don’t think anyone’s going to attack them.

      All of the uncertainty you worry about would be there for anyone on another side thinking about launching nukes on the USA, and the high probability is they would have enough of their country fried.

      Here is an interesting declassified SAC movie on YouTube about a scenario of fighting a nuclear war around 1958.  Well worth the time:

      • herddog505

        I’ve always thought counterforce to be a lot of crap.  It is implicitly predicated on a US first strike: we knock out the communist nuclear capability, leaving us in a position to dictate terms to Moscow.  Once the Soviets developed their own “quick reaction” (storable liquid fuel or solid propellant) ICBM’s in the middle ’60s, “counterforce” was – or should have been – hash: our warheads would almost certainly have been hitting empty silos.  However, I think that counterforce hung on for several reasons:

        1.  The DoD liked to prolong the fiction that “only” shooting at Soviet missile sites made us the good guys.  “Why, NO!  We would NEVER deliberately target civilians!  Unless, of course, the damned commies did it first, and then all bets are off!” (O’ course, the SLBM was obviously a countervalue weapon until Trident II.  Oddly enough, ADM Burke was a proponent of “finite deterence”, which made him rather the odd man out in the Pentagon) 

        2.  Counterforce appealed to all those old-time Air Force bomber officers who prided themselves on accurate weapon delivery. 

        3.  It was an argument to get more money from Congress for newer weapons: “We’ve got this new missile with a CEP of less than 500 meters!  And it’s a bargain at only $100 million per missile!”*  Low CEP also meant that a smaller warhead was possible, which was good politics: “We use a small warhead.  Not like those dirty reds who use BIG ones.”

        With regard to the British and French deterrents, I think that these were based on the implicit belief that, if they actually had to shoot, it would be right along with us: SAC and the Navy’s SLBM force were the REAL deterrent.  Further, an “independent” deterrent gave the UK and France a right to sit at the Big Table.  Finally, it was useful for the United States as a de facto part of the US nuclear deterrent that we really couldn’t include as a bargaining chip with Moscow because (dang it!) it didn’t “belong” to us.

        I am familiar with the film you attached; thank you.  It’s a great window into how the Air Force viewed the strategic situation and why they thought it vital to have as many bombers (later, missiles) and warheads as could be piled up.  I seem to recall reading that SAC actually drafted plans to build nearly 350 airbases around the US; Lemay and Power were VERY serious about peace through strength.  We also have to keep in mind how lousy US intelligence was: the Air Force had reason to believe that the Soviet bomber and (later) missile force was much larger than it actually was, at least until the Soviets put them on steroids in the late ’60s.

        But there’s another lesson to take away from “The Power of Decision”.  At the end of the film, when the SAC staff is getting a briefing about results, they are informed that various US cities have been destroyed and millions of Americans are dead.  Yet, from their perspective, the US has won because SAC has air supremacy over the remains of the ComBloc with enough aircraft, intact bases, and weapons to continue pounding what’s left, the WarPac invasion of Western Europe has been stopped, and the communists are suing – begging – for peace.  “We’ve got the air and we’ve got the power… and they know it.”  Implicit is that SAC believed that a nuclear war CAN be won.  We may assume that their counterparts in Russia, Red China, and elsewhere think the same thing.


        (*) Perhaps you are familiar with the British series “Yes, Prime Minister”.  In one episode, the PM is considering scrapping British plans to buy Trident but instead continue using their existing Polaris force.  His chief advisor is horrified: “With Trident we could obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe!” Hilarity ensues.


        At about 6:00

      • herddog505

        Oh, and this video is a lot less amusing than “Yes, Prime Minister” and demonstrates why many of us fear reducing our deterrent.

        • Commander_Chico

          One of the implicit issues, and a contrast to Cold War policies and requirements, is the role of the USA, its relations with other countries, and the redefinition of “threat.”

          In other words, does the threat justify the maintenance of such huge nuclear forces, and is the USA conducting its policy in a way to reduce or to increase the threat?  If you’re not likely to get into a confrontation with a country that will escalate to nuclear threats and attacks, you don’t need as many nukes.  If you’re constantly confronting and treading on others’ turf, yeah you need big threatening nuke forces. 

          I always felt that the USSR and its allies, and the PRC in, say, 1980, were unambiguous threats.  Reagan was right – it was an “Evil Empire.”  Back in those days, I would have described myself as a neoconservative.  I agreed with the assessments of the likes of Richard Perle, Daniel Moynihan and Norman Podhoretz about the USSR.  There were a lot of scary forces out there in Europe and elsewhere, and the challenge was global.

          That threat is now gone.  Russia and China are now mostly trading partners and creditors.  I, and millions of Americans, own stock in Russian and Chinese companies through various emerging markets mutual funds.  Do Russia and China have identical interests to the USA?  No, but the differences are managable.  Is the USA acting in a way to reduce the threat?  I think in a lot of ways it is not.

          The neoconservatives whom I once admired have now become deranged – they seem to want to relive the glory days of the Cold War or even WW II.  They want to pick fights over South Ossetia, Syria, Iran, anywhere there is an opportunity for war. 

          Take Syria for example.  Syria is a long-term ally of Russia and provides them with their only Mediterranean naval base.  The Baathist government is noxious in some ways, but susceptible to negotiation and US influence – remember that Syria joined the USA in Desert Storm.  Bashir Al Assad is a moderately reformist figure sitting on top of an entrenched power structure that he has to placate.

          Now, the USA is working to depose Al Assad and remove a Russian ally by participating in a strange alliance of Qatar, Israel, Al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia,Turkey, France and the Muslim Brotherhood.  To what benefit of the USA?  Why jump into these conflicts and pick fights?  Considering Syria and Iran, I never thought that I’d be watching Russia Today to get another perspective from the propaganda on the US MSM, beating war drums incessantly.

          • herddog505

            I’m all for reducing tensions, but we don’t always get to have it that way, either through our own stupidity or the the policies of other countries.  For example, Ike – mostly by way of the fortunate accident of Khrushchev’s visit to the United States – was taking the first small steps toward reaching some sort of understanding with Moscow in 1960.  That went by the boards when the U-2 was shot down and Khrushchev, in order to appease his hardliners, had to play the hard guy.  What might have come from the Vienna conference between Khrushchev and Kennedy had the Soviets not thrown up the Berlin Wall?

            At the moment, there’s no particular cause for concern that World War III is going to break out between us and either the Russians or the Red Chinese.  But what if the next government in either of those countries is more of hardline?  What if Red China decides to grab Taiwan, or some damned fool thing in Korea gets both the US and the PRC nose-to-nose?  The Russians were far from happy with us over Bosnia back in the ’90.  They have their client states just as we do; will they go to the mat for them?  And if so, what then?

            After 1918, nobody in his right mind thought that anybody in Europe would do something so stupid again.  Yet, twenty years later, they were right back at it.  A lot of people in France, Britain, and the United States felt (I hope!) pretty damned silly in 1939 or 1941 when they remembered how they’d worked so hard for disarmament and “peace in our time”.  Unless they were total fools or completely dishonest with themselves, they must have wondered how things might have been had Britain maintained a much larger air force, or if the United States had even half the military we built by 1943.

            So, while I completely agree that we should do what we can to get along with every other country and settle any differences in a peaceful manner, I recognize that the world is a dangerous place, and so long as ANYBODY has nukes, we’ve got to have a very credible deterrent force of our own to make them think ten times before they try to use one.

            Oh, and as for Baby Assad: for a moderate reformist figure, his hands are pretty f*cking bloody.  I don’t say that it’s our fight, but the world would be a cleaner place if he and his hateful regime weren’t in it.

          • Commander_Chico

            The book to read, sounds like you’ve already read it, on the U-2 crisis is May Day by Michael Beschloss.

            For all of the hysteria about the number 300, what is probably being explored is a reduction to something less than 5000.  Because 5000 are not needed and cannot be delivered. 

            So like many bargains, an extreme position is mentioned in the process of getting to the real figure.

            Personally, I don’t think nukes can ever be done away with totally; they are too easy to be hidden and abolition could not be verified.  Plus, they have so far proven to be a deterrent to general war.  The trick is to find the right level of deterrence where a “mistake” does not wind up killing everyone.

            So suppose the USA reduces the number to 2500, half of today’s number.  That would save hundreds of billions – which preserves national strength in other areas now being sapped.  Would having “only” 2500 nukes invite an attack on the USA or adventurism in others?

            I think some of your hypotheses illustrate the inutility of nukes.  Would the USA use nukes to stop the PRC from invading Taiwan or even South Korea?  Not likely.  Would having 2500 make the invasion of Taiwan more likely?  Again, not likely.

            As for Syria, while I understand the position of the USG, Saudi Arabia and Al Qaeda is that Al Assad is massacring Syrians just for the hell of it, and that is the US MSM and Al Jazeera line, the recent Arab League observer report did not bear this out.  If you had army units mutinying and rebels with RPGs and belt-fed machine guns in some cities the USA, I bet the “authorities” would react in pretty bloody ways, too.

            Even though I didn’t think it was the USA’s fight, I was pretty sure that whoever replaced Ghaddaffi in Libya would be better.  I do not believe the same thing in Syria.  The devil you know, etc.

            Of course, Syria is just the prep for Iran.

          • herddog505

            Read Beschloss’ book years ago.  Good example of a history book that is actually readable.  I admit that I came away from it rather liking Khrushchev: as I recall Beschloss’ treatment of him, K was genuinely interested in improving the lot of the Soviet people (the ones the KGB weren’t murdering or tossing into prisons, that is), saw that the arms race with the United States was a huge financial burden, and thought that diplomacy with Ike was both a personal diplomatic triumph and opened the possibility of relaxed tensions.

            The problem with using nukes is a tough one.  What ARE the circumstances in which they would be used?  Even if a major power (Russia or Red China) hit us with some, would we shoot back if they threatened to use more in response?  Then there’s the issue of fallout, EMP, and other (even friendly) countries getting caught in the “spillover”.

            This is a threshold NOBODY with a sane mind wants to cross, but, then again, nobody with a sane mind wanted things to go as they did in the summer of 1914, either.

            If Syria is just prep for Iran, talk to your boy Barry.

          • “In other words, does the threat justify the maintenance of such huge nuclear forces, and is the USA conducting its policy in a way to reduce or to increase the threat?  If you’re not likely to get into a confrontation with a country that will escalate to nuclear threats and attacks, you don’t need as many nukes.”

            Maybe, maybe not.  But here’s the real rub – if the assets are dismantled and sold off/melted down/repurposed one way or another – how long would it take to rebuild the needed level again?  Are we talking days? Months? Years?

            How much time would we have once a potential threat that needs to have a commensurate counter is identified?  Years?  Months?  Days?

            You can always NOT use a weapon system you have.  You CAN’T use a weapon system you DON’T have. 

            There’s a reason why firemen don’t dismantle their trucks after every fire – it’d take far too long to get it operational for the next one.

            Now we’re looking at an administration saying “There’ll never be a need for these things – so we might as well get rid of them.” Might as well strip down the fire engine – there’s no fires going on at the present time…

          • Commander_Chico

            Barry is no longer my boy just because of things like Syria.  Seeing Susan Rice rant and rave about how “disgusting” it was that Russia and China vetoed the resolution to take action on Syria is the kind of rhetoric I’m against.  Great Power manuvering in places like Syria or Georgia is just the kind of thing that results in a 1914 scenario.

            Now, are we being led into a war with Iran?  It seems so to me – but what is most creepy about it is that the propaganda is there, but without any position being stated by the USA.  It’s just “going to happen.”

            I’m glad you mentioned 1914 – while the warmongers always talk about 1938, Munich, and appeasement, nobody considers 1914 and the absolute foolishness of that conflict, started over small issues that should have been worked out.

            With nukes, there is no room for reactions like in 1914, of course, and that might be one of their utilities.

            Agreed on May Day, a very good read.

          • herddog505

            Commander_ChicoWith nukes, there is no room for reactions like in 1914, of course, and that might be one of their utilities.

            That’s what people have variously thought about the crossbow, the musket, the percussion lock, the rifle, dynamite, the Maxim gun, gas, the bomber, etc.  When it comes to killing each other, people usually manage to rationalize away any qualms or apprehensions they might have.  You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, you know.

            This leads to a further thought about deterrence.  I suggest that it is based not just on fear of retaliation, but the fear of inevitable, unavoidable, catastrophically damaging retaliation, the sort of damage that only a psychopath would inflct on his enemy.  What signal is reducing our stockpile to such a low level sending in that regard?  I say that it tells prospective enemies that we aren’t that serious about deterrence.  It’s the difference between, “If you do that, I’m going to beat your ass” and “If you do that, I’m going to kill you, your family, children, friends, and anybody you ever knew with a chainsaw.”

            Consider World War I again: it is notorious for generals sending thousands of men to certain death, then turning right ’round and shoving in thousands more over their corpses.  World War II taught us that countries can go on with their cities in smouldering ruins.  I fear that some leader is going to take Tommy Power’s quip to heart: if it ends with two of us alive and only one of them, that means that we win.  Deterence means that that guy must believe, to the bottom of his soul, that his side WON’T have two guys left when it’s over.

            As for Barry, forgive my saying so, but what the hell did you expect???  I confess that I didn’t think he’d be such a warmonger, but I DID expect an aimless, feckless, disastrous foreign policy that would get us into a lot of trouble.

          • herddog505

            JLawsonIt’s been my thought that two warring neighbors (India-Pakistan, for example) find they’ve got to tone down the conflict once they both posess nuclear weapons.

            I feel almost silly citing this, but a good point is a good point no matter where it comes from…

            In the novel World War Z, the “author” interviews a former Iranian military officer about the brief nuclear war, triggered by the zombie apocalypse,  that his country fought with Pakistan.  He made the point that a major cause of the war was that the two countries had no mechanisms in place to deal with a potential nuclear crisis: for example, there was no “hotline” between Tehran and Islamabad (as there apparently is between Islamabad and New Dehli).  The broader point was that neither country was especially “mature” in regards to nuclear weapons: they were like kids given pistols but no training on when or why they ought to use them.

          • “With nukes, there is no room for reactions like in 1914, of course, and that might be one of their utilities.”

            It’s been my thought that two warring neighbors (India-Pakistan, for example) find they’ve got to tone down the conflict once they both posess nuclear weapons.  Artillery duels in the field are one thing, losing a city or two because you can’t decide where to draw a border is something else entirely.

            As far as Iran goes…

            I know it’s been discussed before – but I think one of Obama’s biggest problems in the ME is that he appears weak to them on a diplomatic front.  And not just weak – ineffectual.  He refuses to make decisions, he’s not pro-active regarding the interests of the US – he gives the impression of someone who would, if the country was nuked, apologize for spreading fallout overseas.

            Much as folks didn’t like Bush, you can’t say he didn’t lead, wasn’t decisive, or appeared weak. He may have inspired fear and dislike in the ME – but they at least RESPECTED the fact that he’d do what he thought was best, that he was a strong horse and not a weak one.

            Obama?  Flip a coin, have him call heads or tails.  Chances are he’ll go “Umm….” and then quickly look to see how the coin landed before deciding.  Decisive he ain’t…

            Interesting times ahead, to be sure.  I’m just hoping for no repeat of 1914 – I’ve a son that’ll be of draft age in about 5 years…

  • ackwired

    I have not yet heard the conservative policy for nuclear deterence.  It sounds like Obama is looking at some options.  Do conservatives think it sould be staus quo.  If adjustments are to be made after the end of the cold war, what policy to you think we should pursue?

    • Why is it America who needs to make adjustments? 
      There is no need to change the number of warheads, we have already greatly reduced the number and there is a plan do so again without Obama’s attempt to disarm us to the point we are sitting ducks.

      • ackwired

        Thanks, Shadow.  I understand you to be saying that we currently have the proper deterence armament and policy.  One question.  Is this your view or is this what is being written by the conservative spokesmen, or both?

  • Brucehenry

    My my, you guys sure know a lot about nuke policy and stuff. I won’t presume to challenge your expertise. I will, however, suggest you re-read the article this post is about. It’s poorly written and disingenuous.

    The article attempts to cast in the most negative light a simple request for options, looks like to me. Then there is a reference to the way these studies have been done in the past. “Tell me what the world looks like and then tell me what the force should be” is all well and good if you can AFFORD whatever the generals tell you. But a wise president might want to see what the military can do with what the country can spend. If it’s gonna take 1200 warheads, fine, but if we can be secure with 300, why not look into how that might work? That’s what the President appears to be doing, if one looks past the slant of the article.

    “Critics…said the force structure is being studied without matching the need for nuclear forces to combat growing threats, as was done in previous strategic nuclear reviews.” I don’t know if you noticed, but that sentence doesn’t make grammatical sense. Sounds scary, but it’s a non sequitur.

    “Asked about the opposition, a senior officer involved in strategic arms declined to comment.” Hahaha, you only have to keep your source anonymous if he DOES comment!

    John Bolton says “the administration’s plan to cut warheads to as low as 300” is reason not to vote for Obama. But it appears the administration is NOT “planning” to cut warheads to that number; it’s simply asking the Pentagon to look into the possibility (or feasibility). Bolton — give me a fucking break. Kook.

    This is an example of how rubes can be duped. The article looks all journalisty and shit, with phrases like “declined to comment” and “senior military officers” thrown in like a grown-up news article, but what it really is is red meat to get geniuses like Jim freaking out. “He wants us to surrender to the Chinese so we can finally be communists.” Or Gmac, “…his drive to diminish the defensive capabilities of America.” What hogwash! Outlandish nonsense.

    Also, whoever heard of the “Washington Free Beacon”?

     BTW, one of the generals who IS quoted in the Free Beacon is retired Air Force general McInerney, who is a FOX News contributor and one of three retired generals who supported Colonel Lakin’s refusal to go to Afghanistan because Obama is, according to him, “not a natural-born citizen” and thus ineligible to be CIC. Haww!

    • cirby

      but if we can be secure with 300, why not look into how that might work?”

      According to the guys who wrote the study, it’s by spending a huge amount of money on what they call an “excellent” anti-ballistic missile system.  Which, by most accounts, would cost a helluva lot more than the existing nuclear arsenal.

      “But it appears the administration is NOT ‘planning’ to cut warheads to that number; it’s simply asking the Pentagon to look into the possibility (or feasibility).”

      Then why did they ask the question?  All they had to do was ask the people who have been running the nuclear arsenal for the last, oh, 60 years, and read one of the thousands of previously-prepared studies on how Mutual Assured Destruction works – and how hard it is to get out of, once both sides are invested in the system.  This is Nuclear Strategy 101.  The fact that they had to go outside of the normal chain of command to get the answers they wanted is a huge clue that the Pentagon and every other source told them it was a Really Bad Idea.

      The big worry is that Obama and Company will take the study, look at the “300 weapon scenario,” then decide to follow it – without the horribly expensive caveat of spending the necessary cash on the SDI part – which has already had funding cuts.  They’ve shown a massive lack of comprehension on pretty much everything the military does, why should they start improving now?  The left-wing “base” will love them for cutting all of those eeevil nuclear weapons, and the press will fall right in line.

      • herddog505

        No, the big worry is that Barry will broach the idea of the 300 warhead arsenal, then “compromise” on 310.

        • And then we’ll publically disarm much of our nuclear arsenal, removing warheads from the Minuteman system, just to prove how ‘peaceful’ we are, and store them in a secure place on the bases that service the missile silos. After all, it’d only take a week or so to return them all to the silos and get them operational…

          And that storage facility on base would be easily identified on Google Earth – lat, long, and elevation – good targeting data! All readily available, unclassified and open. So instead of fifty silos in a missile squadron, scattered over several thousand square miles, you’ve got all the goods in one place. Allocate 10 warheads for the base, and you’ve got yourself a destroyed nuclear storage facility – AND an Ever-Glo (TM) nightlight! (Not exactly a portable one though…)

          Not that I’m sayin’ that’s what they’d do… after all, we learned at Pearl Harbor what happens when you cluster rare assets (P-40s on a ramp, as I recall) where they can be easily guarded… and destroyed.

          Didn’t we?

      • “The left-wing “base” will love them for cutting all of those eeevil nuclear weapons,…”

        And that is all the justification they need.  An election’s coming up, after all – and Obama’s going to need all the help he can get.

    • herddog505

      There are some ideas so foolish that you don’t even talk about them.

      • Brucehenry

        Just pointing out that the article in the oh-so-trusted “Washington Free Beacon” is alarmist bullshit. The only quotes seem to be from kooks like Bolton and McInerney.

        I did enjoy the dialogue you and Chico had, though. Learned something. You two guys, when you speak to each other like adults, are definitely entertaining and enlightening. Thanks to both of you.

        • herddog505

          Thank you.

          As for the article, unless it’s a fabrication, it doesn’t matter if the opinions of Bolton and McInerney are in it.  It could cite Bill Maher, Janeane Garafolo, and Michael Moore but that wouldn’t change the apparent fact that Barry is considering – even in passing – cutting our stockpile like this.

          • Commander_Chico

            To pick it up again, I expect Romney would take a look at the arsenal, its cost, run the numbers, consider the most cost-effective deterrence, and cut the numbers – but I found out he doesn’t really have to.

            Still, it’s been Republicans who have taken the lead on arms control – because they have to the political room to do so. 

            In fact, looking things up, the USA and Russia have already agreed by ratified treaty, to reduce their warheads to 1550 by 2018:


            So, we’ll have to live with only 1550 nukes protecting us -probably a lot of them high-yield ones in Trident subs.

          • herddog505

            Commander_ChicoStill, it’s been Republicans who have taken the lead on arms control – because they have to the political room to do so. 

            That raises another good point about, if not deterrence specifically, then nuclear politics and diplomacy.  Warheads and delivery systems are bargaining chips.  You don’t just throw away part of your pile without getting something big in return.  Doing so makes you look like an idiot, not a peacemaker.

            That being said, I have NEVER been a fan of arms control simply because it’s too easy for people to cheat, as the Germans and Japanese did in the ’20s and ’30s.  Further, “arms control” tells a potential aggressor who’s an easy mark.

            Peace through strength is the only way to go.

          • Commander_Chico

            After reading that piece about the New START treaty, I wonder what the point of this story was – the reductions to 1550 are already ratified by treaty.

            I think you might be able to cheat on warheads pretty easily, but delivery systems are kind of hard to hide.  And the delivery systems probably only have one shot.  New London and Barksdale AFB are going to be toast after the first exchange.

            Reminds me of a t-shirt I once saw.  It showed a drawing of a Polaris sub on the surface with the missile doors open.  The caption was – “16 tubes empty, Russia’s destroyed, now it’s . .. . Miller time!”

          • herddog505

            Is that a nuclear-tipped sub-launched cruise missile you’ve got there, or are you just glad to see me?


            Granting that satellites have come a long way since the early 60’s and the “missile gap”, I suggest that Russia and Red China are awfully big countries, and a mobile ICBM isn’t that much bigger than a tractor-trailer.  And how many warheads are under that nosecone, anyway?  We’re not even sure how many warheads the Red Chinese have got.  Are we SURE we know how many missiles they have?

            ALCM’s and SLCM’s are even smaller and can easily be passed off as “conventional / anti-ship missiles”.  It’s not that hard to swap a nuclear warhead for the conventional one if so desired.  Even a ’50s-vintage POS like a Foxtrot armed with them could wipe out much of the Atlantic or Pacific seaboards (and given the shrinking number of SSN’s we have and the pitifully slow building rate of the Virginias, it’s not so far-fetched that one could get within range without a shadow).

            These discussions are of long standing, dating back at least to the early 70’s and SALT-1.  Fundamentally, it’s an issue of trust: do we REALLY trust that the Russians and the Red Chinese aren’t going to cheat?  I don’t, so I think it prudent to keep a very robust deterrent force around so that, even if they DO cheat, it won’t matter as they will understand VERY clearly that our second strike will vaporize every last damned one of them.

        • THe option is completely unacceptable in all ways to even consider, Bruce,.

  • Oysteria

    Why are we telling the world how many nukes we have or how many we would like to reduce the arsenal to?

    • herddog505

      I think it’s called “Smart Diplomacy”(TM).

      • I think I’ll take the old version – this new one doesn’t seem to get the job done very well.

    • Brucehenry

      We have had discussions like this since the 1950s.

      • LIBERALS have, at any rate. T he people that woudl rather LIKE us to move down in the world so China and company can take over.

        • Brucehenry

          This is what I love about Wizbang. You can have serious comments by the likes of Herddog, Chico, and Lawson, snark from anklebiters like me, and outlandish nonsense from guys like you and jim m, all on the same thread.

          • I’m serious?  AAAAAAAAAAGGGGHH!!!!!!

          • Gotta work on that…

          • Brucehenry

            On THIS thread you have been. Don’t get a swell head.

          •  Brucehenry, soi dissant anklebiter.

          • Brucehenry

            Wow. Speaks French AND rocks a fedora. Quite the sophisticate.

      • herddog505

        We’ve had discussions about reducing our stockpile IF the Soviets could be induced to (credibly) reduce theirs.  Even when we reached agreements, our stockpile was expressed as a range: “between X and Y warheads”.

        The fewer warheads you have, the more sensitive that information becomes.

        • Brucehenry

          I’ve read articles all my life talking about how many warheads we have, etc. JFK campaigned in part on the claim there was a “missile gap” that Eisenhower had supposedly allowed to occur. It’s nothing new, as Oysteria seemingly implied.

          • herddog505

            It’s like a cop in a bad neighborhood telling everybody he meets that he’s only going to have three rounds in his pistol.  Just not a smart idea.

          • Brucehenry

            Yeah, I get it. Now why don’t you tell the Republicans to stop badmouthing the Commander in Chief? Seems like that kind of talk ain’t too smart neither.

            Loudly and incessantly proclaiming what a “weak and indecisive” president we allegedly have could also be considered unwise.

          •  Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

          • herddog505

            I’m pretty sure that Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, Tehran, etc. don’t need us (or anybody else) to tell them that Barry’s weak, indecisive, etc.

  • Brucehenry

    Yeah, I get it. Why don’t you tell the Republicans to stop telling the world that our President is a weakling, a traitor, a communist, and a nincompoop who wants to weaken our defenses? Seems like talk like that couldn’t help either.

    •  Tell you what, you get Obama to man up, support and defend the Constitution of the United States as he swore to do when taking the oath of office, foreswear Marxism and all it’s children, catch a clue, and quit weakening our defenses and I’ll stop referring to him as SCoaMF.

      • Brucehenry

        OK, I’ll tell him. Now you stop.

        • Being the nasty conservative that I am, I grade on accomplishment, not intentions.  I’ll stop when 0bama straitens up and flys right.

          Woo oh baby don’t you, blow your top.

          • Brucehenry

            I think you should wait until he straightens up and flies right.

          •  I’ll not be holding my breath.

  • TomInCali

    So an executive asking his departments for best-to-worst scenario investigations, analyses, and recommendations. Where I work, that’s called having complete information, and smart planning.

    My company’s president once asked for a financial analysis of the company’s health if we didn’t have any sales for an entire year. Anyone who would have suggested that he was then “planning” to cease all sales would have been laughed right out the front door.

    • herddog505

      I’m not a businessman, but it seems to me that, unless your company is in a very low-volume business (“What happens if we don’t sell any cathedral organs this year?”), your president was wasting his staff’s time.  I also imagine that it gave the sales force, especially the lower performers, a bit of a bad time.

      At any rate, in this case, it appears that Barry actually IS thinking of planning to cease all sales (to borrow your analogy).

      In my line of work, it’s akin to the difference between asking, “What do we do if this piece of critical equipment stops working?” and asking, “Say… can we dismantle or sell off this critical piece of equipment?”

      The one is good planning for trouble; the other is stupid on its face.

  • TomInCali

    >At any rate, in this case, it appears that Barry actually IS thinking of planning to cease all sales

    Except… not. As pointed out several times in this thread.

    Yes, my company’s business is a very low-volume and high-price. So ensuring that the company can survive a worst-case scenario in a struggling economy is good, conservative planning.

    And your example (“In my line of work…”) isn’t as valid as you think it is. If a critical piece of equipment is too much of a drain on the organization, either in cost or attention, there’s nothing wrong with reassessing “do we really need it, and what are the options if we get rid of it?” Especially — as in the case of our nuclear arsenal — if it was deemed critical 30-50 years ago, and has slowly been phased down over the years with no obvious negative consequences.

    • herddog505

      Good point.

  • NicholasBrush

    ICC Mortgage And financial Services,Is a sincere and certified private Loan company approved by the Government,we give out international and local loans to all countries in the world,Amount given out $2,500 to $100,000,000 Dollars, Euro and Pounds.We offer loans with a dependable guarantee to all of our clients. Our loan interest rates are very low and affordable with a negotiable duration.

    Available now



    Available now..

    Apply for a loan today with your loan amount and duration, Its Easy and fast to get. 4% interest rates and monthly

    installment payments.

    {[email protected]}


    Nicholas Brush