March 01, 2010

Obama and the Nuclear Weapons Policy Review

Mar. 1, '10, McLoughlin Post

The Obama White House is in the middle of what is known as a Nuclear Posture Review; a review of nuclear weapons policy that apparently all presidents must go through.

The current review focuses on several key items, which include:

Reduction by the thousands the number of nuclear warheads currently in the U.S. arsenal,

Rejection of the Bush White House regime's push to develop a new class of small nuclear weapons known as 'bunker-buster' bombs which would be potentially useful in destroying weapons development conducted deep underground by an enemy.  The problem is that they may be small but they are still nuclear.  Nuclear particulates would be spread far and wide - even picked up by globe-encircling weather systems - rendering a large swath of the immediate area uninhabitable and sickening and killing many in the vicinity, while over the span of generations causing random cancers otherwise, far from the targeted site(s) and beyond mankind's ability to control or remediate.

One might go so far as to hope that stepping away from new nuclear weapons development might increase the prospect of a new detente between the U.S. and countries such as Iran.

Deciding whether or not to retain George W. Bush's policy of 'first-strike' capability - a very dangerous change from past nuclear war policy which went from a policy of choosing never to be the first to launch, to reserving the option of preemptively launching nuclear weapons against an enemy believed to be preparing to attack. This fundamental change in nuclear weapons launch policy increased, rather than diminished the risk of an unnecessary launch/retaliatory launch through miscalculation or mixed signals by any side.

Engaging and working openly with other nations, notably Russia, to encourage the mutual reduction in nuclear weapon stockpiles;

Discuss with European allies the option of removing American nuclear missiles from European soil;

To develop a new class of tactical non-nuclear weapons, as the New York Times reports, to perhaps gradually rely more on non-nuclear weapons with a system of missiles dubbed 'Prompt First Strike' that could hit targets anywhere in the world in under one hour.

To maintain in good working order weapons already in stock.

Sampling comments from NYT readers, Sebastinecc of India reminds us what Einstein had to say about nuclear war: 
'I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.' 
Comment 19 by Paul Rosenburger reminds us that as destructive as the bombs we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, those nuclear bombs were childs' play compared to the nuclear bombs we have in our arsenals today.  'As long as we hold onto ours, we cannot hope to convince other nations to eliminate theirs.'

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