In Seoul, South Korea on Monday, President Obama enthused once again about his vision of a world without nuclear weapons. It’s a dream he has had since he was a radical leftist studying at Columbia University in the early 1980s. And, in the hope of advancing it now as Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America, he declared that – since he was convinced we had more of these weapons than we need – he is going to reduce our arsenal. According to some accounts, he has in mind cutting it to one roughly the size of Pakistan’s.
In his address at Hankuk University, Mr. Obama suggested that he would get the Russians to do the same. That surely will come as a surprise to their once-and-future president, Vladimir Putin, since he has been quite aggressively beefing up the Kremlin’s nuclear forces. In fact, Putin recently unveiled a $770 billion defense modernization plan which would, among otherthings, buy 400 new long-range ballistic missiles. It is a safe bet that they will be outfitted with modern nuclear weapons, probably multiple, independently targetable ones at that.
It seems no more likely that the Russians will agree to reduce their vast monopoly on tactical nuclear weapons or their undisclosed and “non-deployed” stocks of strategic nuclear weapons – two other initiatives Mr. Obama declared he wanted to take. Even if they would, any such agreement would be wholly unverifiable.
If the Russians won’t play ball, it’s a safe bet no one else will either. Mr. Obama’s subordinates are signaling, however, that he is prepared to disarm us unilaterally through what one of them, Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller recently called “executive action.”
In short, the President seems to be replacing his notorious “lead from behind” strategy in Libya with a “lead with no one behind” approach.
Mr. Obama has sparked disbelief and outrage on Capitol Hill with the revelation that he has tasked the Pentagon with developing options that would eliminate as much as 80 percent of the deployed weapon levels set just two years ago by his seriously defective “New START” Treaty. On March 7, 2012, Rep. Mike Turner who chairs the House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee wrote in Politico: “Traditionally, a president has directed his military advisers to determine, chiefly, what level of our nuclear force is needed to deter a potential adversary from attacking us or our allies. The answer to that question should be what drives the strategy — not a president’s political ideology.”
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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