FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Obama’s Nuclear Weapons Revival

On September 21, 2014, the International Day of Peace, The New York Times published an article by William Broad and David Sanger, “U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms.”  The authors reported that a recent federal study put the price tag for modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal at “up to a trillion dollars” over the next three decades.  It appears that Washington’s military and nuclear hawks have beaten down a president who, early in his first term of office, announced with conviction, “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Many U.S. military leaders, rather than analyzing and questioning the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence to provide security, are acting as cheerleaders for it.  Rear Admiral Joe Tofalo, director of the Navy’s Undersea Warfare Division, recently pontificated, “For the foreseeable future, certainly for our and our children’s and our grandchildren’s lifetimes, the United States will require a safe, secure and effective strategic nuclear deterrent.  The ballistic nuclear submarine forces are and will continue to be a critical part of that deterrent….”  He went on to argue that all legs of the nuclear triad – bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine launched ballistic missiles – would be needed to “provide a strong deterrent against different classes of adversary threat.”

Admiral Tofalo was backed up by Admiral Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, who argued, “In a world where our traditional adversaries are modernizing, emerging adversaries are maturing and non-state actors remain elusive and dangerous, we must get 21st century deterrence right…the reality is that an effective modernized nuclear deterrent force is needed now more than ever.”

All this emphasis on modernizing the nuclear deterrent force may be good for business, but ignores two important facts.  First, nuclear deterrence is only a hypothesis about human behavior that has not been and cannot be proven to work.  Second, it ignores the obligations of the U.S. and other nuclear-armed states to pursue negotiations in good faith for an end to the nuclear arms race and for nuclear disarmament.

The U.S. and other nuclear-armed countries are gambling that nuclear deterrence will be foolproof rather than a game of chance, like nuclear roulette.  Rather than providing security for the American people, nuclear deterrence is a calculated risk, similar to loading a large metaphorical six-chamber gun with a nuclear bullet and pointing the gun at humanity’s head.

The only foolproof way to assure that nuclear weapons won’t be used, by accident or design, is to abolish them.  This is what the generals and admirals should be pressing to achieve.  Negotiations in good faith for abolishing nuclear weapons are required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and by customary international law.  Since these obligations have not been fulfilled in 44 years, one courageous country, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, has brought lawsuits against the nine nuclear-armed countries, seeking the International Court of Justice to order their compliance.  They have also brought a lawsuit specifically against the U.S. in U.S. Federal Court.

Rather than showing leadership by fulfilling its obligations for ending the nuclear arms race and for nuclear disarmament, the U.S. conducted a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test on September 23, just days after the International Day of Peace and days before the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on September 26.  Such displays of arrogance, together with U.S. plans to spend some $1 trillion on modernizing its nuclear arsenal over the next three decades, suggest that if the people don’t demand it, we may have nuclear weapons forever, with tragic consequences.

You can find out more about the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits and support the Marshall Islands at www.nuclearzero.org.

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

 

More articles by:

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

December 18, 2018
Charles Pierson
Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Waters of American Democracy
Patrick Cockburn
Will Anger in Washington Over the Murder of Khashoggi End the War in Yemen?
George Ochenski
Trump is on the Ropes, But the Pillage of Natural Resources Continues
Farzana Versey
Tribals, Missionaries and Hindutva
Robert Hunziker
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
David Macaray
The Truth About Nursing Homes
Nino Pagliccia
Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?
Paul Edwards
Make America Grate Again
David Rosnick
The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change
Binoy Kampmark
The Kosovo Blunder: Moving Towards a Standing Army
Andrew Stewart
Shine a Light for Immigration Rights in Providence
December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail