GEN Cartwright: Cut US Nukes

For the United States, deterring and defeating aggression in today’s world depends a great deal less on projecting nuclear offensive threat and a great deal more on the skilled exercise of all  the instruments of power, both “soft” and  “hard.” Security, previously organized around  bilateral confrontation, increasingly depends upon multilateral cooperation … In our illustrative plan, the United States over the next ten years reduces its arsenal to a maximum of 900 total nuclear weapons and increases the warning and decision time over its smaller arsenal.

Current U.S. nuclear policy focuses too narrowly on threats rooted in Cold War thinking, incurring excessive costs to prepare for an implausible contingency of nuclear war with Russia when there is no conceivable circumstance in which either country’s interest would be served by deliberately initiating such a conflict. Current U.S. nuclear policy also unnecessarily incurs risks of unintentionally initiating a nuclear conflict. by maintaining launch-ready nuclear postures just as they did during the Cold War, the United States and Russia run risks of nuclear mistakes that could have catastrophic consequences.

It is critical to broaden the agenda of nuclear  arms regulation to include all categories of  weapons in all nuclear weapons countries.  Only a broad multilateral approach can  effectively address the multitude of serious nuclear dangers found in other parts of the world. While pursuing bilateral negotiations to reduce the U.S. and Russian stockpiles to much lower levels, the two sides should initiate a multilateral process that would seek to cap, freeze, reduce and otherwise constrain the arsenals of third countries. Nuclear arms regulation must become comprehensive and universal.

–writes Hoss Cartwright (the last VCJS) with Ambassador Richard BurtSenator Chuck HagelAmbassador Thomas Pickering, and GEN Jack Sheenan in a report (pdf) released on Wednesday.

Max Boot–Weekly Standard columnist, proponent of “American Imperialism“, and author of the “The Savage Wars of Peace“–offers a cranky response.

2 responses to “GEN Cartwright: Cut US Nukes

  1. I hate relying on stats from the NY Times, but with 2500 deployed nukes and 2600 in reserve, with a budget of $600 billion over ten years, he’s probably right. On the other hand, its really not that much money…compared to other stuff. Is this part of the ever convenient political “cut defense budget cause nobody really cares even though we could do a lot better in other arenas”?

    • It’s not just about the money side of it, it’s about nukes being not that useful and maybe counterproductive, NPT efforts not going anywhere, and mitigating unnecessary risk. They mention money, but it’s pretty far down on the list.

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