Amid swiftly escalating tensions between Russia and the United States over the deteriorating situation in Syria and the South China Sea, the Pentagon announced this week it had tested two 700-pound dummy nuclear bombs in the Nevada desert.
Apparently conducted “earlier this month,” according to a press release from the National Nuclear Security Administration, the tests involved two U.S. Air Force B-2 bombers — the same jets it recently deployed to the South China Sea — dropping two ‘variants’ of the B61 without active nuclear warheads.
States the NNSA October 6 press release: “The primary objective of flight testing is to obtain reliability, accuracy, and performance data under operationally representative conditions. Such testing is part of the qualification process of current alterations and life extension programs for weapon systems.”
While the Obama administration has, indeed, allocated some $1 trillion to revamping and modernizing the U.S.’ nuclear weapons cache — providing a convenient and putatively innocuous reason for the tests — the complex military entanglement in Syria and heated standoff with China over territorial seas would appear a frighteningly more likely motive.
“We are countering Russia’s aggressive policies through investments in a broad range of capabilities … [including] our nuclear arsenal.”
To cite Russia as an aggressor — a characterization the chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, among many others, has deemed ridiculously unfounded — does more to prove the U.S. government is the obstinate aggressor than paint Putin in the negative light it has so propagandized.
Russia and the U.S. have undertaken nuclear arsenal modernization programs in what experts characterize as the new arms race.
“Both Russia and the United States are now officially and publicly using the other side as a justification for nuclear weapons modernization programs,” Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project, told the Intercept in a statement in February.
It is indeed possible this new amassing and revamping of nuclear weapons had been President Obama’s plan from the time he took office. Democracy Now! noted in April this year a statement the president delivered in his first address on the U.S.’ nuclear arsenal in Prague on April 5, 2009, with — considering current events — rather eerie foreshadowing:
“Today, the Cold War has disappeared but thousands of those weapons have not. In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up. More nations have acquired these weapons. Testing has continued. Black-market trade in nuclear secrets and nuclear materials abound.”
Obama has repeatedly vowed to work toward nuclear disarmament — and has heralded and championed the idea in other nations — but, as with countless other presidential promises, the calls ring hollow when the U.S. acts exactly in contradiction to its words.
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