An “advocacy group” calling its self, not at all pretentiously, Global Zero, has begun arguing that the US only needs 900 nuclear weapons: 450 deployed and another 450 “stored.”
The group also wants the reductions to occur over the next ten years
with Russia in unison through reciprocal presidential directives, negotiated in another round of bilateral arms reduction talks, or implemented unilaterally.
and the reductions should include
a de-alerted operational posture requiring 24-72 hours to generate the capacity for offensive nuclear strikes, thereby relieving the intense pressure on nuclear decision-making that currently exists[.]
Then they argue that the deterrent value of large nuclear arsenals from the Cold War add no strategic value to vis-à-vis current threats.
Finally, they insist that defense spending tight, a (claimed) savings of $100 billion over those 10 years would result. And they justify this with
There is no conceivable situation in the contemporary world in which it would be in either country’s national security interest to initiate a nuclear attack against the other side.
Where to begin?
When did the Cold War end? All that’s happened is that Russia and China have replaced the USSR, and we’ve had a multi-front shooting war thrust on us by terrorist organizations and their supporting nations. Moreover, whence this magic number of 900? That’s not many targets against sophisticated, powerful foes with dug-in weapons systems and deep bunkers connected by thousands of miles of tunnels within which to hide additional nuclear weapons.
Next, what “intense pressure on nuclear decision-making” do these folks think a President is facing with ICBMs inbound? The pressure of fear certainly is real—of personal death, of the destruction of our country, of the surviving population delivered into slavery to a victorious enemy. However, the choices are simple: to retaliate—and then go onto the offensive to win, and so our nation to survive—or to surrender. This is no-brainer, not least because, with the missiles en route, it’s already too late to surrender.
GZ supports this position with the argument that a nuclear-armed, and increasingly so, Russia (a nation that already has threatened to attack our defensive installations if we actually emplace them on our allies’ soil) and a nuclear armed, and increasingly so, China (a nation that is increasingly aggressive against our allies) are not threats.
Leaving aside the foolishness of “tight defense spending” in a time of nuclear and conventional capability expansion by our enemies, $100 billion over 10 years is chump change. That savings could be achieved by eliminating some of the FWA that “everyone knows” is present in—pick a—government department.
They’re also assuming that nuclear weapons development, deployment, and operation have no value in countering terrorist nuclear threats from Iran, northern Korea, and the terrorist organizations to which they will give nuclear bombs.
Moreover, the “either unilaterally or through negotiations” quest is naïve: it simply means unilaterally, since the position carries within it unilateral disarmament as an option. And this is pre-emptive surrender.
In the end, the report is naïve or deliberately misleading. It assumes that Russia and Chinaare interested in arms reduction. They’re only interested in US arms reductions. They’re already in the process of upgrading and updating their military forces, including their offensive nuclear forces. They’re already in the process of increasing the numbers of those forces.