As detailed in a recent op-ed by a Marine Corps veteran, President Obama has dismantled the United States military from the top down. But Obama isn’t stopping there. There is talk on the left, about implementing a “No Strike First” policy in regards to the use of nuclear weapons. Obama will likely soon announce the policy, which is a promise to never use nuclear weapons unless the U.S. is first attacked with them.
A No Strike First policy makes progressives damp with dreams of nuclear disarmament.
Military leaders appropriately call America’s nuclear arsenal, our nuclear deterrent. That nuclear triad strategy has been in place since WWII and has been widely effective in two areas; deterring the use and proliferation of these catastrophic weapons.
Since WWII, there have been no nuclear weapons used in conflict. Also, the number of countries possessing or developing nuclear weapons has not grown substantially in the past 30 years. Sure, you have North Korea and Iran seeking to develop nuclear programs, Pakistan and India going nuclear in the 90’s, but a look at Europe is proof that the NATO reliance on the U.S. arsenal has been enough to keep proliferation to a minimum. Frankly, a no first use policy would result in European (and other) allies seeking nuclear weapons of their own.
Allies of the United States rely on the triad, that allows them invest their much smaller military budgets in more conventional forces. Bruce Klingner, a 20 year veteran of the intelligence community, working at the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency said, “Since 1945, the United States has strengthened deterrence by refusing to adopt a no first use pledge and thereby retaining all possible military options for its own defense and those of its allies. U.S. nuclear weapons can offset opponents’ conventional force superiority and deter them from using other weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical or biological weapons.”
Michael Dodge of the Heritage Foundation notes, attacks including conventional, biological, and chemical components would no longer be sufficiently deterred under “no first use,” and Dodge believes that all of these can be just as “lethal and destructive as a nuclear weapons attack.” Conventional weapons “simply do not have the same deterrent effect as nukes.” In order to be deterred, adversaries must know that the U.S. reserves a nuclear option “to deal with the imminent threat of any type of catastrophic attack — nuclear or otherwise.”
There is strategic value in having a vague policy on the use of nuclear weapons, in that the enemy would never know where the line is. But when Obama announces this impending pledge, our enemies will know precisely how far they can push us, without having to deal with a nuclear response.