The National Review’s doddering nuclear paranoia

Old British guys are editors at the National Review. Old British guys who are editors at the National Review criticize Obama. Old British guys who are editors at the National Review criticize Obama’s Russian nuclear arms control agreement. Old British guys are bomb-a-loons:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

America’s Infantile Foreign Policy
by David Pryce-Jones

Call me a cynic, but the latest agreement between the United States and Russia to cut their stocks of nuclear weapons seems nothing over which to expend any enthusiasm. Quite the contrary. It’s a hangover from the dead and distant days of the Cold War.

There’s no need for it? Only in a wingnut’s brain is the end of the Cold War a good reason to stockpile nuclear weapons. I’m not buying it. In my wildest, most apocalyptic nightmare, I have a hard time seeing the need for more than a couple dozen hydrogen bombs, enough to kill millions and millions.

Disarmament mattered when Ronald Reagan faced Mikhail Gorbachev, because it expressed the understanding that mutually assured destruction was not a real policy.

What? It was definitely a real policy. The U.N. reported there were about 40,000 nuclear warheads in existence in 1980.

Each side (the U.S. and Russia) still has at least 2,000 ready weapons and access to maybe 10,000 more. There’s absolutely no need for those appalling numbers of atomic bombs, their only real purpose would be to render humanity extinct.

Russia today is a very different proposition to its forebear, the Soviet Union. To be sure, its leaders, President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, are keen warmongers, and paranoid, so gestures to reassure them are in order . .

Firstly, Russia looks different to the Soviet Union? I can imagine the USSR’s eyesight is a little wonky, likely because it died a few years back. Perhaps he meant ‘in comparison to’ or some such epically interminable phrase.

Secondly, the folks who’d be “keen warmongers, and paranoid” would be Americans, Dave. We’re the only ones who recently invaded an innocent nation and slaughtered more than a hundred thousand people, many of them women and children. Two million more have left Iraq to avoid the carnage that the paranoid Americans started.

Barack Obama evidently has a belief that the whole world ought to be free from nuclear weapons, and the United States has to show them the way. Such a belief is as commendable as it is infantile, a sort of pacifist delusion about the nature of power politics. How are India and Pakistan to be persuaded? What about China, already flexing its muscles as a super-power? A smaller arsenal in the United States will only help convince North Korea and Iran to build a bigger one, to equalise if possible.

We have 10,000 or more weapons. China, the 21st-century superpower juggernaut, has about 200. Iran and North Korea combined may have two or three. But to Pryce-Jones-Waterhouse-Carpetbomb, Obama is about to tilt the numbers dangerously to Kim Jong-Il’s favor.

The new treaty will extend the efforts of the previous one, START I, that expired in December of 2009:

The treaty was signed by the United States and the USSR, that barred its signatories from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads atop a total of 1,600 ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and bombers.

The new agreement is said to further reduce stockpiled weapons by 30%. So, if we have around 8,000 warehoused around the country, that number could drop to 5,600. If we only have 5,000(!), the new number could be 3,500. And those are just the stockpiles, not the weapons ready-to-go.

3,500 + hundreds or thousands more is many more than three. But, to David’s thinking, it’s that sort of precarious reduction that will enable and inspire Ahmadinejad to crank out thousands of nuclear missiles in an effort to “equalise.” Recall, friends, that this is a Senior Editor at the National Review. He’s no ordinary fool.

What the latest treaty does is to confirm John Bolton’s nightmare that Obama is the first post-American president, and under him the United States is deliberately dismantling its status in the world, so that Pax Americana goes out of the window. It’s some consolation that the stock of nuclear weapons is still high, and the next round of disarmament talks is seven years away, by which time the man in the White House must be other than Obama.


John Bolton’s
nightmare? John Bolton is a nightmare. He’d start a nuclear war and realize Old British Pax Americana in a heartbeat.

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