According to a January 4 report in the Los Angeles Times, President Obama’s plan for nuclear disarmament is meeting opposition from the Department of Defense. Specifically, the Department of Defense believes that President Obama’s plan jeopardizes U.S. security. They are right.
First and foremost, the American people need to understand that U.S. nuclear forces and the infrastructure to support them have been atrophying since the end of the Cold War. Meanwhile, China and Russia are modernizing their nuclear forces and Iran and North Korea are looking to become de facto nuclear weapons states. From outward appearances, President Obama wants to atrophy the U.S. nuclear force out of existence by continuing on the path to decline.
The Department of Defense, apparently, has arrived at the conclusion that this atrophy cannot continue without undermining the overall deterrence posture of the United States. The facts support the Department of Defense’s conclusion. Modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and its supporting infrastructure must proceed if the U.S. deterrence posture is to be effective for whatever period of time nuclear weapons will continue to exist in the world. Even President Obama admits that this could be a very long time.
If President Obama insists that modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and its supporting infrastructure is inherently incompatible with his vision for nuclear disarmament, his vision deserves to fail. If it does fail, reports will probably surface that it was the Pentagon that killed it. These charges will lack merit. The Pentagon will not have killed President Obama’s vision for nuclear disarmament. It will be the policies of countries that seek to increase their power by threatening the U.S. and its allies with nuclear weapons that will have killed it. The Pentagon will only be responding to the realities presented by a dangerous world.