by John Lewallen, August 29, 2017.
I’m asking everyone who wants to avoid a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States homeland by Russia, China, or North Korea, to urgently appeal to the Trump administration to immediately abandon the long-standing U.S. nuclear posture of escalating nuclear first-strike threat against these nations.
Writing in the September/October 2017 Foreign Affairs (p.64), Professor Andrew J. Bacevich succinctly stated the problem: “Even as the actual use of nuclear weapons becomes increasingly unimaginable, however, the United States’ own vulnerability to these weapons will persist.”
Nuclear war, quite simply, is a catastrophically unfavorable field of battle for the United States. Missile defense is a very expensive myth in a world where high-altitude nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapons can be placed in satellites, ready to detonate if struck, destroying computer chips in space and on land in line of sight.
China, Russia, and North Korea have had decades to develop and deploy high-altitude nuclear EMP weapons, in addition to missiles with decoys designed to evade missile defense. These nations have experienced the reality of war. I believe they are doing their best to avoid nuclear war.
Today the United States encircles these nations with first-strike weapons systems and other military deployments and exercises. Every year, the U.S. Space Command “war games” pre-emptive nuclear strikes against Russia and China.
Now President Trump threatens to attack North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen before” unless it abandons its development of nuclear missiles, prompting North Korea to respond with pre-emptive nuclear strikes of its own, and missile launches.
Russia has at least a thousand strategic nuclear missiles ready to launch against the United States on a few minutes’ notice. U.S. economic sanctions against Russia weaken its ability to keep all these missiles “fail-safe,” increasing the likelihood of accidental launch.
China’s nuclear strike force and posture is a lot more low-key and secret. China now has the world’s second-largest annual military budget, and is well-known for “leapfrogging” industrial phases to develop the most advanced strategic nuclear missiles and EMP weapons.
If President Trump announces that the United States is no longer threatening pre-emptive nuclear strike against anyone, and begins withdrawing THAAD missiles and other potential first-strike weapons from the borders of China, Russia, and North Korea, I believe he will be hailed as the President who averted nuclear attack against the United States.
If the United States persists in its strategy of escalating first-strike threat, I’m afraid the end-game will be nuclear war affecting the whole Earth, for no reason at all. There will be an “accidental” nuclear launch, the U.S. will attempt a disabling first-strike; or a threatened nuclear nation, believing a U.S. nuclear attack is imminent, will launch a “use it or lose it” strike against the U.S. homeland.
–John Lewallen is publisher and editor of High-Altitude Nuclear War (2000), a study of nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapons and strategy, and author of Ecology of Devastation:Indochina (Penguin Books, 1972). Contact him at <email@example.com>.