U.S. Naval Institute - December 23, 2010
President Barack Obama was outmaneuvered by the Russians and should have abandoned the New START negotiations instead of seeking a political victory, says former nuclear plans monitor Vice Admiral Jerry Miller, USN (Ret).
“The Obama administration is continuing a dated policy in which we cannot even unilaterally reduce our own inventory of weapons and delivery systems without being on parity with the Russians,” Miller told the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis, Md. “We could give up plenty of deployed delivery systems and not adversely affect our national security one bit, but New START prohibits such action - so we are now stuck with some outmoded and useless elements in our nuke force.”
After meeting resistance from several Republicans, the U.S. Senate ratified the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia by a vote of 71-26 on Wednesday.
“The Soviets/Russians were done in by Reagan and our missile defense program because they cannot afford to build such a system,” said Miller. “They instead try to counter our program with rhetoric at the bargaining table. And they won by outmaneuvering Obama. START plays right into their hands.”
Former President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) is often credited with bankrupting the U.S.S.R. because the Soviets were unable to keep pace with the technology being developed by the United States.
“We have always been superior in quality of our nuclear force, so we did not have to negotiate with a party we do not trust,” said Miller. “If Obama wanted to save some money and improve national defense, he should have gotten out of the nuke negations and acted unilaterally. START is simply a political victory for Obama.”
Miller, who helped prepare the National Strategic Target List and Single Integrated Operational Plan for waging nuclear war and later participated in arms control meetings with the Soviet government, expressed concern that START could leave the United States vulnerable to other emerging threats.
“The treaty prohibits the conversion of an existing ballistic missile system into a missile defense system,” said Miller. “We might want to do that with a Trident or an ICBM sometime in the future, particularly if the Chinese alleged threat materializes.”
Miller’s book “Stockpile: The Story Behind 10,000 Strategic Nuclear Weapons” details the buildup of nuclear arms and the policies to keep the stockpile under control.