Apr 7, 2009

Obama's nuclear nonproliferation plan heralds changes for DOE labs

By KATHERINE LING, Greenwire

President Obama's plans for reducing the U.S. stockpile of nuclear weapons and production of fissile materials signal changes ahead for the nation's nuclear strategy and weapons labs.

"The basic bargain is sound: Countries with nuclear weapons will move toward disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them, and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy," Obama said in a speech yesterday in Prague.

"If we are serious about stopping the spread of these weapons, then we should put an end to the dedicated production of weapons-grade materials that create them. That's the first step."

While much of the speech pointed to long-term goals, Obama said that in four years he aims to safeguard currently unsecured radioactive material on black markets through better detection of materials in transit and through "financial tools."

Obama particularly highlighted the U.S.-Russia collaboration, urging its expansion as well as the creation of new partnerships and higher standards. In a meeting last week, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said they will begin negotiations in July to further reduce both nations' nuclear weapons stockpiles.

To further his goal, Obama said he will seek to "strengthen" the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by providing resources for international inspections and establishing "real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules or trying to leave the treaty without cause." He will also boost support for the nation's Proliferation Security Initiative and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism to make them into "durable international institutions." Obama's blueprint budget released in February shows an increase in funds for nonproliferation programs.

Obama also said he plans to host a global summit on nuclear security within the next year.

Obama said he will "aggressively" push for the Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which bans the testing of nuclear weapons. The United States has not tested a nuclear weapon since 1993 and has signed the treaty but has yet to ratify it, along with China, North Korea, Pakistan and several other countries.

Laura Holgate, vice president for Russia/new independent states programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, said Obama's commitment and focus on nuclear nonproliferation should turn nonproliferation initiatives from an ad hoc effort to "more institutionalized mechanisms for nonproliferation."

As for Obama's four-year goal on securing nuclear material, Holgate said it will be "tough" but worthy.

"There is a lot to be done, unfortunately," Holgate said. "I think there has been a lot of damage done to the U.S. stature in the world. I think we need to repair that damage. It's a lofty goal, a worthy one, [and] certainly a goal the U.S. cannot accomplish on its own."

DOE impact

All of these goals will have serious consequences for the Energy Department's nuclear weapons labs, which have been the subject of intense debate recently.

DOE's nuclear weapons programs -- including nonproliferation -- received $9 billion in funds for the past two years, which is about one-third of the department's budget. Almost two-thirds of the budget is used to maintain the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile.

Efforts to shrink the weapons stockpile or Obama's decision to cancel work on the advanced nuclear weapon known as the "reliable replacement warhead" in his recent budget puts into question NNSA's size and budget for the future, said Philip Coyle, a senior adviser at the World Security Institute and a former top official for nuclear operations and testing in the Defense Department.

"Assumptions made about how many nuclear warheads might be produced in the future are key to sizing the NNSA production complex for the future," Coyle said at a recent congressional hearing. "Now that the Obama administration has made a decision to halt the RRW, the production workload for complex transformation can be cut in half," he said.

A small nuclear weapons stockpile will mean less work and less funding for the nation's laboratories -- an alarming scenario for the labs' thousands of scientists and other workers in places like New Mexico, California, Nevada, Tennessee and Idaho. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has said laying off the scientists in the labs could potentially be a national security threat, as scientists could be tempted to seek employment elsewhere.

The changing role of the labs and DOE's focus on renewable energy and technology have also prompted calls for a transfer of the nuclear weapons responsibility to the Defense Department or an independent entity. The Office of Management and Budget directed DOE, DOD and the National Nuclear Security Administration -- the independent agency under DOE that manages the nuclear stockpile -- to review such a move and report their findings in a report by September.

Lawmakers have been asking the administration to hold off on making any major decisions about the nuclear weapons labs until Obama officially releases his "nuclear posture review" in January 2010 -- although this could be a strong indication of what that report will find. They have also been emphasizing a lot of the other missions the labs work on, including nonproliferation and forensics (E&ENews PM, March 30).

Nuclear energy

Obama also emphasized that all countries that renounce nuclear weapons should have access to peaceful nuclear energy, listing the fight against global warming alongside the need to reduce nuclear weapons.

"We must harness the power of nuclear energy on behalf of our efforts to combat climate change and to advance peace opportunity for all people," Obama said.

The world must create an international fuel bank so counties can get fuel without having to enrich uranium themselves -- a road that could lead to the capacity to create nuclear weapons, Obama said. Obama introduced legislation supporting such a bank when he was a senator. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently achieved a $100 million financial benchmark laid out by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which will match it with $50 million contribution (E&ENews PM, March 6).

The United Arab Emirates has been praised for its decision to move forward with a civil nuclear program by promising not to seek enrichment capabilities. President George W. Bush signed a civil nuclear agreement with the country last year but did not submit it to the Senate. The Obama administration is still considering the agreement.

But others are concerned about the two dozen countries previously without a reactor currently showing interest in nuclear power, including Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

"real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules or trying to leave the treaty without cause."

Yes, we're going to scowl sternly at them and run to the UN Security Council.

"The world must create an international fuel bank so counties can get fuel without having to enrich uranium themselves -- a road that could lead to the capacity to create nuclear weapons, Obama said."

Say what? Didn't your administration just kill GNEP?

Anonymous said...

"Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has said laying off the scientists in the labs could potentially be a national security threat, as scientists could be tempted to seek employment elsewhere."

Better tell the Prez not to shut down Gitmo after all.

Anonymous said...

"A small nuclear weapons stockpile will mean less work and less funding for the nation's laboratories -- an alarming scenario for the labs..." - Smaller stockpile means less work? Really? I would tend to believe that a considerable amount of re-occurring costs would still be required regardless of the size of the stockpile. So we'll just go tell those countries breaking the nuclear arms treaty to stop doing it and they'll stop right? I'm sorry, I don't think Obama's words have that much power.

Anonymous said...

Geez, 5:04 give it a break. Your hysterical right-wing wailing must sound a little ridiculous, even to you.

To most of the rest of us its just irritating. Your lab's mission is quickly eroding. Deal with it and move on.

Anonymous said...

And so did Saturn get crushed

Not by being physically crushed as were GM's original electric cars, but rather by a large bumbling, inefficient , corrupt bureaucracy.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/192458/page/1

Yes, there is more than a passing resemblance to DOE and LANL.

Anonymous said...

"The basic bargain is sound: Countries with nuclear weapons will move toward disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them, and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy," Obama said in a speech Countries with nuclear weapons will move toward disarmamentyesterday in Prague.

"Countries with nuclear weapons will move toward disarmament"

Dear Mr. Obama- Israel is surrounded by countries that call for its annihilation. The bargain is not sound and they must think you a fool as do many Americans.

Anonymous said...

"countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them..."

Mr. President is this before or after North Korea & Iran acquires nuclear weapons?

Anonymous said...

Geez, 5:29 give it a break. Your hysterical right-wing wailing must sound a little ridiculous, even to you.

To most of the rest of us its just irritating. Your lab's mission is quickly eroding. Deal with it and move on.

Anonymous said...

Neville Chamberlain was forced to resign for his failed attempt at appeasement. Should America suffer another terrorist attack Mr. Obama might discover how quickly his prose turns to treason.


But, on second thought, why would terrorist want to attach America with this fool as our president. Could this be his real strategy?

Anonymous said...

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has said laying off the scientists in the labs could potentially be a national security threat, as scientists could be tempted to seek employment elsewhere.

Feinstein thinks we're all latent traitors...we just have to get RIF'ed and we'll all be lining up to sell secrets!

God what an idiot. Is there anyone in Congress who isn't an idiot?

Why do we keep voting for idiots?

Anonymous said...

6:22pm, give it a break. Your hysteria, is; how shall we put this?

Unbecoming.


Main Entry:
un·be·com·ing f unbecoming
Pronunciation:
\ˌən-bi-ˈkə-miŋ\
Function:
adjective
Date:
1598

: not becoming {an unbecoming dress}; especially : not according with the standards appropriate to one's position or condition of life {unbecoming conduct}
synonyms see indecorous


Your writing is atrocious. Your arguments are sophomoric. Your reasoning power is clearly limited.

You must be a retired LANL weaponeer. I suppose next we will next be hearing from you about how Obama is going to take your guns away.

What does it take for you to be embarrassed by your own behavior?

Consider just going away.

Anonymous said...

6:36, just a wild guess, here: We're all idiots?

Anonymous said...

6:54 your obama is showing.

Anonymous said...

Actually not, 7:41.

I despise the Democrats and the Republicans equally.

Anonymous said...

So liberals have taken to calling all opposition or disagreement "right wing hysteria." I still believe the only chance this country has for survival rests on the fact that the left wing doesn't (currently) believe in guns.

Anonymous said...

"But others are concerned about the two dozen countries previously without a reactor currently showing interest in nuclear power, including Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela."

LOL, why not? Obama wants to give them billions $$$. Hell, our entire nuclear weapons budget in NNSA is only $6 bil. Our congress spills this much every week.

It's not about the $$$ it's about his agenda.

Anonymous said...

The left wing of the Democratic party has a special hatred in their heart for the US nuclear weapons complex. If you have ever seen Sen. Feinstein talk about the weapons complex, you'll instantly notice that she can barely hide her disgust. Get ready to see these bitter feelings played out through an evisceration of the NNSA's budget over the next four years.

At one point, it appeared that the NNSA labs might get a big increase in non-proliferation funding to help make up for upcoming weapon budget cuts. It now appears that this money will largely be handed over to Ms. Clinton at the State Department. The only big boost in funding at LANL will be for cleanup operations in preparation for the eventual shut down of the lab.

Anonymous said...

An effective approach to nuclear nonproliferation requires intimate knowledge of nuclear weapons. Knowledge of not only stockpile weapons but also an understanding of unconventional, improvised devices; knowledge of materials of construction, SNM masses and configurations, and weapon signatures. Information only possesed by DOE/NNSA.

Nonproliferation requires understanding nuclear material production, nuclear security, and nuclear safeguards; all are specialty disciplines that exist only in DOE/NNSA.

Nonproliferation requires knowledge of uranium enrichment, plutonium reprocessing, and nuclear reactors; again housed only in DOE/NNSA.

Nonproliferation requires an intimate understanding of radiation detection, radiography, and threat identification; disciplines that exist only in NNSA/DOE and DNDO/DHS.

Realistically the only organization that can effectively carry out the nonproliferation mission is NNSA and the weapons labs, especially LANL and LLNL. It would be total folly to put nonproliferation under the State Department.

Too bad Anastasio isn't vigorously supporting a planned mission redirection to nonproliferation. Instead he seems to be pinning LANL's future on Terry Wallace, a geophysist and former mineral museum curator, who seems to believe that LANL can be saved by securing massive funding for the (apparantly missionless) MARIE facility.

Anonymous said...

7:37,

You seem to be laboring under the misconception that LANL's mission matters to LANS.

It does not -- LANS takes home its $79 million annual award fee each and every year, based solely on how well it met its PBIs, not on the msiion of the lab.

The lab has had one and only one mission since June, 2006: maximize the annual award fee to the LLC.

Mission does not matter. Workforce downsizing does not matter. Meeting the contract PBI metrics is the only thing that matters to LANL's management team.

This must be a difficult concept for LANL staff to grasp. As an aside, are you all still glad that "UC won the contract?"

Anonymous said...

4/7/09 5:29 PM

Don't you mean "a few Americans"?

Anonymous said...

4/7/09 6:22 PM

You are a blow hard who can't get over the fact that the majority of Americans gave McCain the boot. That is just the way it is, get over it already.

Anonymous said...

Pretty clear on that 7:49 - it's why I sold my house in 2006 before LANS took over.

Anonymous said...

4/7/09 6:36 PM

Did you vote? You can figure the rest out on your own.

Anonymous said...

4/7/09 7:54 PM

Typical conservative cover story.

Anonymous said...

4/7/09 8:14 PM

Your wrong. I have a strong belief in guns. I pray to my Glock which I keep under my pillow every night as good conservative should.

Anonymous said...

4/7/09 8:42 PM

Your confused. Read a newspaper.

Anonymous said...

8:28,

No, yor confused, you stupid fucking illiterate prick.

Anonymous said...

The writing is on the wall, again, if any of you "really-smart" guys have any brains left you would be out of here and on to a much brighter future. The remaining "dead-enders" are living on hope, this place is being run into the ground by both the Congress and our management. If you are under 45 yrs. old and hoping to have a job with-in the next few years, then try the lottery, your chances are much better.

Anonymous said...

8:36 am: So angry, and it's still so early in the day. You must be a real joy to be around in the evening.

Anonymous said...

Nuclear weapons will be condemned in the next few years, the Dem's will make this the most dangerous luxury any country can have. They are going to criticize every aspect, of the Nuclear Weapons program, from the environmental to the destructive, and all point in between. And they have the ammunition to do it, in large part due to LANL.

Anonymous said...

If LANL downsizes, the local NNSA office will also probably downsize. This is really concerning. Our society is not ready for a bus load of "D" students looking for jobs. Better just keep LANL as they are. It's really in society's best interest.

Anonymous said...

"Meeting the contract PBI metrics is the only thing that matters to LANL's management team." - 7:49 AM

How true! This is something that has been made abundantly clear to my fellow staff members during our group meetings over this last year.

Our GL has been told to forcefully bring home the message that the PBIs are *EVERYTHING* at LANL. Nothing else really matters. This message comes straight from the top.

PBIs = LANS profits and annual executive bonus payments. If you get in the way of this money-making machine for the fat cats, you will be removed.

Anonymous said...

The Great Appeaser is at work:

http://www.nypost.com/seven/
04082009/postopinion/
opedcolumnists/
os_amateur_hour_163368.htm

O'S AMATEUR HOUR
APPEASING ISLAMISTS IN TURKEY - NY POST

Obama means well. Just as Jimmy Carter, his policy godfather, meant well. But the road to embassy takeovers and strategic humiliation is paved with good intentions -- coupled with distressing naivete.

On every stage, Obama draped Lady Liberty in sackcloth and ashes, drawing plentiful applause but no serious economic or security cooperation in return. Then, in Turkey, he surrendered our national pride, undercut our interests and interfered in matters that aren't his business.

Which brings us to the even bigger problem: Obama has no idea what's going on in Turkey. By going to Ankara on his knees, he gave his seal of approval to a pungently anti-American Islamist government bent on overturning Mustapha Kemal's legacy of the separation of mosque and state.

Anonymous said...

Your right, 10:49, your right.

Signed, (obviously by) Another Confused, Stupid Fucking Illiterate Prick.

John said...

4/7/09 6:36 PM

I suggest you rent the movie "Idiocracy" for an answer to your question. It's kind of a 26th-century mockumentary. There is even a black president, too. It was made by a fellow from Albuquerque who majored in physics at UCSD, then got smart, lucky, and rich making TV shows and movies.

Anonymous said...

Turn out the lights....So you want a future at LANL eh boy? Go South young man....that's where the action will be. LANL is now officially just a part of the cold war history.

Anonymous said...

"If LANL downsizes, the local NNSA office will also probably downsize. This is really concerning. Our society is not ready for a bus load of "D" students looking for jobs. Better just keep LANL as they are. It's really in society's best interest."
4/8/09 11:57 AM

I understand your concern but, did you not read about the Stimulus Plan? - the Federal Government is hiring 10's of thousands of new employees. More Government is the answer to the excess of "D" students.

Anonymous said...

If you thought LANL was about to get a bunch of non-proliferation funding to help ease the pain from the upcoming NNSA weapons budget cuts, better think again.

That extra money is likely going to Ms. Clinton in the State Department according to this Boston Globe article. Go figure?

www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/
articles/2009/04/08/
biden_to_oversee_administrations
_nuclear_nonproliferation_effort/

-------
Biden to oversee administration's nuclear nonproliferation effort

- Bostom Globe, April 8, '09

WASHINGTON - Vice President Joseph Biden has been put in charge of the administration's nuclear nonproliferation agenda, including President Obama's goal of securing vulnerable nuclear material around the world over the next four years, and efforts to persuade Congress to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which would ban new nuclear explosions.

"As a measure of the president's continuing commitment to this vital nonproliferation agenda, he has asked for Vice President Joe Biden's help to lead the administration's nonproliferation efforts," James Steinberg, the deputy secretary of state, told a packed luncheon of diplomats and nonproliferation specialists Monday at a conference sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington-based think tank.

...Steinberg suggested that current efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear material in the former Soviet Union will be expanded to cover the entire world.

"More needs to be done on an urgent basis" to lock down nuclear materials around the world that terrorists might be able to get their hands on, he said. "The job must be completed."

Steinberg suggested that the State Department's arms control bureaucracy might increase, while the multibillion-dollar budgets of Los Alamos National Laboratory and other nuclear labs could shrink.

Anonymous said...

Want to Downsize the Nuke Stockpile? Here's One Idea

(Wired Magazine, April 8, 2009)

...It's more than just a numbers game. The size of the arsenal -- the total number of deployed warheads, plus those in storage or in reserve -- will have a major impact on the size of the U.S. nuclear complex. The Nuclear Weapons Complex Consolidation Policy Network, a group that includes the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Project on Government Oversight, wants to see a substantially smaller footprint for the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. It will release a study tomorrow that advocates a nuclear weapons stockpile of 500 warheads -- and a complex downsized from eight to three sites by 2025.

...But the report also takes things further, recommending a total de-alerting of nuclear forces over time and drastic reduction in nuclear weapons design activity.

...This is shaping up as a big week for the arms control crowd. Experts are descending on Washington for the 2009 Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference, the Coachella for arms control. And sometime very soon, the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States will issue a sweeping review of nuclear weapons policy, strategy and force structure. When that report lands on the president's desk, the authors of this alternative study are hoping the administration will take note of their recommendations as well.

Anonymous said...

"As a measure of the president's continuing commitment to this vital nonproliferation agenda, he has asked for Vice President Joe Biden's help to lead the administration's nonproliferation efforts,..."

Without nukes, India & Pakistan would have already destroyed each other.

As for Non-Proliferation treaties and its imposed penalties - We can't even verify the existence of nukes in N. Korea or Iran. Israel destroyed a Syrian nuke reactor that much of the world never knew existed or acknowledged existed.

Anonymous said...

According to Frank Munger (Knoxville News), Dr. Chu is coming to town. I don't recall LANL even mentioning this upcoming visit.

....
Secretary Chu's visit to New Mexico

According to Dept. of Energy announcement, Energy Secretary Steven Chu will visit Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs in New Mexico on Thursday and Friday.

blogs.knoxnews.com/
knx/munger/2009/04
/secretary_chus_visit_
to_new_me.html

Anonymous said...

Neither the Democrats nor Republicans are willing to admit that the entire concept of nuclear nonproliferation has been an abject failure. The NNP believers just keep lowering the bar every time a new country indicates it has or wants nukes. What a joke, and what a scam on the American taxpayer. And now many at LANL are salivating at the prospect of turning their weapon design expertise into NNP funding. It's time to pull the plug on this pipe dream and deal with reality. Figure out how to live in a nuclear-armed world, since it effectively already exists.

Anonymous said...

"10's of thousands"

Apparently you've got a few things to work on before you'll qualify.

Anonymous said...

4/8/09 9:50 PM

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy famously predicted that "by 1970, there may be 10 nuclear powers instead of four and, by 1975, 15 or 20." Today, there are just 8. Why?

The single most significant factor that slowed the spread of nuclear weapons has been the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968. Had the trend of 1962 continued, with states building nuclear arsenals as they acquired the technical capability to do so, Kennedy's prediction would have proved correct.

JFK's purpose in stating his provocative forecast was not fatalism. Rather, he sought to mobilize actions to prevent that result. He initiated negotiations that led to an array of arms-control agreements, including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

That treaty struck a bargain: In return for other states forswearing nuclear weapons, the five original nuclear-weapons states pledged to share the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology with non-nuclear weapons states and to reduce their arsenals toward zero. Thanks to the nonproliferation regime, 183 nations today, including 40 that have the technical capability to build nuclear bombs, have renounced them.

- From a op-ed by Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Harvard Kennedy School of Government. "Buffett's Gamble Tips the Odds Toward Nuclear Nonproliferation." Omaha World-Herald, December 31, 2006.

Oh and what is Buffett;s gamble? "...Enter Warren Buffett. At a special meeting of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last July (2006), former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn put Buffett's check for $50 million on the table and challenged other countries to match it with $100 million. Buffett's purpose was to catalyze creation of a stockpile of nuclear fuel owned and controlled by the IAEA. This "fuel reserve of last resort" would be the capstone of a multilayered insurance framework that would give states in compliance with NPT obligations the ability to buy fuel for reactors. These guarantees would expose the economic irrationality of a nation's choice to produce its own enriched fuel rather than buy it - since the cost of indigenous production is more than five times market prices."

-----

So has the "concept of nuclear nonproliferation has been an abject failure"?

What do you think our world of 2009 would look like if the NPT had not been signed and JFK's 1962 prediction been accurate? 40 Counties with nuclear weapons? Talk about a scary world.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me Kennedy was exaggerating and made an inept prediction.

Anonymous said...

7:00 am: "In 1962, President John F. Kennedy famously predicted that "by 1970, there may be 10 nuclear powers instead of four and, by 1975, 15 or 20." Today, there are just 8. Why?"

This is classic misdirection and rhetorical subterfuge. Kennedy's prediction is irrelevent to the argument. You could as well argue that if the NNT had been successful, the line would have held at the original (in 1968) 5 nuclear powers. BTW, your count is a little off, I count 9, and I think you have to also include the countries that had successful programs but dropped them. They still have the expertise if they need it. Not to mention the "undeclared" (wink, wink) nuclear powers, and the ones such as Iran where NNP has already failed.

Anonymous said...

I fear a world with 1000 nuclear weapons much more than a world with 10,000. A world with 10 in the wrong hands is the worst scenario of all.

Anonymous said...

A Nuclear-Free world, and a Gun-Free US, this is viewed as freedom by Obama for US, and her citizens. In reality, it is surrender US as a superpower, and let the citizens of US to become defenseless towards the government.

And finally; This idea of US denuclearization defense policy, with the utopic idea of zero nukes in the world, is the worst kind of 12 year old leftist idealism, which would threaten US national security, and put Americans at the mercy of sworn enemies of US, therefore: Say No To A Nuclear-Free World.

Anonymous said...

"12 year old leftist idealism"...interesting. I wonder what a five year old would have to say about your musings? Why don't you ask one and get back to us with the answer?

Anonymous said...

Can someone list Berkeley's achievements while Chu was at the helm? I can't find anything substantial.

Anonymous said...

4/9 11:52 pm: "Say No To A Nuclear-Free World."

Agreed. You can say "no" to nukes all you want, but the world is one that is and will continue to be dominated by nuclear powers. The only relevant question is whether the US will continue to be one of them or will unilaterally disarm and therefore become a second-rate state subjugated by others. Imagine a nuclear-armed Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran, in a conflict with non-nuclear US, UK, and France. End of Western civilization. A goal probably cherished by some in this country.

Oh, I forgot, Obama will convince everyone else to give them up, too.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot, Obama will convince everyone else to give them up, too.

4/10/09 8:25 PM

Yeah, but Obama can't even handle a bunch of dirt-poor pirates off the coast of Somalia, much less our more potent enemies. National security under this administration is becoming a joke and our enemies are taking notice.

Anonymous said...

In defense of US nuclear weapons and missile defense:

From The Fox Forum:

James P. Pinkerton

April 10th, 2009 9:23 PM Eastern

Obama Is Dead Wrong on Nuclear Weapons

President Obama can overspend, overtax, over-regulate, and over cap-and-trade, and yet America will undoubtely survive. We might be worse off - probably will be worse off - but our Republic will endure.

But if Obama-or any other president-mishandles national security badly enough, well, that could be the end of our country.

Which brings me to my point: Obama is dangerously dead wrong on the issue of nuclear weapons, specifically, his goal of, "a world without nuclear weapons."

What America needs, of course, is defense against nuclear weapons, in addition to nuclear deterrent. Nuclear weapons are dangerous if they can be delivered to one´s own soil, by missile attack or by terrorist stealth. Such dangers are a great argument for missile defense, and for increased homeland security and counter-terrorism measures.

As he said in Prague last Sunday, Obama wants to see the United States abolish its nuclear weapons - also known as our nuclear deterrent - while all the other countries do the same. This goal of Obama´s is worse than foolish, it is reckless.

Obama can dream of a world without nuclear weapons, but it is not a good idea in the real world.

In a world without nuclear weapons, how would we defend ourselves against conventional weapons? America needed 16 million men and women in uniform-more than a tenth of the total population-to win World War Two, before we figured out how to end the war with Japan quickly. thanks to the atom bomb. Today, China has 1.3 billion people and a swelling military, and the Obama administration wants to cut our conventional war-fighting capability, by eliminating "costly" weapons systems. Yes, defense is costly-but defeat is more costly. And now he talks about eliminating nuclear weapons. Yet without the best conventional weapons, and without nukes, what would we use to stop a potential Chinese attack? Counter-insurgency tactics? A surge? Please.

More on the point, there is no evidence-none whatsoever-that other countries would abide by such a treaty. To put it bluntly, even if they signed Obama´s no-nukes deal, they would cheat, or else develop some new category of weapon-of-mass-destruction not covered by the treaty.

And for good reason: How else could tiny Israel defend itself against Arabs and Iranians over the long run? How else could Pakistan survive against India, with seven times the population? A hundred other countries would find themselves in similarly perilous situations, now and at any time in the future. Who are they going to call for help? President Obama? No, they will call upon themselves, and their own resourcefulness.

That´s cold realism, the hard-earned wisdom of international politics in a dangerous world. But for his part, Obama will have none of that. Speaking in Prague, a city liberated from communism two decades ago, the President said, "We are here today because enough people ignored the voices who told them that the world could change."

So, you see, the people, united, will never be defeated. A relatively decent Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, didn´t have the stomach to massacre the Czechs as the peacefully demanded their freedom, back in 1989-so that´s now the template for the future.

Well, other leaders, still alive today-from Zimbabwe to Syria to China-would not hesitate to machine-gun peaceful protestors, and then machine-gun the protestors´families, too, just to be on the safe side. And as one robin does not make a spring, one decaying totalitarian regime does not indicate that all totalitarians have given up their desire for control. To such dictators nuclear weapons are simply one more useful tool for control.

But if Obama has his politics wrong, he also has his history wrong. He began his anti-nuclear argument in Prague by asserting, "The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War." The planted assumption there, of course, is that since the Cold War has gone away, then nuclear weapons, too, can go away. As Obama put it, "Today, the Cold War has disappeared but thousands of those weapons have not." But of course, the development of nuclear weapons preceded the Cold War. Even before World War II, Nazi Germany had an active nuclear program, which continued almost to the end of the fighting in 1945. And plenty of countries played little or no part in the Cold War have sought, and found-or will find-nuclear weapons. Why? Because they have their own conflicts to worry about. And they always will.

Obama attempted to address such criticism:

Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be stopped, cannot be checked--that we are destined to live in a world where more nations and more people possess the ultimate tools of destruction. Such a fatalism is a deadly adversary, for if we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then in some way we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable.

Well, yes, that about sums it up. The use of nuclear weapons, somewhere, is inevitable, because every weapon eventually gets used. Why? Pick your explanation: This is the real world. Man is fallen. Murphy´s Law. You-know-what happens. That´s not fatalism, that´s realism.

The task of the statesman is to look seriously at the real world and figure out what is possible. With his hand on the tiller, the helmsman of a ship of state can dream of a world without storms, or icebergs, or rocky shores, or enemy ships-but he would be foolish to do so. And so he charts a safe course, mindful of all dangers.

And in such a dangerous environment, cheer lines will not suffice. And yet cheer lines are exactly what we get from Obama. Here are more words from the President´s speech, including the White House´s chronicling of the crowd reaction:

Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century. (Applause.)

Yes, we must always be for what´s right and good. (Applause.)

But wait, there´s more:

So today, I state clearly and with conviction America´s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. (Applause.)

And now more:

But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, "Yes, we can." (Applause.)

Got that? Yes, we can. A polital slogan, used to win an election in a peaceful, stable democracy is now supposed to become operative policy for a dangerous world that has no desire to disarm.

Obama laid out steps to be taken, starting with the need "to put an end to Cold War thinking." That was a revealing choice of words, demonstrating that his policy is premised on high-minded sentiments-which he wants to get credit for-as opposed to realistic assessment. Then Obama promised to negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty with the Russians this year. Well, excuse me, but is there any evidence that the Russians are interested in helping us in least little bit? They are helping the Iranians build their nuclear weapons program, and they just joined with the Chinese to block a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the recent North Korean missile launch.

Obama continued, calling for "strengthening" the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. You know about that treaty, which went into effect in 1970, thereby stopping India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel from developing nuclear weapons. Oops. Never mind.

What America needs, of course, is defense against nuclear weapons, in addition to nuclear deterrent. Nuclear weapons are dangerous if they can be delivered to one´s own soil, by missile attack or by terrorist stealth. Such dangers are a great argument for missile defense, and for increased homeland security and counter-terrorism measures.

Unfortunately, those were not the cheerlines heard in Prague. And so America will be put more at risk over the next four years, as President Obama, neglecting realistic defense, pursues a wrong-headed pipedream.

(http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2009/04/10/pinkerton_disarmament_obama/)

PS: I agree in the remarks by James P. Pinkerton.

Anonymous said...

Obama's unilateral US disarmament thrust will start by starving funds for the NNSA research labs. The plan will be designed to make sure no one left in the US knows much about building or even maintaining a nuke. Kill it in the crib, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

PS: I agree in the remarks by James P. Pinkerton.

who is Pinkerton?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but Obama can't even handle a bunch of dirt-poor pirates off the coast of Somalia, much less our more potent enemies.

Capped all three. What do you say now dirt bag?

Anonymous said...

4:13 11:08 pm: "Capped all three. What do you say now dirt bag?"

Obama didn't do it. He only did what any other President would have done (except maybe Jimmy Carter): He authorized it if it became possible. No kudos due there, just routine. Kudos for the SEALs, definitely.