FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Nuclear Dangers Remain, Despite Bush/Putin Pact

by David Krieger

When major newspapers around the world trumpet headlines such as “U.S., Russia to Cut Nuclear Arms,” it should be cause for excitement, even celebration. Undoubtedly most people will greet this news with a sense of relief that we are moving in the right direction. Certainly it is better to have less nuclear weapons than more of them. But before we bring out the champagne, it would be a good idea to read the fine print and examine more closely what the treaty will and will not do.

The treaty calls for reducing the size of the actively deployed US and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals from some 6,000 weapons on each side today to between 1,700 and 2,200 by the year 2012. This is approximately a two-thirds reduction in actively deployed long-range nuclear weapons, a move that is certainly positive.

The treaty, however, has serious flaws. The nuclear weapons taken off active deployment will not necessarily be destroyed. It will be up to each country to determine what to do with these weapons. Many, if not most, of them will be placed in storage, ready to be rapidly redeployed if either country decides to do so.

There is also no immediacy to moving from current levels of strategic nuclear weapons to the promised lower levels. According to the terms of the treaty, each country needs only to reduce to the agreed upon levels by the year 2012. That also happens to be the year that the treaty terminates unless extended.

The United States has been a proponent of making the nuclear reductions reversible. The major problem with this approach is that it leads the Russians to do the same, and thereby increases the likelihood that these weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists. It would be better for both countries to permanently dismantle the nuclear weapons removed from active deployment, thereby removing the risk of theft by terrorists.

The treaty deals only with strategic or long-range nuclear weapons. It does not seek to control or reduce tactical or short-range nuclear weapons. Each side still retains thousands of these weapons, and there is serious concern about the Russian arsenal’s vulnerability to theft or unauthorized use. The US Nuclear Posture Review, made partially public in January 2002, called for the development of so-called “bunker buster” nuclear weapons that would be far more likely to actually be used than the larger long-range nuclear weapons.

As we evaluate this treaty, we should remember that even at the lowest level of 1,700 strategic nuclear weapons on each side, there will still be a sufficient number to destroy more than 3,000 cities. The use of far fewer nuclear weapons than this would put an end to civilization as we know it.

President Bush claims, “This treaty will liquidate the legacy of the Cold War.” This remains to be seen. By designing a treaty that will hold so many nuclear weapons in reserve and retain so many on active “hair-trigger” alert, the two sides are not exactly demonstrating a level of trust commensurate with their current friendly relations.

When the treaty is examined closely, it has more the feel of a public relations effort than a solid step toward reducing nuclear dangers and fulfilling the long-standing promises of the two countries to engage in good faith negotiations for nuclear disarmament. Unfortunately, even if this treaty is ratified and enters into force, we will remain in the danger zone that nuclear weapons pose to humanity and all life.

We still need an agreement that provides for deeper, more comprehensive and irreversible cuts with a far greater sense of urgency. Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin need to return to the negotiating table.

David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He can be contacted at dkrieger@napf.org

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org). 

February 09, 2016
Andrew Levine
Hillary Says the Darndest Things
Paul Street
Kill King Capital
Ben Burgis
Lesser Evil Voting and Hillary Clinton’s War on the Poor
Paul Craig Roberts
Are the Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?
Fran Quigley
How Corporations Killed Medicine
Ted Rall
How Bernie Can Pay for His Agenda: Slash the Military
Neve Gordon
Israeli Labor Party Adopts the Apartheid Mantra
Kristin Kolb
The Greatest Bear Rainforest Agreement? A Love Affair, Deferred
Joseph Natoli
Politics and Techno-Consciousness
Hrishikesh Joshi
Selective Attention to Diversity: the Case of Cruz and Rubio
Stavros Mavroudeas
Why Syriza is Sinking in Greece
David Macaray
Attention Peyton Manning: Leave Football and Concentrate on Pizza
Arvin Paranjpe
Opening Your Heart
Kathleen Wallace
Boys, Hell, and the Politics of Vagina Voting
Brian Foley
Interview With a Bernie Broad: We Need to Start Focusing on Positions and Stop Relying on Sexism
February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
Jim Goodman
Congress Must Kill the Trans Pacific Partnership
Peter White
Meeting John Ross
Colin Todhunter
Organic Agriculture, Capitalism and the Parallel World of the Pro-GMO Evangelist
Ralph Nader
They’re Just Not Answering!
Cesar Chelala
Beware of the Harm on Eyes Digital Devices Can Cause
Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail