Furling the nuclear umbrella 1

There’s little that’s surprising, though much that’s shocking, in the way Obama is carrying out his duty as commander-in-chief. To justify a reversal of long-established defense policy, he and his obsequious mouthpiece Defense Secretary Robert Gates are delivering sermons rather than announcements on America’s “nuclear posture”.

One thing that doesn’t quite fit with what we know of Obama’s sentimental pacifism, stale ban-the-bomb leftism, and emotional sympathy for Islam, is that the commanders in the Afghan theater are still being permitted to use drones to kill Muslims. We expect Obama to decide that drone warfare is far too effective in giving America an advantage over the Taliban, and stop it.

For the present he may choose to overlook small American victories, because he is preoccupied with developing his grand plan to make America, and countries that look to America for protection, vulnerable to devastating attack.

Charles Krauthammer deplores Obama’s “nuclear posturing” and explains how his sentimental policy is a menace to the world:

Nuclear doctrine consists of thinking the unthinkable. It involves making threats and promising retaliation that is cruel and destructive beyond imagining. But it has its purpose: to prevent war in the first place.

During the Cold War, we let the Russians know that if they dared use their huge conventional military advantage and invaded Western Europe, they risked massive U.S. nuclear retaliation. Goodbye Moscow.

Was this credible? Would we have done it? Who knows? No one’s ever been there. A nuclear posture is just that — a declaratory policy designed to make the other guy think twice.

Our policies did. The result was called deterrence. For half a century, it held. The Soviets never invaded. We never used nukes. That’s why nuclear doctrine is important.

The Obama administration has just issued a new one that “includes significant changes to the U.S. nuclear posture,” said Defense Secretary Bob Gates. First among these involves the U.S. response to being attacked with biological or chemical weapons. …

Under President Obama’s new policy … if the state that has just attacked us with biological or chemical weapons is “in compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),” explained Gates, then “the U.S. pledges not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against it.”

Imagine the scenario: Hundreds of thousands are lying dead in the streets of Boston after a massive anthrax or nerve gas attack. The president immediately calls in the lawyers to determine whether the attacking state is in compliance with the NPT. If it turns out that the attacker is up-to-date with its latest IAEA inspections, well, it gets immunity from nuclear retaliation. (Our response is then restricted to bullets, bombs and other conventional munitions.)

However, if the lawyers tell the president that the attacking state is NPT noncompliant, we are free to blow the bastards to nuclear kingdom come.

This is quite insane. It’s like saying that if a terrorist deliberately uses his car to mow down a hundred people waiting at a bus stop, the decision as to whether he gets (a) hanged or (b) 100 hours of community service hinges entirely on whether his car had passed emissions inspections.

Apart from being morally bizarre, the Obama policy is strategically loopy. Does anyone believe that North Korea or Iran will be more persuaded to abjure nuclear weapons because they could then carry out a biological or chemical attack on the U.S. without fear of nuclear retaliation?

The naivete [or evil intent – JB] is stunning. Similarly the Obama pledge to forswear development of any new nuclear warheads, indeed, to permit no replacement of aging nuclear components without the authorization of the president himself. This under the theory that our moral example will move other countries to eschew nukes.

On the contrary. The last quarter-century — the time of greatest superpower nuclear arms reduction — is precisely when Iran and North Korea went hellbent into the development of nuclear weapons.

It gets worse. The administration’s Nuclear Posture Review declares U.S. determination to “continue to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in deterring non-nuclear attacks.” The ultimate aim is to get to a blanket doctrine of no first use.

This is deeply worrying to many small nations who for half a century relied on the extended U.S. nuclear umbrella to keep them from being attacked or overrun by far more powerful neighbors. When smaller allies see the United States determined to move inexorably away from that posture — and for them it’s not posture, but existential protection — what are they to think?

Fend for yourself. Get yourself your own WMDs. Go nuclear if you have to. Do you imagine they are not thinking that in the Persian Gulf?

This administration seems to believe that by restricting retaliatory threats and by downplaying our reliance on nuclear weapons, it is discouraging proliferation.

But the opposite is true. Since World War II, smaller countries have agreed to forgo the acquisition of deterrent forces — nuclear, biological and chemical — precisely because they placed their trust in the firmness, power and reliability of the American deterrent.

Seeing America retreat, they will rethink. And some will arm. There is no greater spur to hyper-proliferation than the furling of the American nuclear umbrella.

China rising 1

Lending weight to the depressing forecasts examined in our post Is America in decline? (March 1, 2010), here is news of China’s ambition and intention to become militarily mightier than America:

As America unilaterally disarms, a Chinese officer in a new book touts a new reality — that China is prepared to rule the roost, and the U.S. better keep off the grass.

On April 5, 2009, in Prague, President Obama gave a speech in which he pledged America would work toward a “world without nuclear weapons.” Almost a year later, it seems we are moving toward a world without American nuclear weapons.

“To put an end to Cold War thinking,” the president said, “we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and urge others to do the same.” The others, such as China, seem to have other plans.

“China’s big goal in the 21st century is to become world number one, the top power,” People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Senior Col. Liu Migfu writes in a newly published book, “The China Dream.” This dream could rapidly become America’s nightmare.

These are heady days for China, flush with American cash and holding large chunks of our debt.

China today has nearly $2.4 trillion in foreign exchange holdings, with roughly $1.6 trillion of that in dollar-based assets. It’s the No. 1 holder of U.S. debt in the world.

The Chinese military, infuriated by America’s sale of $6.4 billion in arms to Taiwan, recently wanted to dump some of China’s vast holdings of U.S. Treasury and corporate bonds on the market, hoping to punish us economically. China has too much at stake to do it, perhaps, but the threat is real. And in an actual crisis over Taiwan, who knows?

It would be easy to dismiss all of this as bluster, but we’d do so at our peril. China’s economic advancement and military buildup are real, as is the threat in both areas. The leadership in Beijing does not let its military speak so publicly and bluntly unless it wants to send a message that is clear and unmistakable.

Col. Liu argues that China should use its growing revenues to become the world’s biggest military power, to the point where the U.S. “would not dare and would not be able to intervene in military conflict in the Taiwan Strait.”

That possibility is increasingly real. As Defense Secretary Roberts Gates said in a recent speech to the Air Force Association: “Investments in cyber and anti-satellite warfare (by China), anti-air and anti-ship weaponry, and ballistic missiles could threaten America’s primary way to project power and help allies in the Pacific — in particular our forward air bases and carrier strike groups.”

Of specific concern is a new Chinese missile, the land-based DF-21. It’s the world’s first ballistic missile capable of hitting a moving target at sea and is designed to attack and sink U.S. carrier battle groups. The conventionally armed missile has maneuverable warheads and a range in excess of 1,000 miles.

Against this backdrop we see the U.S. almost unilaterally disarming. The administration ended financing for a new nuclear warhead to replace our aging inventory …

The new strategy will also seek to abandon Bush administration plans to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons known as bunker busters to penetrate hardened underground targets like the nuclear facilities in North Korea and Iran.

We have abandoned long-range, ground-based missile defense in Europe and cut planned deployment in Alaska and California. We have stopped production of the fifth-generation F-22 Raptor and have no plans for a follow-on strategic bomber or to replace our aging strategic missiles in their silos.

“I’m very pessimistic about the future,” writes another PLA officer, Col. Dai Xu, in another recently published book. “I believe that China cannot escape the calamity of war, and this calamity may come in the not-too-distant future, at most in 10 to 20 years.”

Inciting aggression with weakness 0

Two articles in Investor’s Business Daily (find them here and here) describe the perils we are faced with from nuclear aggressors now that our defenses are being weakened.

First, this:

The Associated Press reports that ElBaradei’s self-styled nuclear “watchdog,” the IAEA, has concluded that Iran’s Islamofascist regime can now design and produce a nuclear bomb, according to an unpublished section of its analysis of Iran.

The IAEA also believes Tehran has “probably tested” a key component for an implosion-based nuclear warhead, and has been developing a missile chamber to carry such a warhead…

Why should all this be in a “secret” section of an IAEA report? U.S., British, French and German intelligence all report that Tehran has been at work on an atomic warhead. The only need for secrecy is to shield this defective, incompetent agency from embarrassment.

Earlier this month, diplomats gave ElBaradei a standing ovation at his going-away party…

It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that ElBaradei, who has held his “nuclear watchdog” position for well over a decade, is actually one of the most dangerous men in the world today.

He has gone out of his way to play down the genocidal threat that terror-sponsoring states in general, and Iran in particular, constitute. And he has emphatically insisted that the free world negotiate with the gang of fanatic mullahs and their henchmen who run that country. Remember: They’re the same ones who’ve vowed to wipe Israel off the map, and who also seek a world without the U.S.

Moreover, ElBaradei has almost certainly suppressed evidence discovered by his agency of Iran’s covert nuclear weapons development — in the name of peace, of course.

It’s like some twisted nightmare — an agency whose supposed purpose is to prevent the spread of the deadliest weapons instead hiding the fact that a terrorist regime is building them. And not only is its director not censured — he gets showered with awards and a grand send-off for presiding over such inexcusable acts.

The bad dream continued with the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland last week being marked by the U.S. scrapping plans for long-range missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic, two of our strongest allies in Europe. Instead, we’ll have sea-based sensors and interceptors that can stop only short-range missiles from Iran or Russia.

Unfortunately, it’s no nightmare. Our leaders being asleep to the growing threat of nuclear terror is very much a reality.

Or maybe they don’t want to defend America?

Next, this:

“Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?” Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked at a “World Without Zionism” conference in Tehran in 2005. “But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved.”

He added that Iran had a strategic “war preparation plan” for what it called “the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization.”

A simple Scud missile, with a nuclear warhead, could be fired from an inconspicuous freighter in international waters off our coast and detonated high above America.

This is where the Airborne Laser aircraft program, canceled by this administration, would come in handy.

Or it could be an upgraded Shahab launch, masked as a satellite attempt and flying over where the European defense sites would have been. It would wreak near total devastation on America’s technological, electrical and transportation infrastructure.

The threat is called electromagnetic pulse. Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., calls it the one way we could lose the war on terror. As he notes, a single nuclear warhead, detonated at the right altitude, would interact with the Earth’s atmosphere, producing an electromagnetic pulse radiating to the surface at the speed of light.

Nobody is harmed or killed immediately by the blast. But life in the U.S., the world’s only superpower and largest economy, comes to a screeching halt as a country dependent on 21st-century technology instantaneously regresses almost a century in time.

Millions could die as hospital systems shut down and as rail and air traffic controls collapse. Farmers would be unable to harvest crops, and distributors couldn’t get goods to market. Energy production would cease. Computers and PCs would become large paperweights. Telephones, even cell phones, wouldn’t work.

Retaliation would be futile and meaningless — if it were even possible — since communications with our deployed forces overseas, including ballistic missile submarines, might be cut off. A presidential authorization might be impossible to send, so fried might be our communications infrastructure.

To defend Europe — and American troops stationed there — against the possibility of a missile attack from Iran requires a European third site. We now maintain one ground-based missile site in Fort Greely, Alaska, and a second at Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California.

President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates cite intelligence indicating that Iran’s long-range missile development is going slower than previously thought. So ignore that Iranian Omid satellite. There’s time, they say, and for now our existing Aegis and other defenses should do fine.

But shouldn’t we have our long-range defenses ready before their offense is?

The fact is, we simply have too few Aegis-equipped and SM-3 armed vessels to provide defenses for Japan and Hawaii from the North Korean threat, both long- and short-range. Where are the Aegis ships to patrol the waters between Iran and Europe — or off our own coasts, for that matter? If the administration is planning a massive shipbuilding program, we missed the announcement…

President Reagan’s dream of a layered missile defense defending against, rather than merely avenging, a nuclear attack is being suffocated in the crib.

Now the only option may be for Israel to take out the nuclear facilities of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and save us from our folly.

Or we can wait for the day when nuclear-armed missiles are in the hands of a man who wants to wipe Israel off the map as he waits for the arrival of the 12th Imam and the apocalypse.