Disarming America: The U.S. has announced plans to place 50 nuclear missiles in storage as part of its commitment to the New START Treaty signed with Russia, ignoring Moscow's violation of another arms treaty.
The silos will be kept "warm," that is, available for future use and for re-insertion of the missiles.
But it is doubtful that an administration that has as its goal a world without nuclear weapons and that promised the Russians "flexibility" in the gutting of U.S. missile defense would ever even contemplate such a move. The missiles are gone.
The Air Force now deploys three ICBM wings on its bases in Wyoming (Francis E. Warren), North Dakota (Minot), and Montana (Malmstrom). Each operates 150 ICBMs, with a squadron consisting of 50. The Obama administration proposes getting rid of one of those squadrons.
The remaining 400 deployed ICBMs would be the lowest number since 1962, according to a history of the ICBM force written by Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists.
He says that the U.S. had 203 deployed ICBMs in 1962, at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, with the force expanding rapidly to 597 the following year and topping 1,000 in 1966.
The question is why. The New START Treaty was designed for a bipolar world that no longer exists. It ignores China's rapidly growing and increasingly deadly military and missile force as well as threats from an unstable North Korea and a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran.
The president has said he dreams of a world without nuclear weapons, but so far it seems to mean only a world without U.S. nukes.
Meanwhile, Russia is taking the other route, making sure that its arsenal is updated and ready. It recently had its strategic forces carry out a large-scale military drill that included the test-launch of two land-based ICBMs and two submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Russia has also been testing the Yars-M ballistic missile, a weapon with a range prohibited by the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
The INF prohibits America and Russia from developing, testing or possessing ballistic or cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.
Russia is suspected of developing such intermediate-range ballistic missiles, or IRBMs, by claiming they're really intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, to replace older weapons.
The Yars-M missile, also known as the RS-26, is a clear and blatant violation of the INF Treaty, according to Mark Schneider, a specialist on Russian missiles at the National Institute for Public Policy in Virginia.
As former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and former Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance and Implementation, reported in Foreign Policy magazine's website, Russia is also developing, testing and possibly ready to deploy the R-500 cruise missile.
Not only are our land-based ICBMs being slashed, but also the other two legs of our nuclear "triad," ballistic-missile submarines and strategic bombers. The Air Force is trimming its bomber fleet from the current deployed total of 93 to 60 — including 19 B-2 stealth bombers. And by 2018, the Navy will reduce the number of deployed and nondeployed submarine-launched ballistic nuclear missiles to 280 from the current 336.
Some of the missile tubes aboard the Navy's 14 Ohio-class ballistic submarines will be altered so they can no longer launch ballistic missiles.
This is insanity and a clear departure from President Ronald Reagan's doctrine of peace through strength. Weapons do not start wars, but appeasement of tyrants does.
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