Archive for the ‘Trump and nukes’ category

What General Hyten really said

November 20, 2017

What General Hyten really said, American ThinkerJ.R. Dunn, November 20, 2017

To take them seriously, to respond to them as the media and the left would like, is to collaborate.  Rule of thumb is, simply put: anything – anything at all – coming from the legacy media must be examined under the presumption of dishonesty.  Don’t respond until after you’ve checked it out, not only down to the ground, but to the basement and subbasements as well.  To do anything less is to be a patsy for the left.

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Considerable uproar was generated this past weekend by legacy media reports that the commander of U.S. strategic forces would “resist ‘illegal’ nuke order from Trump,” as CBS, in a headline echoed by most media sources, put it.

In fact, nothing of the sort occurred.  The story, like many that have appeared since November 8, 2016, is an almost complete fabrication, intended to embarrass President Trump and cause turmoil within the federal government and among Trump’s own supporters.

What actually happened is this: USAF general John E. Hyten, the chief of Strategic Command (StratCom), which is the trans-service military command that controls nuclear weapons, was asked a hypothetical question about what his reaction would be if he were given an “illegal” order to carry out a nuclear strike.  Gen. Hyten answered hypothetically, not mentioning President Trump or any current international situation (e.g., North Korea) or implying that he would disobey orders.  At no point did the general give any indication that he was going from the theoretical to the particular.

I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do. And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.

The legacy media, speaking effectively as one voice, immediately portrayed this as being a direct rebuke to the president.  There is no sign that Hyten’s remarks were intended as anything of the kind.  The media simply put words in his mouth.

Of course, it’s possible that the question was deliberately asked to put the cat among the pigeons.  Hyten’s impatient, if not disdainful, response suggests that he, at least, may have suspected as much: “I think some people think we’re stupid.  We’re not stupid people.  We think about these things a lot.  When you have this responsibility, how do you not think about it?”

So – all calls for Hyten’s firing, jailing, or beheading should simply cease.  Hyten is a patriot and a warrior with a proud record, having served in both the Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom campaigns.  Let’s turn the fire where it belongs: on the media.

The fact that this comment appeared this weekend is no coincidence, comrades.  At the same time, the news was infested by comments from boob ex-jock LaVar Ball, who claimed that the president had nothing to do with his son’s release from shoplifting charges by the Chinese, alongside twisted interpretations of State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert’s discussion of departmental morale to make it seem as if the organization were in a state of collapse under Rex Tillerson.

The aim of these reports is transparent: to undercut President Trump and his administration in order to create dismay among his supporters and to destroy his support across the country.

To take them seriously, to respond to them as the media and the left would like, is to collaborate.  Rule of thumb is, simply put: anything – anything at all – coming from the legacy media must be examined under the presumption of dishonesty.  Don’t respond until after you’ve checked it out, not only down to the ground, but to the basement and subbasements as well.  To do anything less is to be a patsy for the left.

 

Senator who Protected Iran’s Nukes Wants Hearing on Trump’s Nukes

November 9, 2017

Senator who Protected Iran’s Nukes Wants Hearing on Trump’s Nukes, The Point (FrontPage Magazine), Daniel Greenfield, November 9, 2017

 

Senator Bob Corker (R-Boeing) is at it again. This time he’s using the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to troll Trump.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced Wednesday that he would convene a hearing to examine the president’s authority to use nuclear weapons.

The announcement of the Nov.14 hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Corker chairs, amounts to a significant escalation of what has so far been a war of merely words between the powerful Republican and his party’s standard-bearer.

“A number of members both on and off our committee have raised questions about the authorities of the legislative and executive branches with respect to war making, the use of nuclear weapons, and conducting foreign policy overall,” Corker said in a statement Wednesday.

Sure. Let’s undermine North Korea’s perception of the first strike authority of the President of the United States.

That’s the only conceivable thing these hearings can accomplish. That and annoying Trump. And that seems to motivate Corker as much as any Democrat. 

But can the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have a hearing on the role that domestic financial and political interests played in creating an echo chamber that allowed Iran to continue developing its nuclear program? I’m sure Senator Corker would have something to say about that.

The Constitution’s treaty procedures would have required Obama to win the approval of two-thirds of the Senate, which would have been impossible. The Corker legislation flipped this, allowing Obama to prevail unless there was two-thirds’ opposition in both houses of Congress – meaning blocking Obama would be impossible.

I suggested one reason: top GOP donors like Boeing stood to cash in big-time if the Iran deal was consummated. Boeing had ingratiated itself with Tehran when Obama granted some sanctions relief for Iran’s crippled aviation sector in order to keep the mullahs at the negotiation table. Boeing leapt in to provide Iran Air, the regime’s national carrier, with all manner of assistance – notwithstanding that Iran Air, basically an arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, was best known for providing material support to Hezbollah and the Assad regime. Indeed, in 2011, the Treasury Department designated Iran Air as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction.

By helping Iran at a key point in the negotiations, I pointed out, Boeing stood to win huge Iranian contracts once the Iran deal was approved and sanctions were lifted. Well I know you’ll be shocked to hear this, but Iran has just announced a huge deal to buy aircraft from Boeing!

Yes, let’s have that hearing. Please.

Trump Said the U.S. Should Expand Nuclear Weapons. He’s Right.

December 24, 2016

Trump Said the U.S. Should Expand Nuclear Weapons. He’s Right, Politico, MATTHEW KROENIG, December 23, 2016

On Thursday, Donald Trump created controversy when he tweeted, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” In case anyone was confused, he followed up Friday morning with an off-air remark to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that clarified his intentions: “Let it be an arms race,” he said. “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

The backlash was swift and unanimous. Critics charged that there is no plausible reason to expand U.S. nuclear weapons, that Trump’s comments contradicted a decades-old bipartisan consensus on the need to reduce nuclear stockpiles, and that such reckless statements risk provoking a new nuclear arms race with Russia and China.

On this matter, however, Trump is right.

U.S. nuclear strategy cannot be static, but must take into account the nuclear strategy and capabilities of its adversaries. For decades, the United States was able to reduce its nuclear arsenal from Cold War highs because it did not face any plausible nuclear challengers. But great power political competition has returned and it has brought nuclear weapons, the ultimate instrument of military force, along for the ride.

In recent years, North Korea has continued to grow its nuclear arsenal and means of delivery and has issued chilling nuclear threats against the United States and its Asian allies. As recently as Thursday — before Trump’s offending tweet — Rodong Sinmum, the Pyongyang regime’s official newspaper, published an opinion article calling for bolstering North Korea’s “nuclear deterrence.”

The potential threats are everywhere. Washington faces an increasing risk of conflict with a newly assertive, nuclear-armed China in the South China Sea. Beijing is expanding its nuclear forces and it is estimated that the number of Chinese warheads capable of reaching the U.S. homeland has more than trebled in the past decade and continues to grow. And Russia has become more aggressive in Europe and the Middle East and has engaged in explicit nuclear saber rattling the likes of which we have not seen since the 1980s. At the height of the crisis over Crimea in 2014, for example, Russian President Vladimir Putin ominously declared, “It’s best not to mess with us … I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.” And on Tuesday, he vowed to “enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems.” As former Defense Secretary William Perry correctly notes, “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War.”

The United States needs a robust nuclear force, therefore, not because anyone wants to fight a nuclear war, but rather, the opposite: to deter potential adversaries from attacking or coercing the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons of their own.

Under President Barack Obama, the United States mindlessly reduced its nuclear arsenal even as other nuclear powers went in the opposite direction, expanding and modernizing their nuclear forces. Such a path was unsustainable and Trump is correct to recognize that America’s aging nuclear arsenal is in need of some long overdue upgrades.

So, what would expanding and strengthening the nuclear arsenal look like?

First, the United States must modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad (submarines; long-range bombers, including a new cruise missile; and intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs). The Obama administration announced plans to modernize the triad under Republican pressure, but critics are already trying to kill off the ICBM and the cruise missile, and production timelines for these weapon systems keep slipping into the future. The Trump administration must make the timely modernization of all three legs of the triad a top priority.

Second, the United States should increase its deployment of nuclear warheads, consistent with its international obligations. According to New START, the treaty signed with Russia in 2011, each state will deploy no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads, but those restrictions don’t kick in until February 2018. At present, according to the State Department, the United States is roughly 200 warheads below the limit while Russia is almost 250 warheads above it. Accordingly, Russia currently possesses a nuclear superiority of more than 400 warheads, which is worrisome in and of itself and also raises serious questions about whether Moscow intends to comply with this treaty at all. The United States, therefore, should expand its deployed arsenal up to the treaty limits and be fully prepared for further expansion should Russia break out — as Moscow has done with several other legacy arms control agreements.

Third, and finally, the United States and NATO need more flexible nuclear options in Europe. In the event of a losing war with NATO, Russian strategy calls for limited nuclear “de-escalation” strikes against European civilian and military targets. At present, NATO lacks an adequate response to this threat. As I explain in a new report, the United States must develop enhanced nuclear capabilities, including a tactical, air-to-surface cruise missile, in order to disabuse Putin of the notion that he can use nuclear weapons in Europe and get away with it.

These stubborn facts lay bare the ignorance or naivety of those fretting that Trump’s tweets risk starting a new nuclear arms race. It is U.S. adversaries, not Trump, who are moving first. It is a failure to respond that would be most reckless, signaling continued American weakness and only incentivizing further nuclear aggression.

The past eight years have been demoralizing for many in the defense policy community as Obama has consistently placed ideology over reality in the setting of U.S. nuclear policy. The results, an increasingly disordered world filled with intensifying nuclear dangers, speak for themselves.

Rather than express outrage over Trump’s tweet, therefore, we should take heart that we once again have a president who may be willing to do what it takes to defend the country against real, growing and truly existential threats.