On February 7 in Bedford, New Hampshire, I asked Senator Marco Rubio if he would stand up against the military contractors making billions of dollars from the Pentagon’s massive increase of spending on nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, Rubio responded by echoing his earlier statement endorsing the Pentagon’s plans, stating that the U.S. needs to “modernize” its nuclear forces in order to keep pace with Russia and China.
In defense of maintaining the U.S. deterrent, Rubio commented that any nation that believes it can win a nuclear war will start one. Has he considered that this possibility may apply to the U.S. as we continue to develop ever more sophisticated warheads and delivery vehicles? Many analysts believe that because the new B-61-12 warhead has higher accuracy and lower yield than other warheads, military planners will be more likely to use it.
Rubio also talked about the dangers of nuclear proliferation, citing North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, and India. But he failed to explain how boosting U.S. nuclear spending would slow down proliferation. He ignored the fact that, as possessors of the world’s largest nuclear arsenals, the U.S. and Russia have a responsibility under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Only when this happens can other powers be persuaded to abandon their nuclear ambitions.
Rubio also called for Pentagon procurement reform and endorsed a missile defense shield.