In a move he insists is somehow consistent with his call for disarmament, President Obama is seeking more than $5 billion in increased funding for America’s nuclear weapons program, aimed chiefly at modernization and building new facilities.
Vice President Joe Biden detailed what he thought was the case for the investment, perplexingly arguing simultaneously for a world without nuclear weapons and for America to make “long overdue” investments in strengthening its own nuclear stockpile.
Though this funding will not actually be used to produce additional nuclear weapons, opponents caution that it will give the administration, and future administrations, the capacity to greatly increase the number of warheads in America’s arsenal, at a time when the administration claims to be trying to complete comprehensive warhead reduction agreements.
Though Vice President Biden portrayed the investment as crucial for creating a “safe, secure and effective” collection of weapons capable of murder on an unprecedented scale, he also pointed to Iran’s illusory nuclear weapons program as one reason for America to shore up its own, already enormous arsenal.
The move is likely a political one, coming just weeks after Sen. Joe Lieberman (I – CT) penned a letter demanding the massive increase as a condition for Senate support for the new START treaty with Russia. Still, it will likely do serious harm to the Obama Administration’s credibility when it urges other nations to pare down their arsenals.