The Bush Administration
Lowering the Nuclear Threshold

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"...Historian and Kennedy-era political adviser Arthur Schlesinger Jr., put it more flamboyantly. Looking back over the 40 years of the Cold War," he wrote in The New York Review Of Books, "we can be everlastingly grateful that the loonies on both sides were powerless. In 2003, however, they run the Pentagon, and preventive war - the Bush doctrine- is now official policy." -"Armageddon Back on the Table- U.S. ratchets up debate on `usable' nuclear weapons: Critics fear fallout from Bush cadre's pro-nuke strategy," by Olivia Ward

Comparison of Department of Defense (DOD) January 9, 2002 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) & Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) Alternative NPR Review; See also:
Helen Caldicott CSPAN Interview: The Truth About American Foreign Policy & the Dangers of Nuclear War; PNAC's Present Danger as a Blueprint for Bush Doctrine ; U.S. Rearms While Telling Others To Disarm by Helen Thomas & Armageddon Back on the Table U.S. ratchets up debate on `usable' nuclear weapons: Critics fear fallout from Bush cadre's pro-nuke strategy by Olivia Ward
 
Union of Concerned Scientists NPR Bush Administration (DOD) NPR
Declare that the sole purpose of US nuclear weapons is to deter and, if necessary, respond to the use of nuclear weapons by another country.

Promptly and unilaterally retire all US tactical nuclear weapons, dismantling them in a transparent manner. In addition, the United States would take steps to induce Russia to do the same.

Synergy of nuclear/non-nuclear offense/defense.

Nuclear planning:
bulletCapabilities based
bulletGreat flexibility for range of contingencies
bulletUnilateral reductions preserve flexibility, transparency.
 
An LA Times 3/10 article, entitled "Secret Plan Outlines the Unthinkable," by William Arkin, outlines details, previously unreleased to the public, on what "greater flexibility for a range of contingencies," may entail.

"...Development of new nuclear weapons that reduce "collateral damage," "that could be employed against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack, or in retaliation for the use of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, or in the event of surprising military developments.""

"...Planning nuclear-strike capabilities involves the recognition of "immediate, potential or unexpected" contingencies. North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya are named as countries that "could be involved" in all three kinds of threat.

"...China, because of its nuclear forces and "developing strategic objectives," is listed as a country that could be involved in an immediate or potential contingency.

"...Cyber-warfare and other non-nuclear military capabilities would be integrated into nuclear-strike forces to make them more all-encompassing."

"...Incorporation of "nuclear capability" into many of the conventional systems now under development."

According to Arkin, a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, "..The NPR's call for the development of new weapons that reduce "collateral damage" myopically ignores the political, moral and military implications- short and long term- of crossing the nuclear threshold."

Reject rapid-launch options, and change its deployment practices to provide for the launch of US nuclear forces in hours or days rather than minutes.

Replace its reliance on pre-set targeting plans with the capability to promptly develop a response tailored to the situation if nuclear weapons are used against the United States, its armed forces, or its allies.

Capabilities based approach. Active defense and non-nuclear capabilities. Effectiveness depends upon command and control (C2), intelligence and adaptive planning. Place greater emphasis on advanced conventional weapons. Transition to a capabilities approach recognizes that the logic of international competition today is not with whom to compete, e.g., the Russians, or even with what to complete, but how to complete against a global array of threats.
Unilaterally reduce its nuclear arsenal to a total of 1,000 warheads, including deployed, spare, and reserve warheads. To encourage Russia to reciprocate, the United States could make the endpoint of its dismantlement process dependent on Russia's response.

Announce its commitment to further reductions in the number of nuclear weapons, on a negotiated and verified multilateral basis.

Reaffirm its commitment to pursue nuclear disarmament and present a specific plan for moving toward this goal, in recognition that the universal and verifiable prohibition of nuclear weapons would be in the US national security interest.

End relationship with Russia based on MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction). Deploy the lowest number of nuclear weapons consistent with the security requirements of the U.S. and its' allies. The United States may reduce the number of deployed weapons, but not its total nuclear stockpile. Hence those weapons may be redeployed as deemed fit.

Transition from the Cold War Triad (ICBMs, SLBMs, Bombers) to "New" Triad (Non-nuclear and nuclear strike capabilities, Defenses and Responsive Infrastructure).

Recognize that deployment of a US missile defense system that Russia or China believed could intercept a significant portion of its survivable long-range forces would trigger reactions by these countries that could result in a net decrease in US security. The United States should therefore commit to not deploy any missile defense system that would decrease its overall security in this way. Develop field missile defenses more capable than ABM permits. Deploy limited and effective missile defenses. Robust R&D, Testing and Evaluation program. Explore possibility of nuclear- tipped interceptors. It is unclear whether the current missile defense R&D program is just a testing program or a limited test and deploy program. This begs the question of whether an unproven and minimally tested missile defense program should be relied upon as a reliable part of the US nuclear deterrent.

See: "Physicist blows whistle on US missile defense", Roland Watson, Times Online, 1/3/03:

"The credibility of President Bush’s multibillion-dollar missile defense plans are being questioned by leading scientists after claims that the results of key tests were falsified.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is considering an investigation into accusations that fundamental flaws in the proposed “Son of Star Wars” system have been covered up."

 

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