One More in a Series
The New York Times reports that President Obama is revamping United States nuclear strategy, and would “substantially narrow the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons, even in self-defense.”
It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening days of the Cold War. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons, or launched a crippling cyberattack.
Now I don’t know about you, but I for one do not want the United States, no matter who is at the helm, to take any option off the table based on anything. This is dangerous, foolhardy, and gives those who wish us harm more of an idea on how they can hit us and not be vaporized as a result of it.
I sort of liked the ambiguity, at least in public, on what it would take for us to key in the launch codes and twist the keys. At least that might keep the enemies guessing instead of actually planning and executing.
Pacifists everywhere will be quick to point out that the United States is the first, and only nation to ever use nuclear weapons in anger. That is true. And the fact is the use of those two weapons, horrible as they were, saved countless lives on both sides of the US/Japanese conflict. I shudder to think at the body count of our own soldiers and Japanese civilians, yes, women and children, had we actually tried to mount a conventional invasion of that territory. I don’t envy the choice, or living with consequences that Harry S. Truman had to do at that time. I firmly believe he made the right decision.
The fact is, that we as a nation are not trying to conquer to the world, or indiscriminately kill. Obviously, mistakes and accidents happen, and our military will occasionally fire at the wrong target, or kill others who are close to a high-value target. But the point is that it is not our national policy to do so.
So, Mr. President, I would seriously hope that you reconsider this reckless announcement. If a rouge nation, even one living under the terms of the non-proliferation agreements, hits the United States with chemical or biological agents, or even conventional forces, that the full strength and might of our entire arsenal, including nuclear firepower, is at least an option.
I’m not saying we should just nuke anyone who provokes us. But in dire circumstances, it should be an option to be weighed against the cost in lives, on both sides of the equation, and many other factors.
But, I won’t hold my breath. President Obama has shown time and time again that he would rather tear down the status of this country than to allow us to defend ourselves, all in the name of some idealistic moral equivalence. I really hope he has good advisors that will slap him with a dose of the Real World in the case of a catastrophic event that I pray does not occur.