Not long after the administration finalized an arms reduction treaty with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, President Obama is now seeking $80 billion in funding for nuclear weapons.
According to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the money would be spent to “rebuild and sustain America’s aging nuclear stockpile.”
The US has one of the two largest arsenals on the planet, some 5,113 warheads, a holdover from the Cold War arms race with the former Soviet Union.
Despite very public efforts to declare himself an advocate of total nuclear disarmament, President Obama has made no secret of his ambitions for an updated nuclear stockpile, ostensibly for “safety” reasons.
But in reality, an arsenal capable of wiping out much of the life on the planet is never really safe, and questions about the military’s handling of the arsenal are nothing new. Likewise it is difficult to argue, in a post Cold War world, that the US truly needs such an enormous arsenal merely for “deterrence.”
Yet for the administration selling the case for new nuclear weapons will likely have a relatively easy time of it, particularly with the illusion of Obama’s bona fides on disarmament looming large in the background.