Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Bush Legacy: National Security

In looking back at national security policies during the Bush Years, the Council for a Livable World provides “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

The Good

* For eight years, Congress stopped Bush proposals for a new generation of nuclear weapons, including small nuclear weapons, the Nuclear Bunker Buster (Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator) and the Reliable Replacement Warhead.

*The Bush Administration did not resume nuclear testing and did not withdraw the U.S. signature from the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The U.S. has not conducted a nuclear explosive test since 1992.

* Congress made some reductions in missile defense money and placed severe restrictions on the third missile defense site in Europe.

* After six years of refusing to talk with North Koreans and that country testing a nuclear device, the Administration has negotiated for the past two years and achieved some progress.

* In 2008, in one of the few instances in which we were able to cooperate with the Bush Administration, our community worked with the Administration to ensure funding was included in a Supplemental Appropriations Bill to help North Korea proceed with its end of the bargain. Congress approved $53 million for energy assistance to the Pyongyang regime and authorized another $10 million for dismantlement work.

* The four horsemen, Kissinger, Schultz, Perry and Nunn, have created the space for moving towards a world free of nuclear weapons that both Obama and McCain endorsed during the 2008 campaign.

* There was no war with Iran.

* Congress refused to fund the administration's plan to build a new facility to produce annually 125 to 200 plutonium "triggers" or pits for nuclear weapons; at one time, the Administration planned to produce 450 plutonium pits per year. Congress drastically cut funding for reprocessing U.S. and foreign nuclear waste as part of a Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) program.

* Congress rejected a Pentagon request to put conventional warheads on Trident nuclear-powered submarines.

The Bad

* The Bush Administration refused to request Congress approve ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

* The U.S.-India nuclear deal was approved and undermined anti-proliferation efforts.

* The Administration abrogated the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and began deployment of National Missile Defense in Alaska and California despite insufficient testing and no evidence that the system would work in realistic situations.

* The Administration undermined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by walking back from key promises the United States made in 1995 and 2000.

* The war in Iraq has continued for six years, and Congress was unable to end it.

* There were virtually no negotiations with Iran.

* There were eight years of unilateralism.

* The military budget has skyrocketed by 86% since 2001.

* Arms sales have dramatically increased. The United States’ share of the world arms trade has risen from 40 percent of arms deliveries in 2000 to nearly 52 percent in 2006. U.S. weapons exports rose about 45 percent to $33.7 billion in FY08, the highest total since 1993.

* The U.S. has failed to pay all its dues to the United Nations. In March 2008, the U.S. was $1.6 billion behind in its treaty obligations to the United Nations. The U.S.’s failure to pay its bills on time and in full could have a negative impact on key UN operations, including jeopardizing the 19 peacekeeping missions around the world.

* Congress continues to fund Cold War-era weapons systems, such as the F-22 Raptor, Virginia-class submarine and the V-22 Osprey, that have little purpose in the current security environment.

* The Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review expanded the possible use of nuclear weapons to counter terrorists and chemical and biological weapons attacks, and walked back from promises not to threaten to attack non-nuclear weapon states with nuclear weapons.

The Ugly

* The Treaty of Moscow (SORT) produced inadequate reductions in Russian and American nuclear weapons with no verification and excess weapons on storage.

* The was some progress made helping the former Soviet states dismantle nuclear weapons and nuclear delivery systems and safeguard their nuclear materials, but the Administration tried to cut funding for the program more than once. Congress added funding during several years and removed some bureaucratic restrictions that had hampered the program.

* Congress launched two reevaluations of U.S. nuclear weapons policy, but the Perry-Schlesinger commission may be too divided to produce any productive conclusions.

* The Bush administration has used the supplemental funding process to an alarming degree to fund ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that sets a dangerous precedent for the future and threatens to further weaken the already-flawed federal budgeting process.

* The weak Proliferation Security Initiative only established a framework, which can be built upon, to stop the spread of sensitive nuclear technologies and fissile material, specifically when these items are being transported.

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