Wednesday, February 14, 2018

2018 Nuclear Posture Review Demonstrates Rising International Belligerence

The Executive Summary of the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review is available here:
Office of the Secretary of Defense (2018, February) US Nuclear posture review

This rapid deterioration of the threat environment since the 2010 NPR must now shape our thinking as we formulate policy and strategy, and initiate the sustainment and replacement of U.S. nuclear forces. This 2018 NPR assesses previous nuclear policies and requirements that were established amid a more benign nuclear environment and more amicable Great Power relations. It focuses on identifying the nuclear policies, strategy, and corresponding capabilities needed to protect America in the deteriorating threat environment that confronts the United States, allies, and partners. It is strategy driven and provides guidance for the nuclear force posture and policy requirements needed now and in the future.

This posture review explicates the formal rationale for full-scale "modernization" and deployment of the US nuclear arsenal. Modernization was also pushed forward by the Obama Administration:
Scot Paltrow (November 21, 2017). Special Report: In modernizing nuclear arsenal, U.S. stokes new arms race. Reuters,

By the time Obama left office in January 2017, the risk of Armageddon hadn’t receded. Instead, Washington was well along in a modernization program that is making nearly all of its nuclear weapons more accurate and deadly.

And Russia was doing the same: Its weapons badly degraded from neglect after the Cold War, Moscow had begun its own modernization years earlier under President Vladimir Putin. It built new, more powerful ICBMs, and developed a series of tactical nuclear weapons.

The United States under Obama transformed its main hydrogen bomb into a guided smart weapon, made its submarine-launched nuclear missiles five times more accurate, and gave its land-based long-range missiles so many added features that the Air Force in 2012 described them as “basically new.” To deliver these more lethal weapons, military contractors are building fleets of new heavy bombers and submarines.
The subject of the "new cold war" as articulated by Michael Klare, has been the subject of quite a few of my posts. For example here is a link to a 2012 post on the new nuclear arms race:

The US garrison state, imperial Presidency, and imperial foreign policy help fuel this new cold war.

The current nuclear policy review escalates tensions by implicitly promising to deploy small scale nuclear, as well as more conventional nuclear weapons, in a proactive first strike deemed necessary by the Hobbesian world articulated in the document.

Over the last few years we have also seen greater tolerance for civilian casualties abroad and domestically, as illustrated by the loosening of restrictions on drone attacks abroad and the rising of allowable radiation exposure at home:
U.S. Relaxes Drone Rules: Obama Gives CIA, Military Greater Leeway in Use Against Militants in Yemen." The Wall Street Journal April 26, 2012 see also

EPA (2017, September ) Protective Action Questions and Answers for Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies: A companion document to the US Environmental Protective Agency Protective Action Guide (PAG) Manual. EPA-402/K-17/002. Available,

In the rising belligerence, we see the problem of a particular military mindset that is bent on escalating global tensions through veiled statements of enmity couched in euphemisms, such as deteriorating threat environments, that fail to acknowledge the US's role in escalating tensions in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe.

Moreover, domestically the US is resembling ever-more a "garrison state" (see my post here), as described in this Real News report on Trump's proposed military parade in a link left by a commentator:
The US is not alone in its governmental efforts to increase domestic authoritarianism while escalating international belligerence -- China and Russia are following this logic of control and empire, although each deploys unique strategies and tactics.

The climate feels like the run up to World War II complete with ominous and shadowy propaganda adapted to the particularities of twenty-first century audiences.

We have invented so many ways to kill one another quickly, with nuclear annihilation but one of the many strategies that would work effectively in a short time period.

We don't need more weapons. What we need is a gestalt shift in leadership.

Related Posts
Imagining and Communicating Nuclear War: 

Majia's Blog: New Cold War: 2015 Update Michael Klare, A New Cold War in Asia? - TomDispatch (here) for discussion of the New Cold War in Asia. See my previous blogpost about rising militarism in Japan: Majia's Blog: Why the Secrecy About Fukushima? Now let us move into the present. In July 2015 the LDP successfully pushed through Japan's lower ...

Majia's Blog: New Cold War Update
Feb 27, 2016 - Earlier this week I posted about the US decision to "modernize" its nuclear arsenal at a cost of $1 trillion dollars here: On Thursday (Feb 25, 2016) I read in the Wall Street Journal that "US Warns Banks Off Russia Bonds" (p ...

Majia's Blog: New Cold War Enriches Industries of Death, Leaving ...

1 comment:

  1. Trump will be like abe. More uranium mines. More nuclear pollution. More bombs. More depleted uranium muntions, more nuc bombs, smr reactors. El jefe trump wants old reactors open, new reactors. Coastal and old fukushima style ge reactors will start blowing up in murica soon. Fuel pool fires. Yet muricans are so fucking stupid, they dont care. We will all just continue to wallow in thiw radioactive sewer qnd hell , with evil monkey trump and his degenerate- , murderous generals till the bitter end. That is how fucking stupid muricans are


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