In addition, on February 17, 2012, Chairman Turner and 33 other Members of Congress threw down the gauntlet in a letter to Mr. Obama. It said, in part: “We seek your assurance that in view of the ambitious nuclear weapons modernization programs of Russia, communist China, Pakistan and others, the deep cuts to U.S. conventional capabilities per the Budget Control Act, and your failure to follow through on your pledged [modernization of the deterrent], that you will cease to pursue such unprecedented reductions in the U.S. deterrent and extended deterrent.”
The legislators’ point about the President’s failure to honor the commitment made to secure Senate approval of New START in a cynical and heavy-handed power play during the 2010 lame-duck session is particularly apt. Even if Mr. Obama can’t get away with the sweeping reductions he has in mind, all he has to do to accomplishAmerica’s unilateral disarmament is perpetuate the atrophying of our increasingly obsolescent nuclear forces – most of which are over twenty-five years old and have not been realistically tested through underground detonations for two decades.
Later this week, a new push will be made for a treaty that would lock our deterrent permanently into just such a death-spiral. The National Academy of Sciences will release a study that is expected to deem the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) verifiable and further underground testing unnecessary. Much evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, proponents of the CTBT and advocates of “Global Zero” – the multimillion campaign to eliminate all nuclear weapons that can, at most, rid the world of ours (and perhaps those of other, Free World nations that honor their international commitments) – hope to use the Academy’s analysis to prevail upon the U.S. Senate to reverse its previous rejection of this accord.
At the same time as the Obama administration is wreaking havoc on our nuclear deterrent, it is undermining the other insurance policy we need against catastrophic, potentially country-cratering attacks like thoseinvolving ballistic missile-delivered electromagnetic pulse strikes: effective national, or better yet global, missile defenses. Policy decisions and budget cuts are taking their toll on our anti-missile programs. So is the President’s willingness to cede technology or vetoes to the Russians.
In the latter connection, Mr. Obama was overheard telling outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Seoul on Monday: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for [Putin] to give me space…. This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”
Translation: If President Obama is reelected, we should expect even more U.S. disarmament – whether or not anybody is following our lead. Shouldn’t that grim prospect be a centerpiece of the campaign this year, and the American people offered a robust alternative come November?
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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