Nuclear Reduction Considered

February 21, 2012 --

Blake Day, Praemon, United States

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According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the White House and Pentagon are considering several plans to reduce its nuclear stockpile. The plans have not been presented to President Obama yet, but he will in the near future. The United States is currently under treaty obligations that require it to reduce the nuclear stockpile from the current 1,800 to 1,550 by 2018. However, the Obama administration is considering three plans to reduce this number further. The first plan calls for a moderate reduction in nuclear warheads which would leave between 1,000 and 1,100 intact. The second would reduce the number to around 700. The final, and most drastic, would reduce the U.S. nuclear stockpile to between 300 and 400 weapons.

All of these plans that the White House and Pentagon are considering pose a serious threat to the United States’ national security. Russia has more active nuclear warheads than the United States right now, but with further reductions the U.S. would have the same amount as China and France. The U.S. cannot afford to consider these further reductions. The White House claims that the reduction would be a positive step for two reasons. First, the Obama administration has been promising to pursue nuclear reduction since at least 2009. Second, the United States has other, more conventional, means with which to offer deterrence.

This is simply not the case. The United States has too much to gain from retaining its nuclear weapons. There are several targets on the map of the United States, and this reduction will greatly decrease the U.S.’ ability to protect them. The fact is, we live in a nuclear world. Nuclear deterrence is hands down the most powerful military tactic in the world. One simple question displays the importance of nuclear weapons: If the Obama administration believes that there are other means with which to deter, why is it so worried about Iranian nuclear development?

In addition to the argument of deterrence, one must look at the history of nuclear warfare. The only nuclear weapons ever successfully deployed came from the United States. This was one single attack at a very heated time of war, and it caused great grief both in the U.S. and  Japan. There has never been a  nuclear war. There has never even been a war between countries that possess active nuclear warheads. The last time nuclear weapons were used in war was in 1945. With a 66-year perfect record, the United States must reject the nuclear reduction proposals. If the Obama administration, for any reason, agrees to continue reducing nuclear weapons, the outcome will be disastrous. The U.S. will lose its current world clout. Small developing states who are enemies of the U.S. will gain confidence in their ability to withstand American pressure. In conclusion, any reduction beyond the 2018 obligation of 1,550 will spell trouble for the United States and it’s allies.

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