Rather than bore you with the minutia of arms control debates, let me just remind you of what's at stake.
In a word, survival. The fallacy of arms control is that if the Soviet Union has no hostile intentions, then we don't need arms control. If the Soviet Union's intentions are hostile, then we cannot trust arms control treaties to protect us.Words on pieces of paper are no protection against steel and fire and radiation. People intent on committing the sin of murder will not hesitate to commit the sin of lying.
If you lived through the 1930s, then this may be where you came in. George Bush and his buddy Jim Baker seem intent on repeating the sorry record of Neville Chamberlain, who thought he could trust the Nazis.
There has been no war between the United States and the Soviet Union, because of U.S. military power. During the Eisenhower administration, we wisely adopted the policy of deterrence.
Deterrence means that we would maintain sufficient nuclear forces to: (1) absorb a nuclear first strike from the Soviet Union; and (2) still have enough left to inflict an unacceptable level of damage on the Soviet Union.
Deterrence, therefore, is a two-part equation and won't work if either side of it is abandoned. The day we lose our deterrence is the day we become vulnerable to destruction or to Soviet diplomatic moves we dare not oppose. Military superiority is the backbone of diplomacy.
Steadily, since the Kennedy administration, our nuclear deterrent vis-a-vis the Soviet Union has been in decline. The Reagan administration's attempt to reverse the decline was only partially successful. Soviet military planners have had a great ally in the form of the U.S. Congress. After nearly 20 years of debate, we still do not have a deployed mobile missile. We have no civil defense system, no ballistic missile defense system, and - this may surprise you - no defense against bombers worthy of its name.
The Committee on the Present Danger, a blueblood Eastern Establishment outfit, said in 1984: "The U.S. strategic force posture vis-a-vis the Soviet Union has deteriorated sharply and is considerably worse than official estimates. The surviving U.S. second-strike force would not be effective against the full range of Soviet targets held in reserve."
The bulk of our bomber force consists of 262 B-52s, an average of 28 years old. It took 20 years to get the 98 B-1s we have and as of today there is still only one B2 Stealth bomber running tests. So if the flag went up today, whatever number of these planes survived and got off the ground would have to fly into the world's most dense and sophisticated air defense system.
We have 36 submarines with ballistic missiles. Some of these are always in port and vulnerable to a first strike. We have about 1,000 fixed ICBMs. It is important to count silos, sub and bomber bases because these will be the targets of a first strike. Multiple warheads that never get launched are useless. Right now, the Soviet SS18 alone can target our land-based missiles as well as our sub bases and bomber bases.
The asymmetry between U.S. and Soviet strategic forces is already dangerous, and thus it is doubly dangerous for us to make further concessions. And this brings up several contradictions you ought to think about in evaluating the baloney that flies at you from the TV screen and the printing press.
If the Soviet Union is so weak, why are we making the concessions?
If the Soviet economy is in such a shambles, why do they have the nucelar and conventional superiority and not us?
If the Soviet Union is now on the way toward a new relationship, why did it reject the open skies proposal, cheat on the INF treaty, refuse to consider on-site inspections in the current proposals, insist on U.S. concessions, halt the withdrawal of troops from Eastern Europe, stall the conventional arms negotiations, and continue its high expenditures on strategic forces, both offensive and defensive?
Mikhail Gorbachev's sponsor and mentor, Yuri Andropov, said in 1979, "Imperialism accepted detente, not because it wished to but because it was forced to."