More nuclear arms cuts being considered
February 15th, 2012
03:11 PM ET

More nuclear arms cuts being considered

By Larry Shaughnessy

Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday expressed dismay at the Obama administration's consideration of a major reduction in America's nuclear arsenal.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the committee there are internal discussions under way about the number of nuclear weapons America will have in the future. The talks, Dempsey said in his testimony before the committee, were in preparation for upcoming meetings with Russia on the matter.

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, called the idea "reckless lunacy." Rep. William "Mac" Thornberry, R-Texas, said the concept has him "very concerned."

But their worries may be premature, Dempsey said. He told the committee that one result of the discussions could be that there would be no reductions.

"The status quo, by the way, is always an option and one that is in play," he said.

Dempsey wouldn't comment on media reports suggesting that the United States might reduce its number of warheads, which now stands at fewer than 1,600, by 80%.

But he did say Congress shouldn't worry about the news stories.

"I'd encourage you not to become too concerned with the media reports of what is a very comprehensive process," Dempsey said.

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Filed under: Arms Control • Military • Nuclear • Pentagon
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Weakness is not a virtue. Power abhors a vacuum. The lessons of history, and appeasement to tyrants has been learned over and over again. Neville Chamberlain taught us a very expensive lesson, in lives and property that took decades to recover from (WW2 for those unfamiliar).
    You don't make deals with the Devil. You don't appease the bully in the schoolyard. You don't even APPEAR weak on the world stage, unless you want to be ravaged. Nuclear weapons have spoiled us in that nobody dared attack us for over 60 years, and human nature has not changed so much so that we can never again expect a major war again.

    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." – George Santayana
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick" -Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt

    February 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  2. Harry

    I'll start from the bottom.

    @Spelunker4Plato // Mutterback

    It is very, very easy.. to look at the effects, impacts and cost of life as the result of a nuclear weapon and haze those factors with reason to vanguard the effort that is and will be one day, the entire disarmament of nuclear weapons worldwide.

    It is also very easy to so far vanguard the mission that it is removing weapons of such mass destruction from the world (more importantly in focus of the international community who look to the United States to become an example in these situations), to embrace the love, care, respect and dignity that we the people of the free world wish for everyone, and inaccurately apply this righteous ideal that secures that love, care, respect and dignity for others by simply ignoring the current geo-political climate we live in today.

    Today.. we live in a world that separates the reality that we experience in our home lands in comparison to the experiences of reality outside of them. For those of us, whom I do not judge, comfortable within our homes and families, made safe by the multiple security and intelligence agencies existing within a country, specifically the U.S (who not only is made an example of on the world stage but in the same breath, is looked on to be the sword and shield of the free world), almost seem to be quick in nominating or demanding the very free country they live that enables them to feel comfortable and live life to the full human experience... whilst having a complete disregard for the current outside reality that is, free countries possess nuclear weapons to deter and protect against hostile countries who also possess them.

    So what is a hostile nuclear country? From the perspective of the west on the topic of nuclear warfare, a hostile country would categorise itself by but not limited to;

    - Possessing nuclear weapons facilities or capabilities that are refused to be checked by United Nations Security investigators or taking apparent steps to avoid transparency in nuclear research and development programs for the practical and future uses for such technologies. Uranium enrichment capabilities have a large effect on this definition
    - Hiding or secretly housing nuclear weapons whilst operating nuclear capabilities under the cause of civilian uses, showing a clear break down in the authenticity of their agenda
    - Systematically committing human rights violations against your own people indicative of civil unrest stemming from a governments inability to enact change for the betterment of your people through diplomatic and peaceful means (in cases of civil war, a nuclear active state that was hypothetically, by hostile means taken over by a civil group would be considered a threat as power would be overturned to unknown and presumably incapable individual bodies)
    - Becoming a safe harbour or state sponsor of terrorism with disregard to their systematic effects on the safety of the international community, largely because of the involvement of unregulated, dangerous 3rd party groups and organisations who's intentions and agendas may not align with the government or country's
    - As a country whether by mass public or government support, announcing the hate or encouraged harm towards another race or country creating unrest between neighbouring countries often igniting fears causing further nuclear active states

    @Catamount

    I, reluctantly on some comments, however agree with you.

    I am not one to encourage war by any means, I do not think for a second the intelligent people who you often don't see posting on these types of forums, encourage war either.

    I am however one to encourage the respect and understanding of the people around us and that comes with religion, individual values and attitudes, cultural traditions, social standards etc. By accepting and endeavouring to understand the perspective and point of views of people, we cannot ignore their actions, words and behaviour based on these attributes.

    When you begin to consider this and apply the awareness to the global cooperation, in a world where the agenda and intentions of 'questionable' or hostile nations (by questionable I mean, who's means for nuclear capabilities are not clear) are more than often skewed by a tone of peace with supposed transparency or honesty, you cannot ignore what those people stand for or believe.

    Diplomacy isn't easy. I firmly believe, the great reason why the United States (outside of the speculation of economic gains or the always rhetoric quest for world domination) has pressure, conspiracy, criticism and duplicity to name a few, accusatorially applied simply because the United States of America, is and has remained that sword and shield.

    I also firmly believe, the leaders of hostile nuclear countries or even non-nuclear countries, would like nothing more than to be left alone, to do as they will in their own lands. Which is a fair and just principle, within the rights and in some cases sovereignty over inherit lands. This kind of trust, left the world in 1945.

    The United Nations was created to protect the world from future atrocities like those experienced in WWII. Who, as an international body made of 193 countries, to this day are continuously involved with both large and small nations addressing and often intervening in order to uphold international law, security, development, growth and human rights.

    When we live in a world that on a daily basis, experiences violations against these goals intended to preserve human life.

    I do not believe, that it is in the interest of the free world those who keep her safe, that we ignore that strategical placement of nuclear weapons has deterred the more 'free' use of nuclear weapons for, as said, the best part of 65 years.

    You do not make the world a safer place, by sending a message to those 'questionable' nations or groups, that our only sword and shield has been packed away...

    Who's going to stop them?

    February 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  3. Catamount

    That our large survivable arsenal has deterred nuclear war for some 65 years, since the bomb's inception, is ample proof of the soundness of the strategy.

    If you listen, you can hear champagne corks popping and loud cheers in the Chinese and Russian ministries of defense. "That's all it took?" they exclaim. "Elect one idiot and he'd deliver unilateral disarmament? We should've donated to the election of the historic first black president sooner!"

    Hope and change is a poor defense doctrine. Hope nobody else on earth has ambitions and change our military from strong and capable to hollow and weak.

    You will learn, when it's too late, that weakness does not bring security. The problem is your foolishness is imperiling those of us who already know better.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      Amen brother.

      February 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  4. Mutterback

    Way to go Democrats! It is outright ridiculous and stupid for us to tell other nations (Iran) they can't have nuclear weapons while we maintain our own stockpile. The world is waking up and won't accept this any longer. Either the US starts walking the walk or stops talking the talk.

    February 15, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  5. Spelunker4Plato

    Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee are dumb.

    Nuclear war is reckless lunacy. LOL It's not even war. It's suicide. Nuclear suicide.

    Heaven forbid we like, get rid of our nuclear weapons and, like, set a precedent for peace and like, rational thinking.

    February 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      So us unilaterally disarming will make nuclear war less likely? We won't be attacked or threatened or blackmailed by Russia or China or any other nuclear power in the future?
      I would argue it is your thinking that is irrational. And in need of a drug test.

      February 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply

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