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April 06, 2010

Obama: Just Want To Let Everyone Know I'm Not Going To Nuke You

Obama's long awaited and delayed Nuclear Posture Review is being released today. According to reports, it lays out guidelines and strategies you'd expect from a left wing Democrat who wants to rid the world of nuclear weapons and has a fetish for arms control agreements.

This is related to Gabe's post below. Obama didn't bother reading about the nuclear attack plans because he pretty much has no intention of ever using them.

Under the new policy, the administration will foreswear the use of the deadly weapons against nonnuclear countries, officials said, in contrast to previous administrations, which indicated they might use nuclear arms against nonnuclear states in retaliation for a biological or chemical attack.

But Obama included a major caveat: The countries must be in compliance with their nonproliferation obligations under international treaties. That loophole would mean Iran would remain on the potential target list.

The new policy will also describe the purpose of U.S. weapons as being fundamentally for deterrence. Some Democratic legislators had urged Obama to go further and declare that the United States would not use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. But officials in the Defense and State departments worried that such a change could unnerve allies protected by the U.S. nuclear "umbrella."

First let's be honest, it was always going to be hard for any President to launch a nuclear attack on a country that did not attack us with nukes first but instead used some other WMD like chemical or biological agents. The policy may have been a bluff. Or it may not have. That strategic ambiguity was important because when it comes to WMD all the US has is nukes. We gave up our offensive bio-weapons program in the early 70s and are in the process of destroying our stockpile of chemical weapons.

Thanks to Obama, current or future rogue states have something new to add into their calculations. Is it likely that a country is going to risk overwhelming conventional retaliation? No but it's certainly not impossible. After the last 8+ years it's easy to imagine a case where US forces are tied down and there may not be enough assets in the cupboard to go after someone else conventionally. Does that give an opening to a nut job somewhere else he figures he doesn't face a nuclear response? Seems like it might be something on the plus side for a future Saddam.

Liberals will decry this kind of thinking as monsters under the bed, right wing paranoia. My response is, "Yeah. So?" Defense planners have to be overly cautious and should have as many options as possible available to them. What exactly do we gain by removing the ambiguity about when and against who we will use nuclear weapons?

This policy isn't based on sound strategic thinking. It's based on irrational fear (it's not as if the old policy led to an accidental nuclear war) and a deep seated belief by liberals that America is dangerous and must be constrained. More than that they want to make sure the world sees that America is being constrained and that they, the good and wise liberals, are responsible for it.

This is the strategic version of the legalization of the War on Terror...liberals are willing to gamble with the lives of others so long as they can engage in moral preening. The fact that it makes the world less safe, not more, is simply a price they are willing to pay.

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posted by DrewM. at 11:14 AM

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