Anti-Nuclear Crusade Will Mark His Presidency
Obama continues to pursue his long-term vision of a world free of nuclear
weapons. It is an idealistic crusade that confronts many obstacles. But it is a
deliberate choice. It has been placed at the heart of his diplomacy and will
mark his presidency."
The new doctrine of the
United States on the use of nuclear weapons is primarily intended to take the
initiative and more-effectively combat proliferation. The Pentagon announced
yesterday that America would reduce the role of its nuclear deterrent in its
Washington isn't giving up modernizing
its existing arsenal or the option of a first strike use of the ultimate
weapon, but is ruling out the development of new warheads and is offering
assurances that the atomic bomb will be utilized only under "extreme
circumstances." It will not be used against an opponent that lacks them
and which respects the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
This is the first time the
United States has imposed such restrictions on itself. Barack Obama, once
again, wanted to mark his differences with the administration of George W.
Bush, who, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, expanded options for
resorting to nuclear weapons.
The limits of this kind of publicly
declared doctrine are obvious [the doctrine is called the Nuclear Posture Review]. If an attack
threatened their vital interests, the American authorities, like those of any
other country, wouldn't limit their response due to an internal document. It is
therefore a "nuclear posture" for foreign consumption in order to
show the goodwill of the United States, which remains the world's leading
The central objective is to
isolate Iran and North Korea. Although signatories to the NPT, these countries have
contravened or withdrawn from the treaty, so remain under explicit threat from
the United States. Sparing other countries that join the NPT is meant to be an
incentive for compliance with a treaty, the effectiveness of which has been
contested and which is subject to revision next month.
The new doctrine comes on the
eve of the signing in Prague of a new START disarmament agreement with Russia and
just days before a Washington summit on nuclear security. Also being prepared
is a withdrawal from Europe of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons, which could be ratified
at the NATO summit in Lisbon next November.
Barack Obama continues to
pursue his long-term vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. It is an
idealistic crusade that confronts many obstacles. But it is a deliberate choice.
It has been placed at the heart of his diplomacy and will mark his presidency.
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