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Tragically, Biden continues same nuclear weapons ”modernization” budget as Trump’s

Biden’s Nuclear Weapons Commitments: Dangerous Continuities Tragically, despite widespread high hopes for change, in the existential realm of potentially omnicidal nuclear war preparations, the Biden administration has signaled more continuity than change.

Common Dreams, JOSEPH GERSONSeptember 18, 2021   ”…………………………….. The sad and dangerous truth is that the nuclear weapons budget President Biden submitted to Congress differs little from Trump’s nuclear weapons “modernization” commitments. Despite Biden’s election year and earlier statements that the “sole use” of nuclear weapons that he could imagine was in response to a nuclear attack against the United States, the budget he submitted to Congress includes funding to replace the country’s entire arsenal of first-strike—use them or lose them—ground based ICBMs. So too the budget Congress will be voting on includes funding to produce 80 plutonium pits (the fissile core of a nuclear warhead) per year—each one of which with the destructive capability to devastate cities as large as Shanghai, Karachi and Moscow. Biden and his Pentagon also expect to win funding for the extremely destabilizing “more usable” tactical (roughly Hiroshima sized) B-61-12 bound for Europe, the nuclear air-launched cruise Long Range Standoff Weapon, and new warheads for submarine launched missiles, all designed to hold China hostage to a U.S. first-strike attack. 

What is driving China’s anticipated increase in the size of its nuclear arsenal and fears that it might abandon its no first use doctrine? The answer is those standoff cruise missiles and U.S. missile defenses that are being deployed along China’s periphery that Chinese officials and analysts fear could make first-strike nuclear war fighting attractive to U.S. leaders.

Days prior to the Congressional budget debate and on the eve of the launching of the Biden administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, the Defense Intelligence Agency stoked elite panic with the release of photographs which convincingly demonstrate that Beijing has initiated construction of 250 missile silos for Chinese land-based strategic intercontinental nuclear missiles. 


Yet,former lead U.S. arms control negotiator and Deputy NATO Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller warns that the silo holes being dug in northern China are a simply a “great distraction”.  As an arms controller, he is committed to nuclear deterrence and strategic stability and unwilling to press for what Noam Chomsky calls the “obvious solution” to the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons: “getting rid of them.”  She is willing to concede that China’s nuclear buildup is designed to reinforce its “second strike deterrence posture”, which is threatened by U.S. nuclear and missile defense forces. Rather than panicking and wasting limited U.S. resources, she urges policymakers to remember that even if China quadruples the size of its nuclear arsenal by placing an ICBM armed with multiple warheads in each of those silos, it will still have fewer nuclear weapons than the United States or Russia. She urges lawmakers to focus on economic and technological competition and not to be panicked into funding the Pentagon’s wish list of Strangelovian nuclear weapons     former lead U.S. arms control negotiator and Deputy NATO Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller warns that the silo holes being dug in northern China are a simply a “great distraction”.  As an arms controller, he is committed to nuclear deterrence and strategic stability and unwilling to press for what Noam Chomsky calls the “obvious solution” to the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons: “getting rid of them.”  She is willing to concede that China’s nuclear buildup is designed to reinforce its “second strike deterrence posture”, which is threatened by U.S. nuclear and missile defense forces. Rather than panicking and wasting limited U.S. resources, she urges policymakers to remember that even if China quadruples the size of its nuclear arsenal by placing an ICBM armed with multiple warheads in each of those silos, it will still have fewer nuclear weapons than the United States or Russia. She urges lawmakers to focus on economic and technological competition and not to be panicked into funding the Pentagon’s wish list of Strangelovian nuclear weapons  former lead U.S. arms control negotiator and Deputy NATO Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller warns that the silo holes being dug in northern China are a simply a “great distraction”.  As an arms controller, he is committed to nuclear deterrence and strategic stability and unwilling to press for what Noam Chomsky calls the “obvious solution” to the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons: “getting rid of them.”  She is willing to concede that China’s nuclear buildup is designed to reinforce its “second strike deterrence posture”, which is threatened by U.S. nuclear and missile defense forces. Rather than panicking and wasting limited U.S. resources, she urges policymakers to remember that even if China quadruples the size of its nuclear arsenal by placing an ICBM armed with multiple warheads in each of those silos, it will still have fewer nuclear weapons than the United States or Russia. She urges lawmakers to focus on economic and technological competition and not to be panicked into funding the Pentagon’s wish list of Strangelovian nuclear weapons.

At the policy making level there are four theaters of political struggle: 1) Congress and its debates over Biden’s $634 ten-year nuclear weapons funding proposal and No First Use legislation; 2) the Biden administration’s Nuclear Posture Review; 3) January’s Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the U.N., and 4) the March 2022 governmental First Meeting of States Parties of the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in Geneva.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has called out the Biden administration for failing to propose a nuclear weapons spending that “does not reflect your longstanding efforts to reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons.” They oppose funding for new submarine launched nuclear warheads, to maintain the B83 gravity bombs with an explosive yield of up to 100 times the Hiroshima A-bomb, and for the Long-Range Standoff Weapon described above. And, while not calling for the total elimination of first-strike land-based ICBMs, they oppose funding for the creation of a new generation of these omnicidal weapons. They also urge that the Biden Nuclear Posture Review, which will be conducted with little public or Congressional input by the Pentagon and senior administration “national security” officials, mandate reduction of the nation’s reliance on nuclear weapons. 

Internationally, pressure for nuclear weapons abolition will manifest itself at the NPT Review Conference and TPNW First Meeting early in the new year. With the world’s nuclear powers upgrading, and in many cases expanding,  their nuclear arsenals, there is little hope that progress will be made to fulfill the nuclear powers’ Article VI Treaty commitment to engaging in good faith negotiations for the complete elimination of their nuclear arsenals. And, with the Biden administration’s embrace of Israel’s new right-wing (and racist) government, it is unlikely that it will voice support for or take action to implement Washington’s earlier NPT commitment to co-convene an international conference for the creation of a Middle East Nuclear and WMD-Free Zone.  

Dim as prospects are for a successful NPT Review, it remains important for activists and international civil society to press as hard as we can for the full implementation of this seminally important treaty. Silence, being consent, would leave the nuclear powers with an open field. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/09/18/bidens-nuclear-weapons-commitments-dangerous-continuities

September 21, 2021 - Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war

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