President Obama chose an interview with his favorite news outlet, The New York Times, to announce a radical new direction for America’s nuclear strategy. He is substantially narrowing the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons. Even if we are attacked with biological or chemical weapons, Obama is now declaring our use of any type of nuclear weapons in response is off limits in most cases.
Obama is also renouncing the development of any new nuclear weapons, overriding the initial position of his own Secretary of Defense. The nuclear freeze crowd must be dancing in the streets.
Obama is carving out a limited exception to his no-nuclear response policy when it comes to Iran and North Korea and is not including attacks by a nuclear state within the scope of his ban on a nuclear response. Nevertheless, he is signaling a major retreat from our country’s long bipartisan policy of deterrence, containment and deliberate public ambiguity about our nuclear strategy. And his exceptions do not provide much comfort.
Iran and North Korea have shown that they will not hesitate to transfer any of their weapons of mass destruction to countries like Syria – with whom the Obama administration is trying to foster better relations. What if Syria decides to use chemical or biological weapons against us directly or through their terrorist surrogates? Why tell them in advance not to worry about any sort of nuclear response?
In the same interview with The New York Times, Obama also dealt with the issue of a nuclear-armed Iran, saying he was now convinced that:
the current course they’re on would provide them with nuclear weapons capabilities
Yet all he is doing – more than three months after his self-proclaimed deadline for Iran to accept a compromise proposal or face the consequences – is to wait for the United Nations Security Council to pass some meaningless new sanctions.
President Obama believes in a world without any nuclear weapons. And he wants the United States to lead the way, even if his course would play into the hands of our enemies. Obama is playing with Americans’ lives to show how ‘transformational’ a world leader he can be.