“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Obama to reduce US nuclear arsenal to hundreds of war heads

The question is basic to deterrence; How many weapons are necessary to deter an attack? Five, ten twenty, two hundred, two thousand? If the US radically reduces its nuclear arsenal, would that not be an incentive for most any power to merely accumulate a half dozen and join the club?

Barack Obama ready to slash US nuclear arsenal

Pentagon told to map out radical cuts as president prepares to chair UN talks

President Obama's decision to order a review comes as he takes the rare step of chairing a watershed session of the UN security council.

Barack Obama has demanded the Pentagon conduct a radical review of US nuclear weapons doctrine to prepare the way for deep cuts in the country's arsenal, the Guardian can reveal.

Obama has rejected the Pentagon's first draft of the "nuclear posture review" as being too timid, and has called for a range of more far-reaching options consistent with his goal of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons altogether, according to European officials.

Those options include:

• Reconfiguring the US nuclear force to allow for an arsenal measured in hundreds rather than thousands of deployed strategic warheads.

• Redrafting nuclear doctrine to narrow the range of conditions under which the US would use nuclear weapons.

• Exploring ways of guaranteeing the future reliability of nuclear weapons without testing or producing a new generation of warheads.

The review is due to be completed by the end of this year, and European officials say the outcome is not yet clear. But one official said: "Obama is now driving this process. He is saying these are the president's weapons, and he wants to look again at the doctrine and their role."

The move comes as Obama prepares to take the rare step of chairing a watershed session of the UN security council on Thursday. It is aimed at winning consensus on a new grand bargain: exchanging more radical disarmament by nuclear powers in return for wider global efforts to prevent further proliferation.

That bargain is at the heart of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which is up for review next year amid signs it is unravelling in the face of Iranian and North Korean nuclear ambitions.

In an article for the Guardian today, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, argues that failure to win a consensus would be disastrous. "This is one of the most critical issues we face," the foreign secretary writes. "Get it right, and we will increase global security, pave the way for a world without nuclear weapons, and improve access to affordable, safe and dependable energy – vital to tackle climate change. Get it wrong, and we face the spread of nuclear weapons and the chilling prospect of nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists."

According to a final draft of the resolution due to be passed on Thursday, however, the UN security council will not wholeheartedly embrace the US and Britain's call for eventual abolition of nuclear weapons. Largely on French insistence, the council will endorse the vaguer aim of seeking "to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons".

Gordon Brown is due to use this week's UN general assembly meeting to renew a diplomatic offensive on Iran for its failure to comply with security council demands that it suspend enrichment of uranium. The issue has been given greater urgency by an International Atomic Energy Agency document leaked last week which showed inspectors for the agency believed Iran already had "sufficient information" to build a warhead, and had tested an important component of a nuclear device.

Germany is also expected to toughen its position on Iran ahead of a showdown between major powers and the Iranian government on 1 October. But it is not yet clear what position will be taken by Russia, which has hitherto opposed the imposition of further sanctions on Iran.

Moscow's stance will be closely watched for signs of greater co-operation in return for Obama's decision last week to abandon a missile defence scheme in eastern Europe, a longstanding source of irritation to Russia.

"I hope the Russians realise they have to do something serious. I don't think a deal has been done, but there is a great deal of expectation," said a British official.

Russia has approximately 2,780 deployed strategic warheads, compared with around 2,100 in the US. The abandonment of the US missile defence already appears to have spurred arms control talks currently underway between Washington and Moscow: the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, said today that chances were "quite high" that a deal to reduce arsenals to 1,500 warheads each would be signed by the end of the year.

The US nuclear posture review is aimed at clearing the path for a new round of deep US-Russian cuts to follow almost immediately after that treaty is ratified, to set lower limits not just on deployed missiles but also on the thousands of warheads both have in their stockpiles.

The Obama strategy is to create disarmament momentum in the run-up to the non-proliferation treaty review conference next May, in the hope that states without nuclear weapons will not side with Iran, as they did at the last review in 2005, but endorse stronger legal barriers to nuclear proliferation, and forego nuclear weapons programmes themselves.

"The review has up to now been in the hands of mid-level bureaucrats with a lot of knowledge, but it's knowledge drawn from the cold war. What they are prepared to do is tweak the existing doctrine," said Rebecca Johnson, the head of the Acronym Institute, a pro-disarmament pressure group. "Obama has sent them it back saying: 'Give me more options for what we can do in line with my goals. I'm not saying it's easy, but all you're giving me is business as usual.'"


  1. Now that America is joining the USSR and China at the hip, why would we need so many nukes?

    President (for life) Obama knows best, after all he is the savior of the world...

    All shall bow at his knee...

    Peace be upon him....

    The Prophet Obama has spoken..

  2. Let the Recall petitions begin.

  3. Somewhere between 101, and 999, eh.

  4. I always thought that the idea was to "negotiate" with enemies, to just "give away" the farm without demanding ANYTHING in return is suicide..

    but that is what our lord, savior does...

    world apology tours...

    giving new conditions to the palestinians to demand that have never been demanded before..

    agreeing to sit with north korea and iran without any preconditions

    taking out missile defense forces without a thank you card from russia

    and NOW?

    this crap?

    oh yeah, he wont talk with the GOP or fox news...

  5. It is obvious, exemplified by Tora Bora, that the US is not going to use it's nuclear arsenal, if conventionally attacked .

    Grasping that reality firmly by the horns it becomes clear that the US has no need for a "large" nuclear arsenal.

    It is costly to maintain and is obsolete, in the real whirled.

    Mr GW Bush proved the point that was first made by the South Africans.

  6. The Defense Department said 74 of approximately 540 detainees who had been released at that point had taken up the fight, or were suspected of doing so.

    The Pentagon said it had fingerprints, DNA, photos or reliable intelligence to link 27 detainees to the fight since their release.

    The other 47 detainees were believed to be involved with terrorist activity because of what the Pentagon described as significant reporting or analysis, or unverified but plausible information from a single source.

    Once at Gitmo

  7. One of the first things Bush did was cut the number of Nukes. It seems to me like anything over four, or five hundred would be way overkill.

  8. Americans overwhelmingly favor missile defense, as poll after poll has revealed. But many don’t realize that what we have deployed so far is not nearly adequate to the evolving threat.

    American policy should be designed to make clear to our enemies that resources spent on nukes and missiles will be wasted because we have both the means and the will to block them. American scientists are providing the means.

    But too few American politicians are providing the will.

    Missile Defense

  9. In an interview on Saturday, the top officer of the Afghan election commission, Daoud Ali Najafi, said he did not know the total number of votes from polling stations subject to the recount and audit order by the Electoral Complaint Commission.


    Mr. Najafi acknowledged that some voting fraud had occurred, especially in the country’s more dangerous areas. But he said he believed that at some polling stations all 600 votes were legitimately cast for Mr. Karzai or for other candidates.

    “It is possible,” he said.

    Possible Fraud

  10. “Will you come before Chairman Towns … and give the kind of disclosure to where the Government Oversight and Reform Committee could know that you are doing work with firewalls, as you say, so the American people know that their dollars don’t end up doing political activities prohibited by law?” Issa, the committee's ranking Republican, asked on "Fox News Sunday."


    Lewis said she was outraged by the video.

    “Any organization is not entirely perfect … but we continue to make sure that all of our employees if they are too stupid to understand that they’re not making professional standards we terminate them,” she said.

    Come Before Congress?

  11. I don't think we should have more than enough to turn 5 good-sized countries into glass.
    Better safe than sorry.
    But who listens to such nonsense
    (aka common sense) this days?

    "more far-reaching options consistent with his goal of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons altogether, according to European officials."

    Yeah, Peace, Love, and pass the bong.

  12. Priest Goody Twoshoes should have his head blown off forthwith:

    University Rocked by Alum's Alleged Sex Abuse - Local

    To family, friends and Fairfield University alumni and officials, he was the model citizen, a social activist whose decade of work with homeless Haitian street boys earned him an honorary degree from his alma mater.

    But when Douglas Perlitz, 39, appeared Friday in federal court in Denver, he agreed to be returned to Connecticut to face a 10-count indictment alleging he used his position in the university-supported Project Pierre Toussaint program to provide shelter, food, money and other gifts to homeless street boys in exchange for sex.

    It's a case that has shocked the Jesuit school located in suburban Connecticut, as questions also arise about the whereabouts of the Rev. Paul Carrier, the university's former director of campus ministry and community service, who also served as chairman of the board controlling the school's Haiti Fund. That fund provided much of the money to Project Pierre Toussaint.

    A lawyer for the fund told the Connecticut Post that money for the fund "has evaporated."

    The indictment against Perlitz alleges that more than $2 million was transferred from the Haiti Fund to an account in Haiti that Perlitz controlled. It is not clear what the money may have been spent on, the lawyer told the newspaper, but Perlitz is portrayed in the indictment as a predator luring the boys with comforts and gifts.

  13. The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict "will likely result in failure," according to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by The Washington Post.


    The assessment offers an unsparing critique of the failings of the Afghan government, contending that official corruption is as much of a threat as the insurgency to the mission of the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, as the U.S.-led NATO coalition is widely known.


    The general says his command is "not adequately executing the basics" of counterinsurgency by putting the Afghan people first. "ISAF personnel must be seen as guests of the Afghan people and their government, not an occupying army," he writes.

    Possible Mission Failure

  14. The Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said Obama should follow the military's advice. McConnell said Petraeus "did a great job with the surge in Iraq.

    I think he knows what he's doing. Gen. McChrystal is a part of that.


    Obama spoke on CNN's "State of the Union," ABC's "This Week," NBC's "Meet the Press," and CBS' "Face the Nation." Levin and McConnell were on CNN.

    Afghanistan Troops

  15. Surge in Afghanistan. Is this the libs' way of finally saying Bush's surge worked in Iraq?

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