National Security Experts

Contributor

David Krieger

Biography provided by participant

Dr. David Krieger is a founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and has served as its president since 1982. He is the author or editor of 15 books and hundreds of articles. He has lectured throughout the United States, Europe and Asia on issues of peace, security, international law, and the abolition of nuclear weapons. He is a Councilor of the World Future Council and his latest book is The Challenge of Abolishing Nuclear Weapons.

Recent Responses

November 10, 2010 03:29 PM

My impression of President Obama's trip to Asia is that he has unfortunately gone as chief arms salesman to new frontiers. This says much more about the US than it does about Asia. First, Congress allocates much of our discretionary income, more than half, to strengthening our military and bolstering our armaments, and then our President flies off to Asia to boost the sales of tanks, planes and missiles to client states. We call it geopolitics, but at its heart it is about greed and gluttony. Asian economies seem vibrant. Ours seems stuck in the mud of militarism.

America's needless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are reducing us to a second or third rate power, a helpless giant. China is one beneficiary of our wasteful militaristic policies. India and other Asian countries could be as well, if they resist the temptation to purchase our second-hand military hardware and follow our lead into unnecessary and illegal wars. If the United States still wishes to be respected in the world it needs to return to the basics of democracy, human rights, the rule of law and inter

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October 5, 2010 07:33 PM

Regarding nuclear weapons, the US message to Iran has been “do as we say, not as we do.” We tell Iran that they cannot have nuclear weapons, but we do so in the context of relying upon these weapons for our own security and being silent about Israel’s nuclear arsenal. This is clearly an irksome double standard for Iran, one that would be far easier to tolerate if the US showed it was serious about eliminating its own nuclear arsenal and pressuring the other nuclear weapons states, including Israel, to do the same.

Further, Iran was one of three countries, along with Iraq and North Korea, named by George W. Bush as belonging to an Axis of Evil. We invaded Iraq, which had no nuclear weapons, and negotiated with North Korea, which does have them. Our behavior, on its face, would seem to be an incentive to countries not on friendly terms with the US to develop nuclear arms and justify their actions in the name of national security.

US saber rattling must give pause to Iran and, for that reason, Iran will likely stop short of actually creating nuclea

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September 14, 2010 05:11 PM

The New START agreement, signed by US President Obama and Russian President Medvedev, is not a major leap forward toward nuclear disarmament. Its goals are far more modest than needed, but they are still crucial. For the Senate to turn down ratification of the treaty would be a disaster for the country and the world, opening the door to new arms races and to new justifications for nuclear proliferation.

The treaty will reduce the number of deployed strategic warheads on each side to 1,550 and the number of deployed delivery vehicles to 700 for each country. The treaty will also provide for verification procedures to assure compliance. Since the expiration of the START I agreement in December 2009, there has been no agreement on verification procedures between the two countries.

President Obama has preemptively sought to buy off the Republicans in the Senate by promising an additional $80 billion for nuclear weapons over the next decade and another $100 billion for nuclear weapons delivery systems. This commitment by the President is unfortunate as it will

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September 7, 2010 02:22 PM

It is impossible to predict what the US troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan will be in a year. Where they should be is another matter. Our continued troop presence in Iraq is presumably based on the fact that we broke it (Iraq civil society) and now must continue to try to put it back together. By any measure, we've made things worse in Iraq than they were before we illegally invaded and occupied the country. It is unclear that our troops are serving any meaningful purpose now in the country. They should be withdrawn and we should provide the Iraqis with sufficient funding to rebuild the infrastructure that we destroyed during the war. The number of US troops in Iraq at the end of 2011 should be zero, but I doubt that it will be.

In Afghanistan, the number of US troops at the end of 2011 should also be zero. There is no rational national security interest that the US is achieving there by military means. Nor do we have any chance of “winning” in Afghanistan, whatever that means. We need to stop sacrificing young Americans and foreign nationals in

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August 13, 2010 04:10 PM

The US military budget is way out of proportion to our national budget, our needs as a country and the threats that confront us. In fact, the military budget may be the greatest single threat to the future of the United States. We now spend well over $700 billion a year on “defense,” more than the rest of the world (including our allies) combined, or nearly so. The US military budget dwarfs education, health care, and other social needs. In light of this, the DOD's plan to save $100 Billion over five years is paltry and largely insignificant.

US citizens need to be asking why it is that we take such good care of the military with our taxes and such minimal care of our citizens in need. We currently spend more than $50 billion a year on nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, weapons that cannot be used without destroying ourselves in the process. If we wanted to be serious about reducing the military budget, we could start with abandoning plans to modernize our nuclear arsenal for $80 billion over the next 10 years and improving de

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July 30, 2010 03:50 PM

The US and South Korea do risk going too far in provoking North Korea, and it is creating a lose-lose situation on the Korean Peninsula. We are boxing the North Koreans into a corner and making them more dangerous. The US has been too focused on military solutions and sanctions with the North Koreans. We need a softer approach. The North Koreans have repeatedly asked for two things from us -- development assistance and security guarantees. Both would be far more generally effective, cost effective and safer than continually flexing our muscles and threatening them. We have started down this path in the past, but have always faltered.

War games off the North Korean coastline are not likely to make them feel more secure. Sanctions will only increase their economic woes and also add to their insecurity. It is long past time for the US to show its generous and gracious side to the North Koreans. Our challenge is to turn an enemy nation into a friend. It is within our capabilities to do so, but not by military means or harsh economic sanctions, which will only exaspe

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June 14, 2010 12:38 PM

I believe America's alliances are fraying. We have asked too much of our allies, by twisting their arms to engage in unnecessary and illegal wars. We have asked our allies to contribute their soldiers and resources to wars of our choosing. We have shown poor leadership in the world by failing to seek effective solutions to longstanding and festering problems. We have continued to pour our own resources into the preparation for war and into wars. And we have demanded this of our allies, rather than seeking and finding cooperative solutions to global problems. We have become so accustomed to using the military as our solution of choice that we have lost track of what we are seeking to accomplish in the world. We have treated our allies more as vassals than partners. A good example of our rigidity was the manner in which we rebuffed Brazil and Turkey when they sought a solution to Iran's uranium enrichment.

Before our alliances further deteriorate and fall apart, it is time to rethink our goals and our means of achieving them. We can no longer lead by bullying and

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May 17, 2010 02:16 PM

Yes, President Karzai should be talking to the Taliban and so should the U.S. It is late in the game to be talking, but it is a game that is going nowhere and the deaths and injuries are continuing to increase. It will be hard to hold meaningful talks, though, without knowing what it is we are seeking to achieve in Afghanistan. I don't think we know. We are just using our most expensive tool, our military forces, to try to solve a problem that it cannot solve. In the end, our war in Iraq has led to nothing but tragedy and untold suffering, and the war in Afghanistan is proving to be more of the same. We can't send our military to take down every regime we don't like or to prop up every regime we think is preferable. This has never worked out well in the past, and there is no reason to think it will be different now or in the future. Before we cause our own military irreparable damage, and thus our capacity for real defense, we should remove our troops from Afghanistan as gracefully as possible. If grace is not possible, more sacrifice for an uncertain cause will only inc

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April 12, 2010 07:23 AM

President Obama is on the right track with his multiple efforts to reduce nuclear dangers. I only wish that it were a faster track and reflected a greater sense of urgency. His policies take account of some important current realities: The Cold War has ended (20 years ago); the greatest threat confronting the US and the world is no longer all-out nuclear war, but nuclear proliferation and nuclear-armed terrorists; and the United States has obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to engage in “good faith” negotiations to achieve total nuclear disarmament.

The Obama administration made a smart move by ruling out using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states that are in compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It could have gone further, though. While the administration surely sees its posture as a useful threat for states not in compliance, this is a two-edged sword. Such threats also send a message to the rest of the world that the US still finds nuclear weapons useful and is willing to threaten their use. This continued reliance

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April 5, 2010 02:26 PM

What do we do about Hamid Karzai? This strikes me as an imperial question, one which should give us serious pause to think about what we are doing in Afghanistan. I think the right questions here are: What are we doing in Afghanistan? Should we be there at all? And, can our goals (whatever they are) be accomplished by military means? The answer is that our goals are fuzzy, no strong argument has been made to support our presence there, and even our military leaders in the region do not think that our goals there (perhaps they know what they are) can be accomplished by military means. Are we still fighting “global terrorism” in Afghanistan? Are we trying to eradicate the Taliban? Are we fighting there for justice? If so, whose justice? Are we trying to keep an American military presence in the region close to Pakistan? Are we so addicted to militarism that we just need to maintain a war zone now that we are pulling out of Iraq?

In the midst of such fuzziness, one imperial possibility is to find a new leader for their country who is more to our liking, b

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March 27, 2010 04:38 PM

General Petraeus has command responsibility to speak out on what contributes to peace in the region of his command before war breaks out. If he is aware of issues contributing to the possibility of war, he should make his voice heard through his chain of command before war results. I would prefer to see military leaders support the peace process than to be silent when the result may be war. Israel, under Netanyahu's leadership, is fomenting conflict throughout the Middle East by moving forward with new settlements on disputed territory. It is doing this in a way that is insulting to the United States and to high-level US officials, as well as to the Palestinians. I see it as a positive to have a US military commander speak out for peace and a settlement to the longest standing and most dangerous of all global conflicts. US policy makers need to stop kowtowing to men like Netanyahu, who do not respect the peace process and provoke further violence and war.

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March 9, 2010 05:18 PM

Gates is dead wrong, as in the death of many young soldiers and even greater numbers of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. The reluctance and more civilized perspective of European countries could be a plus for US national security in applying a brake on the aggressive impulses of Gates and others (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice come readily to mind), if we would actually listen to the Europeans and not spend so much effort twisting their arms to accompany us into needless wars. In the first decade of the 21st century, the US has initiated unnecessary and highly costly wars, which have diminished our security. Most of Europe, with the glaring exception of Tony Blair, seemed to prefer avoiding war in Iraq. It was the US that pressed for this needless war, a war that has cost us dearly in terms of lives, resources and credibility. The Obama administration is now claiming the Afghanistan War for its own, and driving up the costs of this war, with virtually no foreseeable gains for our security.

The US needs to be listening more and to stop being so trigger-happy when it c

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February 27, 2010 06:53 PM

In reflecting on the Iraq War, the concept of "aggressive war" comes foremost to my mind. The war was neither a war of self-defense, nor one authorized by the United Nations Security Council. As such, its perpetrators committed what the US chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, US Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, considered the most serious of all international crimes, that of aggression. Jackson said in his opening remarks to the tribunal, "Our position is that whatever grievances a nation may have, however objectionable it finds the status quo, aggressive warfare is an illegal means for settling those grievances or for altering those conditions." A tragic and, I believe, shameful consequence of the Iraq War is that our country has proven indifferent to the standards that we so strongly supported at Nuremberg, when these standards have been violated by our own leaders.

Many Iraqi lives were lost, many Iraqis lost loved ones, many were displaced from their homes and from their country. The war cannot in any sense be judged worthwhile to these Iraqis.

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