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Hagel’s “Global Zero” Plan

A nuclear weapons reduction plan advocated by Hagel evinces a less than serious understanding of both the nature of US deterrence needs, and the geopolitical balance between the United States and Russia.
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Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

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The second phase of the Global Zero plan would occur from 2014-2018. In a multilateral framework, the U.S. and Russia would agree to reduce to 500 total warheads each, to be implemented by 2021. All other countries, including China, Pakistan, North Korea and others, would freeze their nuclear stockpiles until 2018, followed by proportionate reductions until 2021 — irrespective of whether the U.S. deployed arsenal was smaller and less effective than many other countries. If in fact that took place — with nations hostile to the U.S. having arsenals in excess of the U.S. force — it would be the first time in the history of the nuclear age that such an event took place, and probably an irresistible invitation to them to attack.

Moreover, this plan assumes that a comprehensive verification and enforcement system will have been established — including agreed-on no-notice, on-site inspections, and that safeguards on the civilian nuclear fuel cycle would be strengthened to prevent their being diverted to build weapons.

The final two phases would include a “binding” ‘Global Zero Accord’ between 2019-2023, signed by all nuclear capable countries, for the phased, verified, proportionate reduction of all nuclear arsenals to zero total warheads by 2030. The whopping loophole in this plan is that any nation deeming itself not nuclear-capable could opt out of such an agreement, then be completely free to surprise the world with a nuclear arsenal once all the major powers had eliminated theirs.

Between 2024-2030, finally, there would be a complete “phased, verified, proportionate dismantlement of all nuclear arsenals to zero total warheads by 2030,” with an accompanying comprehensive verification and enforcement system prohibiting the development and possession of nuclear weapons.

Apart from the “Alice in Wonderland” nature of this proposal, there is the sense that its advocates share a less than serious understanding of both the nature of U.S. deterrence needs, and the geopolitical balance between the United States and Russia, not amenable to international or treaty law.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

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About the Author: Peter Huessy is President of GeoStrategic Analysis of Potomac, Maryland.


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One Response to “Hagel’s “Global Zero” Plan”

  1. Senator Schumer is meeting with Chuck Hagel this week in private. Schumer should consider that Hagel does not believe that a military option is an option even if negotiations fail.

    He has recently changed his previous stated views on this issue to accept "all options are on the table", in order to advance his career. It means he now believes that it is expedient to use the threat as.
    a public lever in negotiations, but if negotiations fail, he would advise in private, that the US should allow a nuclear armed Iran.
    Many of those who are in favor of confirmation such as Nicholas Kristof, writing in the New York Times, have said the same thing. Iran certainly understands this, and is rooting for him.

    A nuclear Iran has sworn to eliminate Israel and every mosque in Iran has a poster "Death To Israel."

    After Iran drops an atomic bomb over Tel Aviv, the issue of whether Hagel is anti-Israel or pro-Israel becomes mute.

    Iran has a high tolerance for the deaths of huge numbers of people. The war between Iran and Iraq ostensibly over a territorial dispute concerning 0.1% of Iran's land mass had a million casualties.
    Iran has spread it's terror all over the globe and has murdered more than a thousand Americans.
    It's ideology is identical to Al Quaeda, amd certainly has America, the Great Satan in it's cross hairs.

    A Hagel confirmation kills any chance of Iran agreeing to stop it's nuclear weapons program through negotiations. why would they take the tremendous political risk of telling their people that years of sanctions privations was for nothing when they know their is no risk of an American military action?

    I believe President Obama's primary motivation in nominating Hagel is that he thinks he would help to deeply cut the Pentagon budget, and not to poke a finger in the eye of the pro-Israel constituency.
    But it is a very serious miscalculation of unintended consequences.
    Several Senators and Congresspeople have made exactly the same objections.
    The Senate should not confirm Hagel. Senators Gildebrand, Schumer. Lautenberg, Menendez, Boxer, Cardin and many more that take seriously the Iranian threat and have made promises to their constituents on this issue should vote no just for this reason.

    Senator Schumer should remember how the US government's policy against bombing Aushwitz are now eerily similar to this crucial moment.

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