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The Right Fumbles Obama’s Nuclear Kickoff

Posted on April 8 2010 8:00 am
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John R. Guardiano’s latest post at the FrumForum.

The Obama administration finally has unveiled its long anticipated but much delayed Nuclear Posture Review. As expected, and as I reported here at FrumForum last month, the Review helps to advance the administration’s unilateral disarmament policies while further limiting and constraining the range of options available to U.S. policymakers.

For example, the United States is now mostly forfeiting its right to use nuclear weapons to deter chemical or biological attacks; it is renouncing the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states; and it is abandoning development of any new nuclear weapons.

But what is equally bothersome is the reaction — or non-reaction, I should say — of some conservatives.

Military analysts Max Boot and Peter Feaver, for instance, aren’t much bothered by President Obama’s Nuclear Posture Review because, they say, the document gives the United States considerable wiggle room to backtrack from its self-imposed limits on the use of nuclear weapons.

This may be true, but Boot and Feaver miss the point. Deterrence is effective because of foreign perceptions backed up by the credible potential use of force. That is to say, nuclear deterrence works because America’s enemies perceive us as willing to use nuclear weapons against them. If and when our enemies doubt that this is the case, they may well be tempted to test and provoke us.

Read more at the FrumForum.

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