Some reporters have been pinging the Biden campaign to make a statement as to the candidate’s position on our nation’s nuclear weapons capabilities. Thus far, according to this Associated Press report, the campaign has “declined to make a spokesperson available” to comment on the question. Why Biden is remaining mum is something of a mystery, but he’s made plenty of previous on-the-record statements on the subject. During his time as Vice President, he and Barack Obama were “pausing” upgrades and refurbishments to our nuclear stockpile, preferring to wind things down a bit. When Donald Trump was preparing to take office and talking about upgrading our capabilities, Biden was quoted as saying that was a “bad idea” and that doing so would make us “more inclined to use them.”
This is one policy area where there is a stark contrast between the candidates, but you rarely hear it being brought up in the media. In fact, most of the talking heads seem to have little interest in anything other than the pandemic, but shouldn’t we be addressing this?
Democrat Joe Biden leaves little doubt that if elected he would try to scale back President Donald Trump’s buildup in nuclear weapons spending. And although the former vice president has not fully detailed his nuclear priorities, he says he would make the U.S. less reliant on the world’s deadliest weapons.
The two candidates’ views on nuclear weapons policy and strategy carry unusual significance in this election because the United States is at a turning point in deciding the future of its weapons arsenal and because of growing debate about the threat posed by Chinese and Russian nuclear advances.
China, whose relatively small nuclear force is growing in sophistication, is cited by the Pentagon’s top nuclear commander as a leading reason why the United States should go all out on nuclear modernization.
Keep in mind that Joe Biden, even with all of his rather curious “senior moments,” wants to be the guy in charge of the mightiest military force on the planet, including the control of our weapons policies. As the report notes, our own military commanders know that China is in the process of doubling its own nuclear stockpile by the end of the decade. It’s true that such an increase would still leave them behind both the United States and the Russians, but their new ICBM technology still makes them a threat. And if a country puts up enough missiles, they only need to get past our defenses a few times to wreak massive levels of destruction.
What is it about this scenario that Joe Biden seemingly fails to understand? Going back to the hottest days of the cold war, it’s always been understood that the most reliable way to prevent a nuclear war is the theory of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). If another country were to launch a major first strike in our direction, we might not be able to stop all or even most of the missiles. But we have a fleet of boomers (nuclear missile submarines) lurking all over the globe in the depths of the oceans. If they lose contact for more than a designated amount of time, their standing orders are to come up to launch depth and release a volley of hellfire that will decimate all the population centers of our adversaries.
Russia and China know this, as does North Korea. (Not that it probably matters to the demented freak running that nation.) It’s what stops them from attacking us first. But our missile systems are old and concerns are growing over ensuring that all of our systems are up-to-date and being maintained properly. There is also new technology in development to improve our capabilities. In fact, we have a new long-range ballistic missile that began deploying to our subs last year. There’s another sea-launched cruise missile that’s scheduled to be ready to go by 2024. But all of those developments require funding and the support of the White House to keep them on track.
Why is Joe Biden so shy about maintaining our position as the dominant nuclear force on the planet? And why doesn’t he want to talk to reporters about it? Inquiring minds want to know and we deserve some answers, provided Sleepy Joe is willing to come out of his basement long enough to tell us. Perhaps some of the debate moderators should add this question to their agenda, assuming Joe shows up for the debates at all.