Why the American public should be talking about nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weapons are the 350-kiloton elephant in the room that we as Americans simply do not give enough thought or attention. As long as the United States and other nations possess nuclear arms, they will remain relevant and a healthy debate about what we should do with them is essential. Whether or not we all agree on the issues is irrelevant. Nuclear weapons were perhaps the quintessential Cold War issue and even with that conflict decades in the past, that does not make them irrelevant. Present circumstances make the arsenal as relevant today as it was then.
The FY15 National Defense Authorization Bill requires Aegis Ashore in Poland to be operationally available by the end of 2016 instead of 2018, supporting the notion that missile defense will effectively compel Russia on geo-political issues. This belief is based on public statements Russia has made opposing U.S. missile defense, arguing it would upset strategic parity by reducing the effectiveness of their intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) fleet. The reality behind Russia’s opposition is that they view the U.S. as a foil to justify their investment in the Russian defense industry, which President Putin believes is key to ensuring Russia’s ability exert influence, strengthen the economy and mitigate the emigration of technological expertise. This vision is independent of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), and the U.S. should not use precious taxpayer dollars to accelerate a program over a fallible pretense. (more…)