Obama’s plan to pledge ‘no first use’ of nukes is dangerous and destabilizing

Obama’s plan to pledge ‘no first use’ of nukes is dangerous and destabilizing
ICBM-capable launcher observed near Tehran in Jan 2015. (Israel Ch. 2 via Times of Israel)

[Ed. – Herman is right about this — although I have always favored the policy of Reagan and George W. Bush: to develop effective missile defenses and make military nuclear weapons obsolete.  Until mankind wises up on that — and those who need to wise up include a lot of defense hawks — the potential for first use out of military necessity is a stabilizing factor, and must be preserved as an implied threat.  I note that Herman’s view of Russia versus NATO is an outdated one, in which an implied nuclear deterrent threat has trouble finding a foothold.  But China and (soon) Iran need deterring on a more conventional basis, and badly.]

After reducing the size of our nuclear arsenal to dangerous levels, the Washington Post reports that Obama is considering a “no first use” policy with regard to nukes. …

No First Use (NFU) was first raised as a strategic doctrine by JFK in a March 1961 speech. (Truman and Eisenhower knew better.) But Kennedy quickly dropped the idea after the Cuban missile crisis proved that proclaiming, “We will never strike first in any conflict,” had only encouraged Khrushchev to act more boldly. It was also true that NFU encouraged the Russians to think that they could win an all-out war in Europe. …

[T]he doctrine lay dormant for the rest of the Cold War. Today, the arguments against it may be even more urgent.

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