President Obama’s new nuclear policy is beginning to become as contentious as the health care bill that recently became law. The New York Times states one position about the new nuke change, but the Wall Street Journal commits to another. You can make your own decision about which way the President’s new nuclear policy leans by reading the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review.
Fred Kaplan at Salon.com defends Prez Obama’s position and states that the position implies the use of nuclear weapons in extenuating circumstance.
IMHO any situation that might result in the use of nuclear weapons is an extenuating circumstance. Unfortunately, Kaplan’s article jumps around from point to point, but it seems that the gist of Fred Kaplan’s thesis is that it is right for President Obama to state to the world that the US will not be the first to use nuclear weapons.
Obama made basically the same concession during his presidential campaign, which is why I did not vote for him. From a diplomatic standpoint, nuclear weapons are a gargantuan bargaining chip. The last thing you do in any negotiation is to throw away your number one bargaining chip by making such a major concession without getting anything in return. But that is exactly what Obama is doing with his stance on nuclear weapons. Obama mistakenly took that stance during the campaign and he is wrong to do so again now. This simple concession dramatically attenuates US military power throughout the world.
In his article Kaplan asks, “Does anybody really believe that the United States is going to fire nuclear weapons at a country that has none of its own?”
Kaplan may not believe the US would do so, and you and I may not believe it either. But there are others who may believe it, especially those who remember that the US did exactly that in World War II.
Saddam Hussein’s aides stated during interrogation after the war that Saddam was afraid the US would use nuclear weapons against him. They said it was why he did not use any chemical weapons against the US in the Gulf War. It is clear now that Saddam did not have as many chemical weapons as we thought, but he did have some, which he tried to hide from the US in the waning days of the war.
Muammar Qaddafi of Libya stated in interviews that he was so afraid the US would nuke him that he abandoned his aggressive terrorist stance against the US because of that fear.
Two of the most fearsome heads of state today are Kim Jon Il of North Korea and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, who are both seeking to build nuclear arsenals, partly because they fear the US may use nukes against their countries.
Now President Obama has told all of the leaders from all of these potential US enemies that the US will never strike first with nuclear weapons. With that one statement he has weakened our own diplomatic hand immeasurably.
- Talk About Posturing – Palin and Gingrich are wrong about Obama’s nuclear strategy. Slate.com By Fred Kaplan. http://www.slate.com/id/2250576/. Retrieved 4/12/2010
- Nuclear Dreams and Nightmares – Obama’s new and old policy on The Bomb. Slate.com By Fred Kaplan. http://www.slate.com/id/2249961/ Retrieved 4/12/2010.
- Obama Limits When U.S. Would Use Nuclear Arms. New York Times by DAVID E. SANGER and PETER BAKER. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/world/06arms.html?hpw. Retrieved 4/12/2010.
- U.S. Keeps First-Strike Strategy, Wall Street Journal By JONATHAN WEISMAN And PETER SPIEGEL. Retrieved 4/12/2010
- Nuclear Posture Review Report, Pentagon. http://www.defense.gov/npr/docs/2010%20Nuclear%20Posture%20Review%20Report.pdf Retrieved 4/12/2010.
by McCafferty Himself