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Substituting Hope for a Policy by U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (ret.)

July 8, 2009

Substituting Hope for a Policy

By Duncan Hunter, U.S. Rep. (ret.)
Chairman, Armed Services Committee, 2002-2006

At the height of the Cold War the United States maintained more than 32,000 nuclear
weapons and the Soviet Union deployed more than 45,000 such weapons. Ronald Reagan, having rebuilt U.S. military strength during the l980s, initiated, with Mikhail Gorbachev, a reduction regimen which continued through the break-up of the Soviet Empire. Since the Reagan breakthrough, the strategic armories of the U.S. and Russia have fallen
to a few more than 2,000 nuclear weapons apiece.

Now, five months before the expiration of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (which was
signed in l97l) President Obama has agreed with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to further cut the deployed nuclear warhead levels to no more than 1,675 for each country.

During the same meeting President Obama was reported to have told Medvedev that his
administration was “still completing review of the missile-defense options in Europe.” This statement opened the door for the possibility that the U.S. will stop its program to place
missile interceptors and radars in Poland and Czechoslovakia. Halting the American plans for such a deployment has been a key Russian objective.

President Obama’s agreement to reduce nuclear weapon inventories further and his
weakening on missile defense represents the substitution of hope for a sound policy.

Weapons reductions have been negotiated in the past for a compelling reason: to bring about change in the behavior of the Soviet Union and thereby the reduction of the danger
of nuclear war. Today, however, the effect on other nations which intend to develop, or
are developing nuclear weapons must be considered.

North Korea now has a small number of nuclear weapons and continues to develop the missile capability that will, one day, allow them to reach the U.S. with a strategic weapon.

What effect on the less-than -stable North Korean leadership will President Obama’s
agreement to reduce America’s nukes have? According to President Obama, this display
of “leadership” will marshal international opposition to the nuclear programs of North Korea
and Iran.

If this is true than we could expect to see, in the next several months, the free world really
cranking up the pressure on these two nations. Of course it won’t happen for two reasons.

First, our allies follow their own immediate security and economic interests and long ago
relegated to Uncle Sam the tough ones like these two problem countries. Second, none of
our allies are “holding back” from pressuring the Iranians and North Koreans to stop their
nuke programs. In reality, our allies have little leverage with either country and what little
clout they are inclined to use they have already called up.

In fact, if Mr. Obama really wanted to motivate another nation to pressure Iran he could have started with Russian President Medvedev, whose contractors are building the nuclear
reactor currently under construction in Iran.

China, meanwhile, uninhibited by the agreement and with newly acquired economic muscle
from the transfer of the American industrial base to her shores, moves ahead with the fielding
of its new road-mobile ICBM and advanced capability in submarines, satellites, aircraft and
electronic warfare.

The recent report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United
States warns that “China is today of rising importance in the U.S. Strategic landscape.” According to the commission, China has a stockpile of around 400 nuclear weapons. It is a sure bet that Mr. Obama’s agreement to reduce American strategic weapons will have no effect on
China’s ongoing program to deploy such weapons. Furthermore, China is clearly the world’s next military superpower.

It is entirely appropriate for President Obama to embark on a “Get to know you” world tour.
It is however, a disservice to our security to trade a large portion of our strategic deterrent for hope.

Sponsored by Sewell Consultancy — “Do more with less.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Sunnie57 permalink
    July 10, 2009 1:35 AM

    Duncan Hunter still looking out for us!

    I could sleep better at nights if Hunter were POTUS. Please run for the U.S. Senate, congressman.

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