Obama's Poor Posture; the United States Slouches toward Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 7, 2010 | Go to article overview

Obama's Poor Posture; the United States Slouches toward Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Obama pledged to rid the world of nuclear weapons, and he's starting with the United States. The new U.S. nuclear posture puts the country flat on its back.

Mr. Obama's nuclear strategy is long on ideology and short on common sense. It reflects the mindset of those on the left who came of age during the nuclear freeze movement, who see nuclear weapons as an evil to be eliminated, not as a useful deterrent that has contributed to limiting conflict for the last 60 years. The new strategy predictably undermines the deterrent value of these weapons in pursuit of Mr. Obama's fanciful vision of a nuclear-free world.

One of Mr. Obama's gimmicky innovations is to place non-nuclear states off-limits from nuclear strikes. The president asserted instead that the United States will make sure that our conventional weapons capability is an effective deterrent in all but the most extreme circumstances. But a credible worldwide conventional deterrent would require much greater capabilities than currently exist in the U.S. inventory. American ground forces are already stretched thin across the globe, and it is unlikely that the Obama administration would be eager either to build up the military or to commit to any additional ground conflicts should they occur.

Adversary states are well aware of America's diminished will and capacity to respond to conventional threats. Nuclear weapons may be the only thing deterring large-scale non-nuclear conflict on the Korean Peninsula. If North Korea mounted a conventional assault on the South, it's doubtful the United States would be able decisively to respond using only conventional force. Arbitrarily compartmentalizing nuclear and conventional conflicts into separate deterrence frameworks raises costs and risks, forfeits escalation dominance and increases the probability of conflict. …

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