Hagel's No-Nukes "Global Zero"
They Cheat, We Don't
Generally it means that even the severely reduced number of warheads deployed in our arsenal would not -- if they were needed in a crisis -- be available for use. If that in fact took place -- with countries hostile to the US having arsenals in excess of the US force -- it would probably be in irresistible invitation to them to attack.
Former Senator Chuck Hagel, nominated to be Secretary of Defense, is also a signatory of what is known as the "Global Zero" plan. It calls for the United States and Russia to begin comprehensive nuclear arms negotiations in early 2013 to achieve zero nuclear weapons worldwide by 2030 in four phases.
The first phase would be a reduction of the US nuclear arsenal to 1,000 weapons from its current level -- some number slightly less than 5,000 warheads. While the US has now deployed 1,550 strategic nuclear weapons, the new total would include stored and reserve weapons, as well as warheads considered tactical and deployed in Europe, and therefore not regulated by current arms control agreements. By way of comparison, the former head of the US Strategic Command laid out in a summer 2012 essay the comparable Russian arsenal, which he estimated was probably in excess of 10,000 nuclear warheads -- a number considerably higher than many current and previous estimates of the Russian nuclear arsenal, and nearly twice that of the United States.
The Global Zero plan first would remove all US tactical nuclear weapons from US combat bases in Europe to storage facilities in the United States. However, while these tactical US weapons would no longer be able to defend Europe and NATO, Russians weapons would be able to attack all of Europe in a relatively short time -- launching weapons from bases in Russia, where they would be stored, reconstituted and redeployed. Given the nature of such weapons systems, the verification of such efforts would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
The real eye-opener is that the 1,000 ceiling for the US would include our tactical nuclear weapons and stored weapons for reserve emergencies, and the currently deployed 1,550 weapons. The implication is that Hagel is pushing an 80% cut in overall US deployed weapons. If done proportionately, that would involve a reduction to fewer than roughly 300 total deployed strategic nuclear warheads, a level less than China, and less than India and Pakistan combined.
This further signals the elimination of the US strategic nuclear Triad (air, sea and land) -- 300 accountable warheads would enable the deployment of a limited bomber or submarine or IBM leg of our nuclear deterrent, but certainly not all three legs. This would have the effect, by virtually eliminating all serious deterrent capability to our adversaries, of massively increasing the instability of the international security environment -- a dramatic reversal of the promises made within the New START Treaty ratification process, in which enhancing and maintaining strategic stability was one of the cornerstones of the US Nuclear Posture Review.
By quickly withdrawing our tactical nuclear weapons from Europe, we would be emasculating the extended deterrent umbrella which now covers Europe, and as a result seriously weaken the defense ties to our allies and friends across the Atlantic. There would also be a corresponding weakening of our deterrent umbrella over the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, just at a time when these three nations, and others, are threatened by an expanding North Korean missile and nuclear weapons capability and a major modernization program by China of its nuclear weapons. The result, based on reasonable mid-point estimates of the current PRC arsenal, would be a Chinese deployed nuclear arsenal in excess of that deployed by the United States, to say nothing of what Peking could deploy in the near and intermediate future.
The Global Zero plan also calls for "de-alerting" our nuclear weapons. That would mean any number of things, but generally it means even the severely reduced number of warheads in our deployed arsenal would not, in a crisis, be available for use if they were needed. The warheads might be removed from their missiles or bombers; they might be disabled and stored remotely -- requiring many hours, days, or longer to be redeployed.
Previous administrations, as well as the current government, have in various ways discussed and considered such a move. In every instance, de-alerting has been firmly rejected. First, the proposal is totally unverifiable. Second, it is highly destabilizing: in a crisis, there would be a race to re-alert and rearm, making the first and sudden use of nuclear weapons a greater or more likely possibility. Third, de-alerting solves no "nuclear" problem, whether in concerns abut proliferation, threats of an electro-magnetic pulse [EMP] attack, or any other deterrent or arms control requirement.
The second phase of the Global Zero plan would occur from 2014-2018. In a multilateral framework, the US and Russia would agree to reduce to 500 total warheads each, to be implemented by 2021. All other countries, including China, Pakistan, North Korea and others, would freeze their nuclear stockpiles until 2018, followed by proportionate reductions until 2021 -- irrespective of whether the US deployed arsenal was smaller and less effective than many other countries. If in fact that took place — with nations hostile to the US having arsenals in excess of the US force -- it would be the first time in the history of the nuclear age that such an event took place, and probably an irresistible invitation to them to attack.
Moreover, this plan assumes that a comprehensive verification and enforcement system will have been established -- including agreed-on no-notice, on-site inspections, and that safeguards on the civilian nuclear fuel cycle would be strengthened to prevent their being diverted to build weapons.
The final two phases would include a "binding" 'Global Zero Accord' between 2019-2023, signed by all nuclear capable countries, for the phased, verified, proportionate reduction of all nuclear arsenals to zero total warheads by 2030. The whopping loophole in this plan is that any nation deeming itself not nuclear-capable could opt out of such an agreement, then be completely free to surprise the world with a nuclear arsenal once all the major powers had eliminated theirs.
Between 2024-2030, finally, there would be a complete "phased, verified, proportionate dismantlement of all nuclear arsenals to zero total warheads by 2030," with an accompanying comprehensive verification and enforcement system prohibiting the development and possession of nuclear weapons.
Apart from the "Alice in Wonderland" nature of this proposal, there is the sense that its advocates share a less than serious understanding of both the nature of US deterrence needs, and the geopolitical balance between the United States and Russia, not amenable to international or treaty law.
Reader comments on this item
|The smearing strikes again [51 words]||Avi Marranazo||Jan 11, 2013 09:21|
|↔ Honest Analysis is Not Smearing [226 words]||Peter Huessy||Jan 23, 2013 08:34|
|↔ Peter Huessy Is To Be Commended [559 words]||Noel Griffin||Feb 23, 2013 14:09|
|Global Zero Nuclear Weapons [108 words]||Fereydoun||Jan 11, 2013 06:20|
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
There is growing concern in Ramallah, Cairo, Riyadh and Dubai that the U.S. Administration is working to prevent the collapse of Hamas.
"The Americans mistakenly think that moderate political Islam, which is represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, will be able to combat radical Islam. The Americans are trying to bring the Muslim Brotherhood back to the region." — Palestinian official, Ramallah.
The Iranians, with whom the U.S. is now negotiating on nuclear weapons -- amid fears in the Middle East that the U.S. will capitulate to Tehran's demands if it has not effectively capitulated to them already -- have now joined Qatar and Turkey in opposing any attempt to confiscate Hamas's weapons.
The Paris conference was actually a spit in the face to the anti-Hamas forces in the Arab world. By failing to invite the Palestinian Authority to the conference, Kerry indicated that he does not see any role for Abbas and his loyalists in a post-Hamas Gaza Strip.
by Amir Taheri
According to Küntzel, German leaders have at least two other reasons for helping Iran defy the United States. The first is German resentment of defeat in the Second World War followed by foreign occupation, led by the US. The second reason is that Iran is one of the few, if not the only country, where Germans have never been looked at as "war criminals" because of Hitler.
by Malcolm Lowe
Go to Nazareth and you can easily find the mini-mosque. It displays a large poster of Koran quotations denigrating Christianity and urging Christians to convert to Islam.
Overlooked is a fundamental difference between the two regimes. Israel is a state governed by the rule of law. The Palestinian Authority, like most other states in the region, is a personal dictatorship. Arafat started the fashion of simply disregarding the laws.
What is needed in Israel is a central policy unit with the brief of developing long-term policies both to integrate Israeli Christians and to engage with the great variety of Christians in foreign countries.
by Peter Huessy
The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler not only invents points the Cheneys did not make, he then casually dismisses "uncomfortable points" they did make. How many Pinocchios is that worth?
Kessler evidently assumes that when intelligence assessments differ, the correct version is only that which differs from the points made by the Cheneys but not by their critics.
Most senior Democratic members of the Senate at the time voted -- twice -- for giving the President the authority to take down Saddam Hussein. How else can Democrats say they made a mistake voting for the war if they cannot now make the case that they were "fooled"?
The U.S. took down Saddam Hussein's regime because on balance the threat-intelligence could not be ignored.
by Soeren Kern
The Vatican failed in an attempt to cover up the contents of a prayer by a Muslim cleric at an interfaith "Prayer for Peace" service held in the Vatican garden on June 8. Departing from a pre-approved script, the imam recited verses 284-286 of Sura 2 from the Koran, the latter part of which calls on Allah to grant Muslims victory over non-Muslims.
Danish police raided a mosque in the Vibevej district of Copenhagen after a passerby allegedly saw weapons being carried into the complex.
"We now have hundreds of jihadists and thousands of sympathizers. This naïve Cabinet's inaction is inviting an attack in the Netherlands." — Geert Wilders, Dutch Freedom Party.
Conference attendees called on the Spanish government to sponsor an official study aimed at finding ways to bring European food standards into compliance with Islamic Sharia law.