American politicians run counter to their constituencies when it comes to nuclear weapons... This is precisely the conclusion that can be made by reading the reports on sociological research in the United States on some important issues of strategic stability.
"Also, I believe the Minuteman should be destroyed."
The Democratic Party of the United States, its voters and political activists, and the Republican Party of the United States and its voters and political activists are competing more and more fiercely within the country, and their confrontation has long gone from the stage of the usual struggle of the Nanai boys under the carpet, and more and more looks like a situation civil conflict or even war (recall the recent events and the "Negromaidan" unleashed by the democrats and Biden's entourage). And their official positions and behavior in general are such that they increasingly seem to be worlds far from each other. However, as polls show, with regard to nuclear weapons and attitudes towards them, the opinions of voters of these parties are practically identical and differ only in percentage.
According to a new report from the University of Maryland Public Consultation Program, 61 percent of Americans, including both the Democratic and Republican communities, that is, the majority, are in favor of phasing out the "obsolete fleet" of US ICBMs, now 400 single-shot "Minuteman-3" mine basing. And in general, for abandoning the ground component of the strategic nuclear triad. This conclusion is both unexpected and remarkable in that it directly contradicts the current plan to spend more than $ 100 billion (much more - the price of the program is growing by leaps and bounds) on the development, testing and production and subsequent deployment of new GBSD ICBMs. That is, the opinion of voters directly contradicts the opinion of the US leadership, the Pentagon and the Capitol (although there is a very strong opposition to this project, constantly putting a spoke in the wheel). The survey, entitled "The General Position of the American People," is a compilation of studies from the past five years that collected data from nearly 86 people.
Moreover, the methodology of the survey was such that it seemed to put the respondents in the shoes of the politicians themselves: they were first given a certain squeeze on this issue, then the argumentation of various political forces and politicians, experts, and then their opinion was asked. The unique survey methodology is very revealing, as it allows readers of the report to see which arguments were considered most or less convincing and by whom. For example, the Republicans preferred the proposal to phase out ICBMs while maintaining the same number of deployed warheads on other carriers, while Democrats preferred the proposal to phase out ICBMs and reduce the arsenal to fewer deployed warheads. That is, approximately the same thing that Obama tried to achieve from Russia at one time with proposals to "further reduce levels" on START III, and at the same time the United States discussed a proposal to abandon the ground component and unilaterally reduce the crediting charges of strategic nuclear forces to about 3 1000. This topic was exaggerated almost until the very elections of 1100, despite the hysteria about "Russian aggression" in Syria, Crimea, or Donbass. It is clear why this is so: the problems of the US nuclear weapons complex are not a secret for specialists, as well as for those interested in the issue.
The logic of "refuseniks" from ICBMs is stupid in fact, but useful for us
But the main finding of the survey study is that, regardless of how the phase-out of the ground-based component of the US strategic nuclear forces occurs, 69 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Republicans agree that the ground-based portion of the nuclear triad should be completely eliminated. The logic of the "refuseniks" is about the same as that of American researchers in the field of strategic stability, who are mostly Democrats and adhere to a policy of further reduction of US arsenals: ICBMs are outdated, destabilizing and very expensive. In their opinion, ICBMs are largely remnants of the Cold War, when the United States and the USSR were equally afraid of a surprise nuclear attack. They consider it obsolete the thesis that the possession of large arsenals of ICBMs as weapons with the highest reaction rate and the minimum (for our systems - literally tens of seconds for mine and a few minutes for mobile ICBMs) preparation time for launch, keeps the enemy from a sudden massive nuclear missile strike ( SLBMs do not have such operational efficiency, though). They say that in today's multipolar nuclear environment, the likelihood of such an attack is extremely small, and therefore ICBMs are no longer of great strategic value. Given the abundance of more flexible options in the American arsenal, US Strategic Command would certainly turn to nuclear bombers or submarines rather than ICBMs in the event of a low-risk nuclear crisis. Of course, this opinion is absolute nonsense, but for us Russians, of course, it is useful when such delusions are spreading among our main enemy. But let's continue.
In addition, the "refuseniks" believe that the "innate vulnerability" of the ICBM group actually creates psychological pressure, forcing it to be used immediately and first in the event of a crisis. They believe that ICBMs deployed throughout the United States are “use or lose” weapons. In the event of a false alarm, accident, or miscalculation, this pressure to “use them” could inadvertently trigger a nuclear war. No other nuclear weapon in the US nuclear arsenal has such destabilizing psychological pressure, in their opinion. And this is definitely nonsense. Maybe the Minutemans in their rather weakly protected silos in comparison with ours and those who do not have such advanced launch support systems even after a strike on the installation itself (cutting and filling systems and other ways to get out of the grave and take revenge) are also “vulnerable”. Although this vulnerability is very relative. But the Russian silos, however, not all, but many, even in the case of a direct hit on them (a direct hit of a nuclear weapon in a silo means that the installation got into the crater formation zone after the explosion at least partially) have a survival rate, let's say, very distant from zero. And for their reliable defeat, the enemy needs to spend not even 2 BB, one after the other, but at least 3. There is nothing to say about the "innate vulnerability" of mobile complexes. In addition, the survival rate of bombers is even lower, they are highly dependent on airfields, and they cannot be dispersed on every alternate airfield, and you cannot plant them on a road or ground. Yes, and not everything is in order with the boats, especially when they are in the base - there their vulnerability is extremely high, and they will definitely try to use them immediately from the berth as soon as possible. In general, SSBNs are to a large extent a weapon not only for a retaliatory and deep retaliatory strike, but also for the first, especially a sudden one. But the voter in the United States does not understand such matters. Nobody is going to ask our voter what he thinks on such specific issues.
Quite rightly (but not for "refuseniks"), the Pentagon argues that ICBMs are needed as a "hedge of risk" in case (more precisely, when) the enemy's technical progress (read: "Poseidons") suddenly makes the US SSBN vulnerable. However, the 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review denies the very possibility of this, and Congress on this basis "squeezed" money for the development of a mobile version of GBSD. The "refuseniks" claim that American boats are very quiet and will become quieter, and therefore they are not in danger. In general, if you feed the whole world with myths about the exclusivity of yourself, then you yourself will believe in them first.
Honest non-corruption sawing
Well, the main argument of the "refuseniks" is much more prosaic: replacing the Minuteman-3 ICBMs with new missiles would be extremely expensive. The latest estimate for ground-based strategic deterrence, as the replacement program is called, is approximately $ 100 billion. In fact, these costs are expected to rise further, given that the contract will be awarded exclusively to Northrop Grumman after Lockheed Martin was kicked out of the competition and Boeing pulled out of the competition. The chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee called the development “very worrying,” and the single-party contract even prompted a FTC investigation into Boeing's accusations of anti-competitive behavior. But it looks like their own people will cover their own. people and the matter will end in nothing.
If a new poll demonstrating that both Democrats and Republicans want to abandon MDBs altogether, then why is this $ 100 billion project still moving forward and funded? This question is asked by voters, experts, and social scientists from Maryland. In the midst of elections, a recession and a devastating pandemic, it seems to them that common sense is to at least hold on to the GBSD program. Matt Korda of the Federation of American Scientists writes that the arms contractors' vigorous lobbying efforts have hampered public scrutiny of the program. And that Northrop-Grumman spent more than $ 162 million on lobbying between 2008 and 2018, with the bulk of the contributions going to members of the “IDB Team,” a coalition of senators from the states where the IDBs are deployed. (In the United States, "there is no corruption" - any liberal in Russia will tell you that.)
In 2018, these lobbying efforts helped "kill" an amendment to the law that required a feasibility study to extend the life of current ICBMs, rather than build new ones. This has led to the suppression of public debate about the future of the ICBM and the fact that supporters of the program simply keep the voter in the dark like a champignon mushroom and feed what mushrooms are fed (in the American proverb). In general, of course, it is clear that if the Americans do not develop a new ICBM now, then in 15-20 years it will be much more difficult for them to do this - the gap in the generations of developers and production workers will be terrible, they will have to learn to do everything from scratch.
The University of Maryland report offers a new tool to tackle nuclear businessmen. The poll shows that corporate lobbying and “special interests” alienate the public from its elected representatives and further divide the two political parties. However, the study clearly shows that without monetary interests, Democrats and Republicans agree on key issues far more than one would think, and than their party leaders agree. And in this particular case, it is clear that most of both sides want to gradually abandon ICBMs. We, of course, support this positive unilateral process, and the "lame" triad (more precisely, the dyad) of US strategic nuclear forces will suit us much more. If this ever happens, politicians in the United States listen to voters very selectively.
The US is populated by nuclear pacifists, but ruled by nuclear hawks
But the voters of the two largest parties want to give up not only the MDBs. Another Gallup poll ahead of the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shows that 75% of Americans approve of the strikes, and 69% say that building nuclear weapons was a good thing. At the same time, according to the Chicago Research Council, the new arms race is recognized as a critical threat to the United States, 55% among Democrats, 43% of Republicans and 46% among supporters of the Independents. Moreover, according to the same Council, the question "Who should own nuclear weapons?" answered as follows: 11% of all respondents (19% of Republicans, 7% of Democrats and 8% of independents) chose the option "Only the United States and its allies should be allowed to have nuclear weapons." Dreaming is not harmful! Further, 15% of all voters (21% of Republicans, 9% of Democrats and 17% of independents) chose the "status quo" option, that is, "Only countries that already have nuclear weapons should continue to own them." That is, a non-proliferation option. Very few, 7% of all (5% of voters in the two large old parties and 10% of independent ones) chose the option "Any country that is capable of developing nuclear weapons can own them," that is, "nuclear libertarianism." But the most sensational answer, "No country should have nuclear weapons," was chosen by 66% of all Americans (54% Republicans, 78% Democrats, and 64% independents). Moreover, this poll showed almost the same results both 15 and 10 years ago, except that there were slightly fewer supporters of "complete refusal". And in other Council polls, more than two-thirds of Americans from 2 to 3 consistently responded that nonproliferation should be the foundation of American foreign policy.
The only problem is that the actions of the American administrations are much less reasonable than the opinions of ordinary voters, many of whom even Russia and China, about which they are constantly buzzing in their ears with all sorts of nasty things, will not be found on the map on the first try. And they wanted to sneeze at these voters. Although many are also confused in the world map.