Friday, April 9, 2010

"I'm Not Going to Take My Advice from Sarah Palin" - Obama

Nor am I.

Actually, nobody should. Look how much good it did Bristol, for instance. The list of people who took Sarah Palin's advice and ended up with her tread marks on their foreheads is long.

But this nuke stuff IS way too serious for a person who believes and earnestly hopes Jesus will return in her lifetime, and that humans and really big dinosaurs walked the earth during the same times.

I'm extremely dubious of many things our current president has done since I voted for him. But his stance on nuclear arms and nuclear proliferation is shaping up to be the best since President Reagan got all shook up from watching The Day After.

His treaty signing in Prague Thursday was an important milestone. He hopes to keep the momentum going on this next week with a Washington DC conference on creating a new, 21st century compliance regime. Guess who doesn't want to cooperate?

Here's Obama, on Sarah Palin as nuclear arms issue expert. No doubt Palin asked for some grain alcohol and spring water after watching:


Nan (aka roswellborn) said...


The worst part of it is that she was given (quasi-) credibility even being asked.

May this be the last time President Obama ever needs to mention the name.


Anonymous said...

Newt Gingrich said something just as stupid ill-informed as Palin.

Newt said Obama should have taken his cues from Reagan.

Of course, Newt thought he could revise history and make people think Reagan was a nuclear arms hawk.

The truth was, ...Reagan suggested abolishing nuclear arms altogether.

Newt and his cronies (Palin included), don't care if the truth conflicts with their fantasy, their role is to mislead and confuse. Their role is to continue to play their base for the patsies they've become.

When those talking heads and pundits who have been consistently wrong about everything they've ever considered are still asked for their opinion on television about anything at all, people ought to be smart enough to tune them out.

Trouble is, those pundits and talking heads are the only people on television being asked about anything.

Chris said...

I don't think ad hominem attacks help the argument.

I dislike that we gave the Russians a free pass. Pres Obama's new START treaty requires us to make deep cuts and concessions while the Russians give us nothing. Perhaps there is some quiet cooperation on other issues -- Iran comes to mind. In short, hopefully Pres Obama is a liar, and not naive.

And don't take that as a specific attack on Pres Obama -- pols who aren't disingenuous or naive are slightly less common than unicorns. It isn't a partisan thing.


freeper said...

Chris propounds as if Chris had actually read and was sufficiently knowledgeable and had the expertise necessary to comprehended the agreement that was signed.

So, did he, or could he ?

From his 'analysis' that he provides that clearly demonstrates he has no clue about what is actually in the agreement, the obvious answer is that there is no chance whatsoever that he has even the least inkling what he's yammering about.

I'll give him credit for spelling naive and disingenuous, but his use of the terms more properly should be employed in the context of a set of self-describing attributes that Chris demonstrates.

If you'd like to have a better understanding of the agreement and what concession both sides have given up, I suggest you read something written by people that have at least a small inkling of what represents reality, because Chris has demonstrated only that he has a far greater relationship with a fantasyland occupied by unicorns than he has any grasp of, or relation to reality.

Chris said...

Let's look at how this treaty impacts both of us. I'll start with the 800 delivery vehicle limitation.

The US inventory consists of about 1,198 vehicles (US State Department number). Highlights include 450 aging, fixed minuteman III ICBMs, 20 B-2 bombers, ~100 B-1 bombers, and five B-52 squadrons with about 94 jets. We have no new ICBMs on the horizon. The new treaty won't limit the number of warheads per missile, but we are voluntarily de-MIRVing our inventory. We will need a new bomber at some point but there is no sign of that in the future given today's budget environment. Our SLBMs are also aging.

The Russian inventory consists of 814 vehicles. Moreover, they are bringing new, modern systems online such as the SS-X-29 and SS-27. These systems are road-mobile (unlike our fixed Minuteman III inventory), specifically designed to complicate ballistic missile defense systems, and are MIRVed with 10 warheads per missile. On the strategic bomber front, the Tu-95 has limited or no conventional role. Their fleet is also much smaller and in worse shape than our B-52 fleet. Likewise, the BLACKJACK was procured in very limited quantities

Even worse, the new treaty counts deployed bombers as a warhead against the 1550 warhead limit. Because our bomber fleet is much more robust -- and dual-purpose -- than the Russian's fleet, we will have to make the deeper cuts that have serious implications for our ability to wage conventional war.

So, what does all this mean? They will need to cut 14 vehicles (1.7%) compared to our cuts of 398 vehicles (33%). We will have to make tough choices that may limit our conventional global precision strike capabilities; the Russians will not have to give up any conventional capabilities. We will be left with an aging, qualitatively inferior ICBM force; the Russians are acquiring a generation of modernized ICBMs with much greater capabilities.

I don't see what Russia loses on this deal. They are going to have to retire a handful of systems they were replacing anyways. They also reserve the right to walk out on the treaty at any time if we continue to develop ballistic missile defense technology -- which we are a generation ahead of them on. The treaty eliminates our quantitiative edge and allows them to take the qualitative lead.

Now, of course they will bitch and moan about this. They will make it look like they are giving up a lot too. But even a cursory analysis shows that the Russian reaction is likely political theater. Remember, the Duma is much weaker than our legislature. Their role in Russia is to provide political theater. The Kremlin will really be calling all the shots, and all Mebdebev has said is that they'll disregard the treaty if we pursue BMD (which is the only issue the Russians care about that isn't in there).

So that is why I say that I hope we are getting some sort of back-channel concessions out of this. I hope that we're trading significant advantages away for cooperation on Iran's nuclear program or China's currency or something.


freeper said...

You're simply ignoring that the new START replaces the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), which expired on December 5, 2009 ?

So while we go from no START treaty to a new START treaty, you're pushing a concern that new offensive nuclear weapons treaty is, somehow, in some Cold War throwback to insecurity over having thousands of more offensive nuclear weapons than anyone could bring into play, a negative ?

You're arguing that since we have more strategic offensive nuclear weapons, (even after stricter limits than those included in this treaty,) that you're afraid Russia hasn't conceded enough to suit your insecurity ?

Your woefully simplified, (and highly speculative), assessment is that we've 'given away too much' and the Russians haven't conceded enough?

Odd that the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs, etc. don't agree with you.

I'm probably not going out on a limb to assume they've got a much better handle on what the treaty means than the speculative, (and incomplete and misleading, assessment you've offered up.

The actual treaty text, (about twenty pages), is not definitive enough for much of your so-called 'analysis'. And even then, you've tried mixing deployed numbers with stockpiles of non-deployed arms.

The rest of the agreement is a Protocol to the Treaty and Technical Annexes to the Protocol, which contain about another 150 pages.

After you've read and understood the Protocol and the annexes, see if you can come back and do a better job than how badly you've misrepresented the first twenty pages of the treaty.

The US deploys, right now, about 800 delivery vehicles. START I counted all of these systems (and more) against its limit on delivery vehicles, but it remains to be seen which of these systems will count against New START's upper limit of 800 deployed and non-deployed launchers.

So, in a nutshell, no, we aren't required to cut 33% of our strategic offensive vehicles as you tried to claim.

Though an exacting definitive judgment on what will count under the treaty must await the release of the final text, the new START does not, as you claim, require significant cuts in the number of deployed U.S. nuclear warheads and/or delivery vehicles and it will not require any cuts in the thousands of U.S. warheads in storage.

We currently deploys approximately 2,126 strategic nuclear warheads, with a comparable number of warheads in reserve.

The new START’s rules combine elements from both START and the Moscow Treaty. Like START I, the new START counts each type of missile and bomber as one delivery vehicle against the limits of 700 and 800 delivery vehicles.

Like the U.S. interpretation of the Moscow Treaty, New START counts only those nuclear warheads that are actually deployed.

The new treaty largely reflects a splitting of the difference between Russia’s preferred approach of counting delivery vehicles, and the U.S.’s preferred approach of counting deployed warheads.

Besides the fact that we haven't given up the ability to stockpile and pre-stage as many nuclear strategic weapons systems as we care to, despite the fact we maintain the ability to deploy and deliver essentially the same number of ready strategic offensive nuclear weapons as we do now, you're scared ? You're worried we made too many concessions ?

continued .....

freeper said...

Let' move on to what the new START does that the old START didn't do.

The new START contains provisions that allow for the monitoring and verification of actual warhead loadings, which would be a first for a strategic arms control treaty.

Got that ? Not even the old START had that, and you say the Russians haven't given significant concessions ?

I'll cut this short, to recap, no one of any significance in the highest echelons of America's defense structure shares your misinterpretations or your fright.

The Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, even Republican Senator Richard Lugar (a war hawk if there ever was one), have all expressed unqualified support for the treaty and the provisions and concessions for both sides.

Finally, the new START doesn't, as you erroneously claim, put any limits on our conventional arms.

As to our losing any qualitative 'edge', your qualitative fears extend far beyond any reality.

My advice to you is to swamp out your backyard bombshelter, you won't be happy til you're safely and fully ensconced back in that 60's mentality of Cold War fiction and hyper-paranoia.

Philip Munger said...

I think I'll go have a healthy shot of grain alcohol and rain water, after reading Chris and Freeper hashing out some of the "rational" aspects of the unthinkable.

But, please be advised:

"Gentleman, you can't fight in here, this is the war room!"

freeper said...

You've apparently failed to a large degree to comprehend what was written, phil.

Rather than Chris and freeper hashing out rational aspects of anything, (as you wrongly surmise),

it would be more concise to deduct that freeper pointed out the irrationality contained in Chris's attempt to inject his ill-founded and irrational fear into the debate.

As to fighting, nature doesn't shirk when it comes to fighting disease and similarly, no one should fail to attack an equally as debilitating disease like irrationality.

When basic literacy is at stake, I'll choose to defend, by any means, the universal right to that literacy.

As long as literacy and illiteracy have not terminated their ever renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing to do battle for the one against the other.

A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

Whoever wishes peace and understanding among peoples must fight against illiterate fear and irrationality.

Philip Munger said...

Freeper, Have you ever considered finding a medication that alleviates SDD?

Chris said...

Freeper, I like the classic conservative quotes, but the tone is a mite over the top. Phil, great quote! :)

I think this issue has significant implications for Alaska, which is why it is worth thinking about in an Alaska forum:
- The Russians regularly probe our air defenses and penetrate the Alaska ADIZ with nuclear capable bombers. That is why we have fighters on alert at EAFB 24/7/365.
- The North Koreans are working on ballistic missiles that can range in Anchorage. That is part of why we have a BMD site at Ft Greeley.

First, on the technical objections: I utilized numbers of deployed systems from the US State Dep't. I'm happy to consider other figures from a reputable source if you have them. Even with some adjustments it is clear that we are giving up more systems than the Russians.

Next, the START will undermine the new NPR. Our new nuclear posture review forswears first use of our nukes against anyone that is in compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It instead calls for us to utilize an overwhelming conventional response. The problems that I identified with the new START treaty put that laudable objective (reducing the chances that nukes will be deployed) at risk by limiting our conventional forces capable of global precision strike. As you may be aware, the B-2, B-52, and B-1 are all nuclear capable platforms (and thus are counted under the new treaty regime as delivery systems) even though they are also our primary conventional bombers. They are dual-use. Heck, every day a B-1 flies over Afghanistan to do CAS. So yes, the new treaty will limit our conventional global precision strike capability -- a capability which the Russians can only envy.


Chris said...


Additionally -- and this is more an issue with the NPR than with START, but while we're on the topic -- I am disappointed that we are not modernizing our aging weapons. Any "lifecycle updates" will be limited to the electro-mechanical components, not the warheads themselves. Much of our stockpile uses old HMX designed warheads, which when compared to modern IHE designs are more expensive to maintain, have fewer inherent safeguards, and are less effective. I'd like to see us modernize the inventory, decommission the obsolete weapons, and end up with a smaller inventory that has better safeguards and is less expensive to maintain.

Our military leaders have spoken at length about the dangers of an aging/obsolete stockpile and the "brain drain" that is occurring among top weapons designers and physicists. You don't hear them comment on START because it is a diplomatic -- not military -- matter and because we have civilian control of the military in this country. So the military shuts up and colors, which is what it is supposed to do, and that is a good thing.

Here's some quotes since you shouldn't take my say-so. First from a bipartisan blue ribbon panel (the Strategic Posture of the United States):
"Our military capabilities, both nuclear and conventional, underwrite U.S. security guarantees to our allies, without which many of them would feel enormous pressures to create their own nuclear arsenals. ... The U.S. deterrent must be both visible and credible, not only to our possible adversaries, but to our allies as well."

Here's an article from MSM (Fox,2933,507305,00.html):
"The Department of Defense and the National Nuclear Security Administration had to wait more than a year to refurbish aging nuclear warheads — partly because they had forgotten how to make a crucial component, a government report states.

Regarding a classified material codenamed "Fogbank," a Government Accountability Office report released this month states that "NNSA had lost knowledge of how to manufacture the material because it had kept few records of the process when the material was made in the 1980s and almost all staff with expertise on production had retired or left the agency."

Air Force General Kevin Chilton, the leader of our strategic forces, has also been forcefully advocating for modernization of obsolete and aging systems in multiple forums. Secretary Gates has also discussed the issue. So while yes, they support the treaty (Stay in your lane -- diplomacy is not the military's job) these leaders have been raising serious issues about America's long-term nuclear strategy. If anyone is listening, that is.

Although, if the Obama administration secured a secret backroom deal with the Russians to get their help with, say, Iran, then it may be a decent trade. We grant them more equality in the strategic realm, limit our global strike, but gain necessary cooperation in the short term on a vexing and pressing issue. Maybe that view is overly optimistic, however.


freeper said...

You really ought to try reading the applicable material.

I suggest you begin by reading what the treaty says,

...and what it doesn't say.

It's only becoming more obvious with each of your succeeding posts that you haven't read or do not comprehend what is or isn't in the pre-treaty agreements, the treaty itself, the protocol and/or the annexes.

In short, you're woefully lacking in any plausible comprehension of the subject to which you've attempted.

Our strategic offensive capabilities and responses to Iran and North Korea aren't conditioned by or negated by anything in this treaty.

And within the treaty itself, conversion of B I bombers to conventional armament is specifically addressed and made allowable, there's not even a verification process imposed on such conversions.

Please, if you're going to attempt your pose as being competent to address the treaty, at least find out whether what you yammer about is even pertinent or relevant to the treaty.

As I said before, were your fears and paranoia either plausible or relevant, (or factual), the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense and the Congressional members charged with oversight wouldn't have all, every one of them, endorsed and recommended signing this treaty.

To refute your attempt to falsely claim our military won't speak to the new treaty, the Joint Chiefs have very publicly endorsed and recommended signing this treaty.

And, you can be assured that the Joint Chiefs and the Secretary of Defense thought about

Sorry Chris, but false suppositions about the military's stance on the treaty, you've only shown an inability to comprehend or address reality.

As to your fabrications concerning the NPR or our Force Posture, both were an integral part of the lead up to the treaty, try to see if you can find the specifics about the “Joint Understanding for the START Follow-On Treaty”.

The ongoing and most recent Nuclear Posture Review was closely coordinated with the START follow-on negotiations to inform the U.S. negotiating position.

And before you attempt to claim the military isn't or wasn't involved or able to speak to this, the Nuclear Posture Review has been led by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Joint Chief's Staff, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of State.

Department of Defense reported their review which was conducted simultaneously with the Quadrennial Defense Review (released on February 1, 2010), the Ballistic Missile Defense Review (released on February 1, 2010), the Space Policy Review, the START-follow on negotiations, and preparations for the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.

It cannot be emphasized enough, that, at every turn, better and more informed professionals and experts, in the military and without, much more competent, much more comprehensively informed and much better equipped to deal with this subject than you are, have all concluded that your illusory talking point paranoia and fear has no plausible basis in any reality.