(NationalSecurity.news) The Cold War may have ended 20 years ago and with it, for a time, the hair-trigger nuclear posture of the world’s superpowers. Today, however, there is a new atomic weapons race underway that experts believe will only add to the tension already building around the globe between the great powers.
In a new book by President Bill Clinton’s first defense secretary, William Perry discussed the formation of a strategy he called “preventative defense,” which was aimed at reducing global threats rather than just contain them. Then, the spread of nuclear weapons was the greatest threat, as fears rose that weapons from a crumbling Soviet Union would fall into rogue hands.
Today, in “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” Perry warns: “Far from continuing the nuclear disarmament that has been underway for the last two decades, we are starting a new nuclear arms race.”
As noted by InHomelandSecurity.com:
This is not hyperbole. The United States and Russia are acting with increasing belligerence toward each other while actively pursuing monstrous weapons. As Joe Cirincione described in the Huffington Post, the Pentagon plans to spend $1 trillion over 30 years on “an entire new generation of nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines,” including a dozen submarines carrying more than 1,000 warheads, capable of decimating any country anywhere. In the meantime, President Obama has ordered 200 new nuclear bombs deployed in Europe.
Russia has been equally aggressive. Like Cirincione stated, Russian state media just recently reported on a new kind of weapon – an atomic drone-like torpedo capable of traversing some 6,000 nautical miles of ocean, like a missile could do in the sky. When it impacts, the explosion would create a “radioactive tsunami” that would then kill millions of people living along coastlines (in the U.S. that is a substantial number of our citizens).
In addition, as NationalSecurity.news has reported, China is also working to improve its nuclear delivery systems. Also, U.S. officials are monitoring Pakistani and Indian nuclear weapons programs, both of which are growing.
Some believe escalation of the nuclear arms race has been some time in the making and that the United States should shoulder much of the blame for it. During the Clinton years, the U.S. pushed hard to expand NATO, a Cold War relic, and in the process breaking a promise to Russia not to threaten its zone of influence. Perry, who was heavily involved in the expansion, has since declared it a mistake.
“That was the first move down the slippery slope,” he said at an event hosted by the Defense Writers’ Group. “It’s as much our fault as it is the fault of the Russians, at least originally. And it began when I was secretary.”
More mistakes occurred during the subsequent administration of George W. Bush, including one of the biggest – walking away from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. President Obama has not done much better, antagonizing Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin by describing him as “like a bored child in the back of the classroom,” and sending arms to the Ukrainian government, which is currently battling Russian proxy forces in its eastern regions.
And, more than 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the U.S. still has many of its nuclear weapons pointed at Russia on hair-trigger alert – not very reassuring.
Still, the belligerence goes both ways. Russia has begun to reassert itself all over the globe, with Putin returning to Cold War-like air and sea patrols that test U.S. defenses and serve as provocations all their own. China, for its part, is asserting itself throughout the South China Sea, constructing manmade islands in the middle of nowhere it then attempts to claim as sovereign Chinese soil subject to the same control and international protections.
Perry says one of the lingering dangers is accidental war between great powers, particularly Russia and the U.S. That’s not just paranoia, as InHomelandSecurity notes:
In May 2013, the Air Force suspended 17 officers from controlling nuclear weapons after an inspection found a “breakdown in overall discipline.” Seven months later, an Air Force general who oversaw bases with 450 ICBM missiles was fired for what The Washington Post described as a “drunken Moscow bender.” The next month, 34 nuclear officers were caught cheating on their proficiency exams. According to ABC News, investigators learned about the scandal during “another investigation that has already implicated 11 junior officers in using illegal recreational drugs.”
And there is the fact that the U.S. and Russia have taken different sides in the Syrian civil war, with Moscow backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Washington backing rebel forces seeking to topple him. Already there has been one “accident,” if you will – the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey, a NATO ally.
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