[This may be my last post for a while. I am taking a break from blogging in order to focus on another project.]
In his news conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday, President Obama essentially endorsed the policy of Mutual Assured Destruction for America’s ongoing relations with Russia. My google search indicates that no one in the mainstream media found Obama’s position controversial, let alone wildly irrational. In fact, my Internet search turned up only one blogger who criticized Obama at all for Obama’s statements.
Here is the passage from Obama:
Part of what got us through the Cold War was a sufficient sense of parity and deterrent capability; that both sides, during those very difficult times, understood that a first strike, the attempt to use nuclear weapons in a military conflict against the other, could result in an extremely heavy price.
And so any discussion of nuclear strategy, security, has to include defensive as well as offensive capabilities.
The difference that we’ve had has been on the specifics of a missile defense system that the United States views as a priority not to deal with Russia but to deal with a missile coming in from Iran or North Korea or some other state, and that it’s important for the United States and its allies to have the capacity to prevent such a strike.
There’s no scenario from our perspective in which this missile defense system would provide any protection against a mighty Russian arsenal. And so in that sense we have not thought that it is appropriate to link discussions of a missile defense system designed to deal with an entirely different threat unrelated to the kinds of robust capabilities that Russia possesses.
Obama is saying that it was a good thing that the Soviet Union had the capability to kill many millions of American citizens in nuclear attacks on American cities, because that deterred America from striking the Soviet Union, just as America’s ability to kill many millions of Soviet citizens deterred the Soviets from striking America. That is the idea of Mutual Assured Destruction, well-abbreviated as “MAD.” Presumably, had America had an overwhelming nuclear advantage over the Soviets, that would have been a bad thing.
Obama also is saying that, even though the Soviet Union is dead, we should continue the policy of MAD, now between America and Russia. Presumably, it is a good thing that Russia, led by a man such as Vladimir Putin, can kill many millions of Americans in American cities.
Obama is also assuring the Russian government that America’s proposed missile defense system in Eastern Europe will not “provide any protection against a mighty Russian arsenal.” Obama is in effect saying, “Don’t worry, you will still be able to kill many millions of Americans whenever you want.” Obama also is implying that if America ever did have a potential defense against a Russian attack, he would check with the Russian government before actually building such a defense.
Here are the relevant facts. Mutual Assured Destruction was not what “got us through” the Cold War. Mutual Assured Destruction was the essence of the Cold War. If not for the fact that the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons, we could have easily conquered the Soviet Union in the 1940s, just as merely two nuclear bombs made Japan surrender to end World War II. We could have saved two generations of Eastern Europeans. We could have destroyed the communist regime in China at its inception. There could have been no Korean War and no Vietnam War—liberal-style, self-sacrificial halfway wars (yet with more than ninety thousand real American deaths) designed to “contain” communism, not to defeat the communist countries. There would have been no Cuban Missile crisis, in which America was lucky that the Soviet leaders chose not to use their nuclear weapons to kill millions of Americans. Two generations of Americans would not have suffered under the constant threat of annihilation by weapons of mass murder known to be in the hands of mass murderers.
When Middle-East dictatorships, supported by the Soviets, nationalized Western oil assets and started wars against Israel, America responded weakly, in large part due to the Soviet threat. If not for the Soviet threat, and with a modicum of strength from America’s leaders, there would have been no OPEC, no oil wealth turned over to Middle-East dictators, no Gulf War, no Iraq war, no Afghanistan war, no nuclear threats from the Middle East, no Al Qaeda, no Hezbollah, and no other Islamist terrorists.
All of these deadly horrors are the legacy of what Obama calls “a sufficient sense of parity and deterrent capability.” Yet this policy is what Obama wants to resurrect.
What got us through the Cold War (aside from the fact that a communist society cannot survive on its own) was President Reagan’s rejection—in words and deeds—of “a sufficient sense of parity.” In deeds, America began a campaign to attain clear military superiority over the Soviets. When the economically weak Soviets tried to keep up, they bankrupted their country. In words, Reagan condemned the “evil empire” and emboldened Soviet citizens to resist dictatorship. When Gorbachev conceded and allowed some freedom of speech, that was the end of the Soviet Union.
When the Soviet Union fell, America had a chance once and for all to end the evil of mutual assured destruction. America could have demanded, as an absolute condition for any kind of trade with America, that Russia turn over its nuclear arsenal to America. (I first heard of this idea, a very good one, from the late Stephen Speicher.) In 1991, when the Soviet Union fell, Russia was in no condition to refuse such an ultimatum. We should still make this demand even today, but every year that we have delayed has made it less likely that Russia would accept such a condition. And now that Putin and his goons are in power, the Cold War has been un-won: mutual assured destruction is back.
Now, America’s President wants mutual assured destruction to be a fact of life forever. (Obama’s insane fantasy of a world with no nuclear weapons would—if ever such a fantasy could come true—merely leave America subject to mutual assured destruction with Islamist dictatorships as well as with Russia and China.) This policy is equivalent to reinstating the Cold War in perpetuity—or at least until America loses.
You can bet that if Putin and his gang ever were to gain military superiority over America, they would not seek a return to “a sufficient sense of parity and deterrent capability.”
Today, the man most dangerous to America’s national security is not Osama Bin Laden or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-il or Vladimir Putin. The Number 1 national security threat to America is Barack Obama, because Obama has the power to disarm America.