Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Obama to limit use of nuclear weapons.

Obama will today reveal his administration's policy regarding the use of nuclear weapons and we are about to see a startling difference between his administration and the one of George W. Bush.

The Bush administration reserved the right to use nuclear weapons, even against non-nuclear states, a position which the Obama administration is set to reverse, fulfilling a commitment he first made in Prague in April 2009.

In an interview with the New York Times before the White House reveals the revamped strategy, Mr Obama said an exception would be made for "outliers like Iran and North Korea" that have violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But in a striking departure from the position taken by his predecessors, he said the US would explicitly commit for the first time to not using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that adher to the nuclear treaty even if they attack with biological or chemical weapons.

After a review of the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal that has involved, among others, the Pentagon, the Department of Energy and the intelligence services, as well as the White House, Mr Obama's much anticipated policy revamp comes as he prepares to fly to Prague on Thursday to sign the landmark Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start) with President Medvedev of Russia.

Bush and the neo-cons came at this all wrong as far as I was concerned. They insisted that other nations embrace the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty whilst Bush himself, by declaring his wish to develop a new range of bunker busting nuclear weapons, remained in breach of the Treaty.

It was a classic case of "Do as I say, not as I do."

Bush's threat to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states was simply shocking. And, I would argue, gave a huge incentive for non-nuclear nations to quickly think about getting the bomb if at all possible. And certainly his threat to possibly use nukes against non-nuclear states gave no incentives at all for other countries to adhere to the NNPT.

Obama is set to reverse all that and to renounce the development of new nuclear weapons.

In other words, under Obama, the United States is once again going to embrace the NNPT and the commitments it made under international law.

And, by entering into meaningful disarmament talks with Russia, the US is showing a serious commitment to fulfilling it's international obligations under NNPT.

After the rogue years of George W. Bush, when the United States routinely ripped up previous international commitments, Obama's position is like a breath of fresh air. This is how the United States used to lead the world. As Clinton said at the DNC:
People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.
Obama is leading by the power of the United States example. He is proposing a policy which is both moral and right. Slowly, the cobwebs of the dreadful Bush years are being blown away. America is once again deciding that force is not the only - or even the best - weapon in her arsenal.


Why am I not surprised that Fox News have decided that Obama is, yet again, making America less safe? Indeed, they go as far here as to state that he is "inviting attack".

How can people like Hannity claim that they loved Ronald Reagan and yet reject Obama fulfilling what was once Ronald Reagan's goal?

In 1986 at the Reykjavik summit, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, both passionate about nuclear disarmament, shocked deterrence experts with an unimaginable proposal – total nuclear disarmament. “It would be fine with me if we eliminated all nuclear weapons,” said Reagan. “We can do that,” replied Gorbachev, “Let’s eliminate them. We can eliminate them.”

However, U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz explained that the proposal was “too much for people to absorb, precisely because it was outside the bounds of conventional wisdom,” and “the world was not ready for Ronald Reagan’s boldness.”

Even Reagan turns out to be too left wing for these guys.

Nancy Reagan:
“Ronnie had many hopes for the future, and none were more important to America and to mankind than the effort to create a world free of nuclear weapons.”
But then Reagan was also opposed to torture. The truth is, much as they claim to love him, Ronald Reagan really wouldn't have a place in today's conservative movement.

Click here for full article.

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