U.S. Reserves Use Of Nuclear Arms, Missile Shield To Defend Global Empire
This month has seen the signing of an agreement on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty II by U.S. and Russian heads of state Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in Prague on the 8th and the release of the new U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, both of which are being widely interpreted as heralding the downgrading of the role of nuclear weapons in American foreign policy.
In fact the new treaty on the reduction of the nuclear arsenals of the two nations that account for 90-95 percent of the world's supply of such weapons, with a commensurate cutback in the delivery systems for them, is a quantitative advance in the direction of eliminating the deadliest and most destructive weapons ever devised by man, but still leaves 3,100 deployed nuclear weapons in both nations' quivers and thousands more in storage.
Similarly, the Pentagon's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), in stating for the first time that the U.S. will not employ nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states - with two notable (and critically important) exceptions, which will be examined below - also has been construed by some observers as another milestone on the road to a world free from the threat of nuclear war and in the worst case thermonuclear annihilation.
With the two-day, 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. following so closely on the START II agreement and the release of the Nuclear Posture Review, the world press is abuzz with almost millenarian optimism regarding the prospects for a planet free of nuclear weapons. American establishment news agencies and political commentators - half government ventriloquist dummies and half mock devil's advocates - are rightly celebrating the START II and the Nuclear Security Summit as victories for their nation. The first allows the U.S. to forge ahead with programs like international interceptor missile deployments and Prompt Global Strike ; the latter positions Washington as sole arbiter and main enforcer in regards to nuclear proliferation worldwide.
The only naysayers are American superhawks for whom anything other than uncontested U.S. strategic military superiority with the fervent willingness to use it is an unwarranted concession if not a treasonous capitulation.
The above are often congress persons from districts which are home to large arms manufacturers' headquarters and production facilities and others on the payroll of the military-industrial lobby.
When leading officials of the current administration issue bellicose foreign policy statements the press often attributes those pronouncements to pressure from or fear of the opposition Republican Party, especially in a congressional election year like 2010. However, the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama has retained George W. Bush's Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and has installed Bush-era U.S. European Command and North Atlantic Treaty Organization top military commander James Jones as its national security adviser. It is also not a Republican administration that requested and has secured an unprecedented $708 billion dollar military budget for next year.
Regarding international military strategy, except for which weapon systems are favored over others there is continuity in the White House that verges on indistinguishability.
To illustrate how little has changed since the heated days following the attacks in New York City and Washington, DC on September 11, 2001, on April 11 - the day before the two-day Nuclear Security Summit in Washington - President Obama boldly asserted "We know that organizations like al-Qaida are in the process of trying to secure nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, and would have no compunction at using them."
Aside from the curious choice of preposition to accompany "would have no compunction," the U.S. head of state evidently has no compunction about claiming to know the intentions of al-Qaida or about making such an assertion without revealing how he knows it to be true. Perhaps it is sufficient simply to assume any enemy of the "world's sole military superpower" is actuated by the most nefarious of designs and has the ability to carry them out.
In the 1700s the French philosopher Montesquieu wrote of the predatory masters of the jungle that he who terrorizes also trembles. Establishing unchallenged dominance based on force means that the sound of every twig being broken and the rustling of every leaf trigger a heightened state of vigilance and the instinct to strike. There is always a threat and always a prey.
Obama added "The central focus of this nuclear summit is the fact that the single biggest threat to U.S. security - both short term, medium term and long term - would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon." In his meetings on April 11 with the heads of state of India, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and South Africa, Obama was flanked by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, National Security Adviser James Jones and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, hardly a peace-loving coterie. (The only substantive agreement to come out of the meetings had nothing to do with nuclear proliferation. Instead the U.S. gained the right to fly troops and military equipment for the war in Afghanistan over Kazakhstan, which borders both China and Russia, after first passing over the North Pole.)
On the same day the country's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates were featured on NBC's "Meet the Press," CBS's "Face the Nation" and ABC's "This Week" and "gave interviews meant to reassert the nation's military strength."  In the last-named program (taped on April 9), Clinton's comments included:
"We'll be, you know, stronger than anybody in the world as we always have been with more nuclear weapons than are needed many times over. And so we do not see this [the new Nuclear Posture Review] as in any way a diminishment of what we are able to do."
"I think if you actually read the nuclear posture review, you would make three conclusions. First - we intend to maintain a robust nuclear deterrent. Let no one be mistaken. The United States will defend ourselves, and defend our partners and allies. We intend to sustain that nuclear deterrent by modernizing the existing stockpile. In fact, we have $5 billion in this year's budget going into that very purpose."