November 1991 (vol. 8, #1)
1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9, Tucson AZ 85716
c 1991 J Orient
To disarm America, it is not necessary to have an arms control treaty, concluded with the advice and consent of the US Senate. The Commander in Chief can do it all by himself.
To the applause of the Union of Concerned Scientists and others both inside and outside the US Congress, George Herbert Walker Bush, Republican, President of the United States, is unilaterally indeed single-handedly disarming us.
US bombers and land-based missiles have been taken off alert. One of the two radar command centers that watched for Soviet bombers headed for North America has been closed, and one operates 40 hours per week.
All the suitcase-sized tactical atomic bombs have been ordered out of Europe.
``I am directing that the United States eliminate its entire worldwide inventory of ground-launched short-range theater nuclear weapons,'' said President Bush on Sept. 27. Thousands of nuclear warheads will have to be dismantled in Amarillo, TX, provoking conflict between environmentalist and ``peace'' activists (Insight 8/18/91).
All tactical nuclear weapons will be removed from naval vessels also. In fact, the vessels that carry the Tomahawk cruise missiles (which can be armed with nuclear warheads) will themselves be put in mothballs, shortly after they were taken out of storage to serve in the Gulf War.
The size of the fleet is slated to decrease to 451 and then will probably continue to decrease further (even though 95% of the material for Desert Storm got to the Gulf by ship).
Long-range missiles slated for destruction under START will be taken out of commission immediately, before Congress even ratifies the treaty.
Plans to deploy the MX missile on rails will be abandoned. The mobile Midgetman will be cancelled.
Engineers are working on ways to destroy solid rocket fuel. Conceivably, the retired missiles could be converted for use in launching satellites into space, but they might then ``threaten private industry with unfair competition and produce exhaust fumes that might threaten the ozone layer'' (AZ Daily Star 9/19/91).
The rationale is that there
is no longer a realistic threat, and that we should set a good
example for the rest of the world: throw away our most powerful
weapons and restrict our military to fighting forest fires and
buzzing peaceful American farms in search of marijuana plants.
Do You Feel Safer?
The United States might as well destroy its deterrent force if there is nothing to deter or if deterrence doesn't work anyway. The first question to ask is whether others are hastening to follow our example.
Mikhail Gorbachev promised to curtail development of new long-range missiles, to take heavy bombers off alert status, and to discuss cooperation with the United States in developing antimissile defenses against terrorist or Third World threats. It is not clear how many bombs Mr. Gorbachev has under his control or for how long he will have them, but President Bush feels ``comfortable that whoever is in charge will do the right thing'' (Wall St J 8/30/91).
What is actually happening within the Soviet military? There are conflicting reports. It is said that Prime Minister Ivan Silayev announced a 50% cut in the 1992 military budget (AZ Daily Star 9/1/91). It is also said that Gorbachev increased the budgets of the KGB and military by 20% and 37% for the next 12 months (former NATO commander General Sir Walter Walker, quoted in Money Strategy Letter 10/14/91). Gorbachev promised conversion of 600 weapons factories to civilian goods; six have been converted. The military draft exemption was recently repealed for 5 million military-age students (McAlvany Intelligence Advisor Sept/Oct, 1991), but the Soviet army is supposed to be transformed into a smaller, all-volunteer force (Star, op. cit.) According to McAlvaney, the Soviets recently deployed 18 new rail-mobile first-strike SS-24 missiles and just completed 75 underground civil-defense structures around Moscow, each the size of the Pentagon (op. cit.)
Outside the Soviet Union, nations are clamoring to follow the example set by the US in the Gulf War. An arms bazaar is on. Defense contractors are eager to sell, especially as the US military budget is cut. Eastern bloc countries are desperate for hard currency. Czechoslovakia has announced plans to export 5500 weapons (Atlantic Nov 1991).
Iraq's nuclear weapons program was much more advanced than anyone, including Israel, had suspected. North Korea, where Communism still lives, is believed to be within a year of having an atomic bomb. Israel is not the only nation actually to have been struck with SCUD missiles. Afghan troops fired at least three into a rebel-controlled city last summer, killing more than 300 persons. Algeria is building a nuclear reactor with China's help.
Reverse Deterrence and Non-Deterrence
The present outcome of the Mutual Assured Destruction non-strategy appears to be what Lowell Wood has called ``reverse deterrence.'' The United States has deterred itself, but no one else.
One response is to start ``with a full-throated recognition of our great good fortune at the way things have turned out'' (Nature 8/29/91). That's what the Trojans did when the Greeks, after a long and bloody war, inexplicably admitted their inferiority, declared defeat, and sailed for home, leaving a gift behind on the beach.
The prudent response is to start now to build defenses, from underground shelters to space-based Brilliant Pebbles.