The ultimate failure of President Barak Obama’s questionable, flawed foreign policy is likely to be an increase in nuclear state proliferation in the Middle East and Asia.

North Korea by all accounts is readying for a nuclear test within days and Iran in the next few years at the most. Both are in the process of working on miniaturizing a nuclear weapon for deployment in a warhead, and both are working on long-range Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capability to strike the United States. Many observers believe that Obama should have taken tougher stances with both rogue states and stopped their strategic weapons programs. In terms of Iran, some observers believe that the Obama gave them a roadmap, timeline, and generally a free hand to fielding a nuclear-armed strategic missile force. None of this is a surprise, but take a report today, that warned that Saudi Arabia was developing a military nuclear program under the guise of a civilian program to counter and deter Iran within the Persian Gulf region. The Obama administration in legitimizing the Iranian nuclear program failed to understand the Middle East balance of power, in that it took the regional balance to favor Israel, and so strengthened Iran, when it should have strengthened Saudi Arabia.

Now according to the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington D.C.-based think-tank, Saudi Arabia is believed to be seeking nuclear weapons to deter Iran, as the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal approaches the end of its term. Saudi Arabia has stated plans to build at least 16 nuclear reactors in the next decade. An un-named European official confirmed in 2014 that Saudi Arabia was pursuing the "scientific and engineering expertise necessary to take command of all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle." In real terms, Saudi Arabia is believed to be acquiring nuclear facilities, partnering with states such as Russia, South Korea, Pakistan and China for nuclear technology, and developing a multi-layered staff of nuclear engineers and scientists to complete the program. Most observers forget that Saudi Arabia has old Chinese nuclear capable DF-3 (CSS-2) Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBM) and DF-21 (CSS-5) Medium Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBM) in the desert in hardened silos. Their IRBM and MRBM force’s current operational status is unclear.

Furthermore, you only have to turn to the Pacific, and the increased strategic threat posed by both North Korea and China to their neighbors, to see the next three most likely states to move towards strategic nuclear weapons capability. Similarly to Iran, the United States should have spent their time strengthening their key allies in the region South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Spurred on by North Korea’s Kim Jong-un regime, its bellicose tone, and rash behavior, both South Korea and Japan have started to talk about pre-emptive capabilities against the North. South Korea has both the ability, and delivery means, to develop a military nuclear program quickly. The South’s interest in a form of nuclear fuel recycling called pyroprocessing, and in uranium enrichment technology has in the recent past hampered its alliance with the United States. Japan is a country, with the so-called “nuclear bomb in the basement,” as it has the ability and the stockpile of nuclear weapons grade material to field a nuclear arsenal overnight within an estimated six-month period. Japan has the most sophisticated military capability in Asia after the United States, and the Japanese space program H-2 rockets are with some conversion the equivalent of the United States Minuteman series ICBMs. Taiwan by all accounts is the least likely to arm itself with nuclear weapons because of the United States opposition to such a move, and the high likelihood of Chinese pre-emption. Having said that, Taiwan has access to weapons-grade nuclear material, the technological know-how to develop a nuclear arsenal, and its Tien Chi series have the capability to strike China's population and industrial rich southeastern coast.

To resist these potential new nuclear power urges in both the Middle East and Asia, the United States must maintain strong military alliances with those who would arm, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. There must be no light between the Trump administration and these key regional allies, and the American ‘nuclear umbrella’ must remain the ultimate guarantor of their sovereignty. This means that President Trump is going to have to be tough on rogue states such as Iran, and North Korea, and stop their strategic programs in their tracks. China is going to have to be put back in a ‘strategic box.’

#Japan #China #UnitedStates #Obama #Israel #Taiwan #MiddleEast

Featured Posts