U.S. Set to Diminish Apologies for Its Nuclear Stockpile

August 5, 2019

On August 2, Defense Secretary Mark Esper proclaimed the launch of a new phase of sophisticated testing and computerized “simulation” projects which would begin in the near future to more fully develop the U.S. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) arsenal, including its nuclear weapons stockpiles.

According to Esper, since 2017, “The department's initial research-and-development efforts focused on mobile, conventional, ground-launched cruise and ballistic missile systems. Because the United States scrupulously complied with its obligations to the INF Treaty, these programs are in the early stages. Now that we have withdrawn, the Department of Defense will fully pursue the development of these ground-launched conventional missiles as a prudent response to Russia's actions and as part of the Joint Force's broader portfolio of conventional strike options.” In short, Esper expresses happiness to now have the freedom to embark on the next phase of planned investments in research and development.

Esper's announcement followed upon another one, earlier that day, made by the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the U.S. decision to withdraw from a 30-year-old accord to do without all land based missiles with a range between 500km and 5,500km, their launch infrastructure and testing. On February 2, the Trump administration announced this planned withdrawal from the so-called Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. With a deadline of August 2, NATO's North Atlantic Council was charged with the task of negotiating a new balance of power with the Russian Federation, using the prospect of permanent U.S. withdrawal from the treaty as a billy club.

Although the U.S. announced its complete exit from the treaty on August 2, the U.S. has long been expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal in violation of the INF and other arms treaties. For example, at the Nevada National Security Site, the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration has carried out 28 subcritical nuclear tests since beginning the series of tests in 1997. The stated aim of these underground nuclear tests is to carry out a wholesale upgrade of U.S. nuclear systems so they are kept up-to-date and ready for use.

Despite the INF – which was promised as a path to the complete elimination of an entire class of missiles possessed by the two superpowers – as well as several other nuclear arms elimination treaties, the U.S. maintains an inventory of 6,800 nuclear warheads. In 1962, when Cold War disarmament talks began, the U.S. had only 3,500. Anyone with eyes can see that the U.S. imperialists are still rushing ahead with the biggest arms buildup in the history of mankind.

Turning truth on its head about the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the question of who is the remaining superpower, the question of who is the sole world power with the policy of militarizing every situation and tearing down the entire edifice of international law in order to establish a unipolar world under its own dictate, the U.S. monopoly capitalist class is trying to paint itself as the victim of nuclear blackmail!

As for the Democrats, they have been working feverishly to help Trump hide imperialism's iron fist in a velvet glove. Backed by a petition campaign spearheaded by United for Peace and Justice, “to tell Congress” that “the INF Treaty is real 'national security,'” Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Edward J. Markey, Bernie Sanders, Chris Van Hollen, Kamala Harris, along with 5 other Senators introduced special legislation in January. The bill (S 312) was self-described as one designed “to prevent a nuclear arms race resulting from weakened international restrictions on the proliferation of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles.” It was aimed at preventing division between NATO allies by withholding funding for procurement, flight-testing, or deployment of a U.S. ground-launched or ballistic missile until the executive branch would identify an ally willing to host such a system.

Once again, the Democrats are trying to outdo Trump and are accusing his die-hard militarist cabinet of not doing enough to expand U.S. nuclear supremacy.

Of course, Trump, Congress, and U.S. imperialism are interested in advertising the U.S. withdrawal from the INF treaty as a purely “defensive” measure they were forced into for the “protection” of U.S. satellites in Europe and Asia from outside aggression. But those interests are interests of the capitalists and are antagonistic to the interests of the workers and broad masses of the people in America and throughout the world.

By falsifying history to hide the aggressive aims of imperialism, the two parties of war are not only enabling the U.S. to step up its nuclear weapons modernization plans despite the end of the Cold War and supposed U.S.-NATO mission of “containing communism,” but they are also working to make the U.S. global nuclear arsenal impregnable. The history of Europe has proved, time and again, that the “balance of power” among the big powers has always been a weapon in the hands of the exploiting classes to suppress the national liberation and revolutionary movements. It is the NATO alliance that is primarily responsible for saddling Europe with this oppression in the modern era. Since 1995 and the war in Bosnia, U.S. imperialism has used its NATO military alliance to carry out a frenzied military expansion in Europe. Today, U.S. imperialism's hawks and doves are giving the European workers and people the “honor” of retaining their Cold War position of being the “front line of defense” and likely theater of nuclear war.

The end of the Cold War has not ushered in the era of world peace and prosperity promised by U.S. imperialism and the other Western powers. On the contrary, the so-called “bipolar world” has been replaced by a new period characterized by continuous wars, including the apocalyptic U.S. war, occupation and recolonization of Iraq. Low and high-intensity wars against the national liberation movements carried out under the umbrella of U.S. imperialism's “war against international terrorism” are increasing competition and rivalry not only with the Russian Federation and China but also with U.S. allies such as Japan, Germany, etc.

U.S. imperialism, which works to assert itself as the sole military superpower and overlord in the “advanced” capitalist economies of Europe, and to create tensions and to militarize the entire globe as a part of its program of colonial domination and war, remains the major roadblock to peace.