How low can you go? That's the central question of nuclear arms reduction. How low can the U.S. strategic arsenal be reduced while still maintaining enough deterrent strength to dissuade any enemy from even thinking about launching a nuclear attack on the United States?
The Associated Press reports that President Obama and his advisers currently are weighing this question once again. The low range would leave the United States with 300-400 strategic warheads. However, the president is more likely to choose a modest proposal that would leave 1,000-1,100 warheads, according to the AP. If that is truly the choice, the president should be bold and go for the lower numbers.
Why? The National Academy of Sciences concluded in 1997 that 300 warheads would be enough for any nuclear power to maintain a credible deterrent without the added danger and expense of maintaining a larger arsenal. The only nations in the world with more nuclear weapons than this are the United States and Russia. The optimum, then, would be for both powers to agree on a 300-warhead limit.