The problem is that President Obama appears to view everything through the lens of diplomacy; reality is secondary. The National Security Strategy should not be about diplomacy or pleasing adversaries; it should be about calibrating U.S. national security to reality.
On Monday, President Obama "substantially narrow[ed] the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons." In particular, Obama decided (page viii) that countries "use[ing] chemical or biological weapons against the United States or its allies and partners would face the prospect of a devastating conventional military response," virtually ruling out a nuclear response. Further, he renounced (page vi) "development of new nuclear warheads or further nuclear testing." The President predicted that his revised approach would deter countries cheating on NPT obligations by making them "find themselves more isolated, and [so] will recognize that the pursuit of nuclear weapons will not make them more secure."
Uh, what about Iran? Remember them?
Further words fail me, so I'll quote Roger Simon instead:
This is indeed astonishing. The President of the United States -- whose most important duty is to protect the citizens of this country -- is publicly abjuring the use of nuclear weapons if we are attacked by chemical or biological weapons -- both of which are known to all of us as Weapons of Mass Destruction, the dreaded WMDs.Then there's Liberty Pundit's Zemanta:
What are we to make of this and the man who is adopting this policy? Does he hate us? Does he hate this country? What would he do if there was, for example, a massive small pox attack on the U.S.? Send in the infantry? Call in the Marines? Try to reason with whoever did it and recommend they negotiate as the fatal disease spreads to millions of people?
Now I detest nuclear weapons as much as the next person, but this approach seems -- I hate to repeat myself, but I will -- deranged. It also has very little to do with actually reducing nuclear weapons in the world. Again, it seems like the act of an extreme narcissist, someone who wants to parade himself as anti-nuke while ignoring the checks and balances that have, in fact, kept nuclear weapons in their silos for decades.
Let’s be clear: Wars prevented are wars not fought. And when faced with hostile adversaries, the best prevention is peace through strength. There is little room for banking on tulips and tea. . .Further, I note that, only last fall, Obama signed the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010," which promised (section 1251, page 360) that the President would present plans to "enhance" and "modernize" nuclear weapons. In December, at least 41 Senators still favored that approach, which is why Obama's initiative was embodied in policy, as opposed to new laws or treaties.
The clearly understood fear of being smote in a nuclear response is unmistakable and effective.
Yet that is precisely what President Obama is taking off the table in deference to muddled nuance in the form of "a series of graded options." Why a series when one formidable option deters quite well? Because "a new posture" is the primary goal goal, not absolute deterrence.
Technically, it’s called the Nuclear Posture Review. In plain language, it’s fraught with unicorns and the forceful projection of weakness.
At least the policy is well-named: a "posture" for pacifistic progressives. Don't presume peaceful consequences. Rather, it's more evidence that America's "gone soft."
(via Instapundit, reader Marc)