As if our president hasn’t done enough damage to America by transforming it from a free and prosperous country to one that is debt-crippled and authoritarian, now he has come up with another bone-headed idea. He wants to enhance our security by cutting US nuclear forces by a third. That Obama has proposed this as a bilateral treaty with Russia, leaving out the other big nuclear powers like China, Pakistan and India, betrays a seriously stunted appreciation of the realities of international relations. The proposal is so flaky that it even leaves the impression that it was nothing but a public relations stunt intended to put some shine on Obama’s badly tarnished image.
One thing that interests me is the question of where he got this crazy idea. You can always find utopians in the left-of-center State Department, but I am amazed and disheartened at the thought that our military, too, is riddled with them. Who at the Pentagon gave Obama the idea that we could do away with a huge part of our defense of last resort and still be safe? Who gave him the idea that doing so would still be okay if nobody else in the world goes along? Well, maybe I’m wrong; maybe this inane idea came to Obama’s tiny brain all on its own, like a random electrical impulse. Maybe nobody beyond his innermost circle of ideological tutors encouraged him in this direction. And let’s face it, he doesn’t actually need advisors or advice to plot his course because there is nothing anybody can tell him that he doesn’t already know. There is nobody as smart as he is, as perceptive, as visionary or, let me add, as utterly addled. At the best of times he seems to be living out a grand fantasy where facts and analysis are supplanted by left-wing slogans that serve him in lieu of intelligence.
I’m not overly worried that Obama’s foolish proposal will become reality. He has to get any treaty ratified in the Senate, and to get a treaty for ratification he needs Russia’s cooperation. But there’s the rub. Vladimir Putin, who is smart enough to know there’s no such language as Austrian, is not biting and for very good reasons. First, Moscow doesn’t want a bilateral nuclear treaty, a relic from a bygone era that would ignore the changed world we live in. If there are a dozen nuclear states, no matter the size of their arsenals, they must be part of an agreement or the agreement does nothing but weaken its signatories. Second, the US is suggesting Moscow make major cuts to its nuclear arsenal at the same time we are working on an anti-missile defense that would make it harder for Russia to strike back in the event of a conflict between our two countries. Russia will need more missiles if it has to evade such a defense, not fewer. Third, Russia lives in a dangerous neighborhood and its conventional military has still not recovered from the disasters of the post-Soviet period. This makes Russia’s nuclear weapons, all the more critical to the nation’s security. Finally, Russians are deeply distrustful of US intentions, having watched over the past 20 years as the US repeatedly ran roughshod over such international principles as national sovereignty and the inviolability of borders. Russians are not confident that the US will not at some point decide on regime change in Russia itself.
Still, we can’t exclude the possibility that Obama will plow ahead unilaterally in a desperate bid for global icon status. If Russia won’t play ball, Obama may be prepared to play all by himself. No doubt he thinks that miniaturizing American defense capabilities will convince his formerly adoring public that he is still their golden boy. He may have boasted about his murderous pack of playing cards, he may have gloated at the remote murders of guilty and innocent alike, and he may have authorized surveillance of the entire world, but at heart he’s really a peacenik. Honest.
Let’s face it, this ain’t your Daddy’s nuclear world, it’s a new and even scarier place. For over forty years the US and the USSR faced off around the world in proxy clashes waged by client states and not once did they engage in direct combat or threaten to unleash the nukes. In large measure this was because those with control over the launching of such weapons were rational human beings who understood that whichever side carried out a first strike would shortly be vaporized by the defending state — Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). The certainty of annihilation strongly discouraged both sides from resorting to the use of their nuclear arsenals. Today there are growing numbers of countries that either already possess or are developing nuclear weapons and they are not all led by rational governments or rational leaders. Religious fanatics and tin-pot dictators with short fuses and little to lose are unpredictable. If they have nuclear weapons, there is considerable risk that they will use them, and there are others in the world who are at greater peril from such a threat than either the US or Russia. This is a time when the most prudent course of action is to stay the course and demonstrate steadiness of purpose. Instead our president is rocking the boat, raising the specter of the United States undermining its own security and those of its friends and allies. The result of this recklessness could well be the decision by some of the countries most at risk – countries such as Japan or South Korea – to develop their own nuclear defenses. Thus the end result of Obama’s pipe-dream would be not more world security, but less; not fewer nuclear weapons, but more.
As we have seen repeatedly in the past four and a half years, Obama and his leftist clique don’t like to take no for an answer. If Obama can’t get a treaty with Russia, he could find alternative ways of attaining his goals, step by step, through executive fiat. If he tries that, I am hopeful that he will learn a lesson he won’t forget. As paralyzed as we have become in the USA, as numbed as we are by the ceaseless assault on our rights, we have not yet reached the stage of sheepishness that characterized other nations that fell to tyranny. I’m pretty sure that if the Big O tries to bring the US to its knees by gutting our nuclear defense, if he tries to leave us vulnerable before the world’s bad actors (and I’m not talking about Hollywood), he’s going meet his Waterloo. And it will be right here at home.