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Fettweis, 11 Christopher J. Fettweis, Department of Political Science, Tulane University, 9/26/11, Free Riding or Restraint? Examining European Grand Strategy, Comparative Strategy, 30:316–332, EBSCO

It is perhaps worth noting that there is no evidence to support a direct relationship between the relative level of U.S. activism and international stability. In fact, the limited data we do have suggest the opposite may be true. During the 1990s, the United States cut back on its defense spending fairly substantially. By 1998, the United States was spending $100 billion less on defense in real terms than it had in 1990.51 To internationalists, defense hawks and believers in hegemonic stability, this irresponsible “peace dividend” endangered both national and global security. “No serious analyst of American military capabilities,” argued Kristol and Kagan, “doubts that the defense budget has been cut much too far to meet America’s responsibilities to itself and to world peace.”52 On the other hand, if the pacific trends were not based upon U.S. hegemony but a strengthening norm against interstate war, one would not have expected an increase in global instability and violence. The verdict from the past two decades is fairly plain: The world grew more peaceful while the United States cut its forces. No state seemed to believe that its security was endangered by a less-capable United States military, or at least none took any action that would suggest such a belief. No militaries were enhanced to address power vacuums, no security dilemmas drove insecurity or arms races, and no regional balancing occurred once the stabilizing presence of the U.S. military was diminished. The rest of the world acted as if the threat of international war was not a pressing concern, despite the reduction in U.S. capabilities. Most of all, the United States and its allies were no less safe. The incidence and magnitude of global conflict declined while the United States cut its military spending under President Clinton, and kept declining as the Bush Administration ramped the spending back up. No complex statistical analysis should be necessary to reach the conclusion that the two are unrelated. Military spending figures by themselves are insufficient to disprove a connection between overall U.S. actions and international stability. Once again, one could presumably argue that spending is not the only or even the best indication of hegemony, and that it is instead U.S. foreign political and security commitments that maintain stability. Since neither was significantly altered during this period, instability should not have been expected. Alternately, advocates of hegemonic stability could believe that relative rather than absolute spending is decisive in bringing peace. Although the United States cut back on its spending during the 1990s, its relative advantage never wavered. However, even if it is true that either U.S. commitments or relative spending account for global pacific trends, then at the very least stability can evidently be maintained at drastically lower levels of both. In other words, even if one can be allowed to argue in the alternative for a moment and suppose that there is in fact a level of engagement below which the United States cannot drop without increasing international disorder, a rational grand strategist would still recommend cutting back on engagement and spending until that level is determined. Grand strategic decisions are never final; continual adjustments can and must be made as time goes on. Basic logic suggests that the United States ought to spend the minimum amount of its blood and treasure while seeking the maximum return on its investment. And if the current era of stability is as stable as many believe it to be, no increase in conflict would ever occur irrespective of U.S. spending, which would save untold trillions for an increasingly debt-ridden nation. It is also perhaps worth noting that if opposite trends had unfolded, if other states had reacted to news of cuts in U.S. defense spending with more aggressive or insecure behavior, then internationalists would surely argue that their expectations had been fulfilled. If increases in conflict would have been interpreted as proof of the wisdom of internationalist strategies, then logical consistency demands that the lack thereof should at least pose a problem. As it stands, the only evidence we have regarding the likely systemic reaction to a more restrained United States suggests that the current peaceful trends are unrelated to U.S. military spending. Evidently the rest of the world can operate quite effectively without the presence of a global policeman. Those who think otherwise base their view on faith alone.

Deterrence Fails

Deterrence Fails – an effective US Nuclear arsenal is key, but is diminishing.

Monroe , 7-12 – [Robert R. Monroe, retired vice admiral in the U.S. Navy and a former director of the Defense Nuclear Agency, 7-12-2015, The Fading U.S. Nuclear Deterrent The next president must restore America’s aging arsenal to face a world of new atomic threats. The Wall Street Journal,] Jeong

None of the presidential candidates is talking about it, but one of the most important issues in the 2016 election should be the precarious decline of America’s nuclear forces. When the Cold War ended in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the U.S. began a debilitating nuclear freeze, establishing ever-broader antinuclear policies and largely ignoring the growing threat posed by these massively destructive weapons. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military strategy focuses on early use of these weapons in conflicts large and small. China is in the midst of an immense strategic modernization. India and Pakistan are expanding and improving their nuclear arsenals. North Korea issues nuclear threats almost weekly. The Mideast is dissolving into chaos, and Iran’s advanced nuclear-weapons program has been on the front pages for two years. To address these multiplying threats, U.S. nuclear policy must undergo radical changes. Because policies as important as this require White House and congressional agreement and the support of the American people, a full-scale national debate is essential. I propose we begin with the following five changes: • Discard President Obama’s goal of a “world without nuclear weapons.” Such an impossible vision can be expressed as a hope, but as U.S. policy it is nonsensical and terribly damaging. America’s pre-eminent national goal—on which U.S. survival depends—must be paramount nuclear-weapons strength. Since the dawn of the nuclear era, 12 U.S. presidents—six Democrats and six Republicans—have specifically stated nuclear superiority as U.S. policy. Mr. Obama reversed it upon taking office and has accelerated the deterioration of America’s nuclear arsenal. • A return to legitimate deterrence in U.S. foreign policy. Deterrence is based on fear. You threaten your adversary with intolerable consequences if he does not comply with your demands. Then, through reinforcing actions, you convince him that you have the will and capability to carry out your threat. For five Cold War decades the daily practice of deterrence kept the U.S. safe from Soviet attack and the devastation of nuclear war. But for the past two decades nuclear deterrence has been missing from the U.S. toolbox. Bring it back. • Establish effective, rather than counterproductive, nonproliferation policies. The proliferation of nuclear weapons is a threat like no other. Yet for decades U.S. nonproliferation policy has been misguided and inept. Our leaders have passively allowed the valuable Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which entered into force in 1970, to be distorted into a useless nuclear-disarmament treaty. Most important, we’ve failed to emphasize—nationally and internationally—that nonproliferation requires enforcement. Hand-wringing and sanctions won’t work. There must be a cop on the beat, and military force must be used if necessary. Finally, our attempted nuclear agreement with Iran is counterproductive; if signed it will trigger a global cascade of proliferation. • Modernize America’s nuclear arsenal. President Obama’s policy doesn’t permit research, design, testing or production of new, advanced nuclear weapons. Our current nuclear weapons—strategic and tactical—were designed and built decades ago to meet different threats, and have gone untested for decades. With great urgency, the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration must be freed to produce an entirely new nuclear-weapons stockpile, including specialized low-yield advanced weapons. Production and testing facilities—atrophying for decades—must also be built on an accelerated schedule. • Also with great urgency, recover the Pentagon’s nuclear-weapons capabilities. These have also suffered from Mr. Obama’s policies. Hundreds of nuclear-weapons specialists have left the U.S. government without replacement. Research into the effects of nuclear weapons, a critical field of military study, is virtually nonexistent. Nuclear-weapons strategy and tactics are rarely included in military exercises. Worse, U.S. leaders have failed to plan and budget for the next generation of nuclear-delivery systems—intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and bombers. If these policies seem tough, recall that the U.S. observed them all for a half-century, just a generation ago. Today’s nuclear threats are as dangerous as those during the Cold War. Change can’t wait. Even if reform begins in 2017 under the next administration, it will take decades to regain America’s once dominant nuclear capabilities and re-establish a viable policy of deterrence.

Deterrence is ineffective – Lacks modernization and credibility

Murdock and Karako, 7-13 – [Clark Murdock, Senior Advisor, Thomas Karako, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 7-13-2015, Commentary: Sustaining Nuclear Deterrence Requires New Capabilities, Defense News,] Jeong

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter recently visited Berlin to assure allies that the US would deter aggression. NATO leaders are worried that Russia might invade the Baltics in a Crimea-style fait accompli, and then threaten nuclear escalation unless the alliance backs down. Moscow's treaty violations and "nuclear sabre rattling," Carter warned, raise "questions about Russia's commitment to strategic stability" and to "the profound caution that world leaders in the nuclear age have shown over decades to the brandishing of nuclear weapons." This is but the latest confirmation that we've entered a new nuclear ageone characterized by different rules, more actors, less predictability and the paradox that America's conventional superiority may make deterrence harder. After noting that opponents might be tempted to employ nuclear weapons to overcome conventional inferiority, the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review observed that US nuclear forces should deter nuclear-armed adversaries from escalating their way out of failed conventional aggression. "Escalate to de-escalate" tactics have already been publicly embraced by Russia but could also be used by North Korea or China. Instead of graduated rungs along an "escalation ladder," adversaries may well be tempted to lower their nuclear thresholds to forestall conventional defeat. Last November, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called nuclear deterrence the department's "highest priority mission." But it is official US policy to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons and pursue a world without nuclear weapons. This may weaken nuclear deterrence because allies and adversaries will wonder how the US might respond to limited nuclear employment. Plotting to offset US conventional superiority has prompted some states, like North Korea and Iran, to pursue nuclear weapons, and others, like Russia, to increase their reliance on nuclear weapons. To keep the nuclear threshold elevated in the minds of potential adversaries, the US must have more flexible and credible means to control escalation. The distinction between strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons is long obsolete. Any use of a nuclear weapon could have profound strategic effects. In a new report, "Project Atom," we recommend that in addition to retaining our traditional strategic deterrent, the US needs to acquire nuclear capabilities that enable it to respond proportionately to employment of a nuclear weapon. Specifically, the US should develop options for more forward-deployed assets and more discriminate weapons. Proliferation by Iran or others could strain extended deterrence and invite allies to re-evaluate their non-nuclear status. During the Cold War, large-scale conventional aggression was not deterred by US or NATO declaratory policy, but by the significant presence of nuclear weapons in Europe and the Pacific. Establishing credibility may require greater nuclear burden-sharing and forward-basing. Nuclear submarines and ICBMs should remain the highly survivable foundation of US deterrence. Dual-capable F-35s on land and aboard carriers would provide forward-based or rapidly deployable aircraft. Penetrating bombers remain a visible complement to both missions. More discriminate weapons may be needed. The future B61 gravity bomb will retain lower-yield options and no longer require a parachute for delivery, catching up to 1990s JDAM-like guidance. Credibility would be further enhanced through low-yield weapons deliverable across the triad, as well as additional nuclear-capable standoff cruise missiles from air, sea and land. But new thinking from Washington is also required. Both statutory restrictions and policy limitations prevent the US from developing new weapons, components, missions or capabilities. The average weapon in today's stockpile is over 28 years old. Current modernization plans will further limit options, since there is no path to replace the B61-11 earth penetrator. In the near term, the national laboratories could be freed to begin researching new designs for lower cost; more safety, security and reliability; lower yields; and other effects. After a long procurement holiday, the US deterrent is now entering a bow wave of investment and recapitalization. Over the next two decades, a new set of post-Cold War delivery systems will be built, and many of today's weapons will be life-extended. Infrastructure modernization is also badly overdue; uranium facilities in Tennessee, for instance, date to the Manhattan Project. Current modernization plans are critical just to retain current capabilities, and avoid disarmament by rust. While requiring 3 to 6 percent of the defense budget over the next decade, these investments should be made with an eye to future geostrategic realities. Broadening options available to a president would strengthen US extended deterrence, discourage proliferation among allies and communicate that there are no potential gaps for adversaries to exploit. This is not about "war fighting" or making weapons "more usable," but making deterrence more credible. Failure to adapt to new realities could invite nuclear use by creating false perceptions that the US would be self-deterred. Our conventional superiority tempts our adversaries into lowering their nuclear thresholds. A newer, more flexible and more credible US nuclear deterrent designed for 21st century challenges would raise that threshold and help make nuclear employment less attractive.

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