USA plans to spend at least $1,000,000,000,000 on preparations for nuclear war over the next 30 years

According to Jon B. Wolfsthal, Jeffrey Lewis and Marc Quint in “The trillion dollar nuclear triad: US strategic nuclear modernization over the next thirty years”

The United States maintains a robust nuclear arsenal deployed on a triad of strategic delivery systems, including land- and submarine-based long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear-capable bombers. In addition, it also has a significant number of nonstrategic and nondeployed warheads not constrained by US-Russian arms control treaties. Over the next thirty years, the United States plans to spend approximately $1 trillion maintaining the current arsenal, buying replacement systems, and upgrading existing nuclear bombs and warheads.

and

The United States is on course to spend approximately $1 trillion dollars over the next thirty years to maintain its current nuclear arsenal and procure a new generation of nuclear-armed or nuclear-capable bombers, submarines, SLBMs, and ICBMs. While to some these costs may seem large, previous efforts to build the triad have been similarly expensive. In almost all cases, we have chosen to leave out categories of costs that could not be accurately identified, but that clearly exist and are part of the nuclear deterrent. In addition, the estimates above do not include the cost increases over the current projections provided by the DOD or DOE, Congressional Budget Office, or Government Accountability Office, even though military procurement programs often experience budget increases — sometimes significant increases over 50 percent of the original estimated cost. Most significantly, the estimate omits “legacy” costs associated with dismantling retired weapon systems and supporting retired workers and veterans — including long-term pension and healthcare costs — because these costs are not readily identifiable in budget documents.

According to USA President Dwight D. Eisenhower half a century ago

What can the world, or any nation in it, hope for if no turning is found on this dread road?

The worst to be feared and the best to be expected can be simply stated.

The worst is atomic war.

The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. These plain and cruel truths define the peril and point to the hope that comes with this spring of 1953.

This is one of those times in the affairs of nations when the gravest choices must be made, if there is to be a turning toward a just and lasting peace. It is a moment that calls upon the governments of the world to speak their intentions with simplicity and with honesty. It calls upon them to answer the questions that stirs the hearts of all sane men: is there no other way the world may live?

At best it’s a grotesque waste of “the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children”. At worst it’s a “ton of graveyard earth”.

According to Bright Star Sound

Few people know of him … yet conceivably hundreds of millions of people are alive because of him. Stanislav Petrov, a retired Soviet military officer, is credited with preventing the start of World War III and the nuclear devastation of much of the Earth.

That’s why in 1984 the Soviet Union built a doomsday machine called Perimeter, to prevent launch on false warning.

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1 Comment

  1. That’s a fantastic quote from Ike that I’ve never seen before. It touches the political third rail of economic reality: stating what resource squandering means in everyday terms. There is another category of quieter hero of the late 1950s and early 60s from the world of applied mathematics. The reconstituted intelligence services of those early Cold War years, in addition to spawning “secret agents” of dubious repute, funded strategic think tanks, including the first of the “game theorists” at RAND Corporation. John Nash, Thomas Schelling, Daniel Ellsberg, Marvin Drescher, and a few others wrote about and advised US leaders on the Strategy of Conflict. It is hard to portray what their precise impact was, but prior to and during the Cuban Missile crisis of 1962, most Americans, indeed many military strategists were unable to inter-relate the choices to be made about the rate of Soviet defections in Berlin vs the desire to restore a US puppet regime in Cuba, and what that might have to do with the prospect of nuclear war. Their influence gave McNamara the understanding to think of the small maneuvering of blockade ships as a “language” of signalling about intentions and capabilities, and gave Kennedy the presence of mind to accept the appearance of the Berlin Wall as a de-escalation of conflict when to all appearances it stood for oppression and insult. In the end, then, it was a kind of perfection of the economics of sustained conflict across a very broad game board that held the world in a stalemate of subsiding terror for decades thereafter. One might also include Timothy Leary in this category, as it seems he may have had some input toward Kennedy’s Peace speech at American University in 1963, a speech which answers Ike’s with a less despairing repertoire of game moves.

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