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Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Old 04-06-10, 02:28 PM
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Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

I don't know, I see this move as more likely to invite threats than prevent them.


Obama poised to limit U.S. use of nuclear arms

Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration will formally unveil a new policy on Tuesday restricting U.S. use of nuclear arms, renouncing development of new atomic weapons and heralding further cuts in America's stockpile.

But even as President Barack Obama limits the conditions under which the United States would resort to a nuclear strike, he is making clear that nuclear-defiant states like Iran and North Korea will remain potential targets.

"I'm going to preserve all the tools that are necessary in order to make sure that the American people are safe and secure," Obama told The New York Times in an interview that previewed his revamped nuclear strategy.

The policy shift, calling for reduced U.S. reliance on its nuclear deterrent, could build momentum before Obama signs a landmark arms control treaty with Russia in Prague on Thursday and hosts a nuclear security summit in Washington next week.

But it is also likely to draw fire from conservative critics who say his approach is naive and compromises U.S. national security.

The Nuclear Posture Review is required by Congress from every U.S. administration but Obama set expectations high after he vowed to end "Cold War thinking" and won the Nobel Peace Prize in part for his vision of a nuclear-free world.

Under the new strategy, the United States would commit for the first time not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if it is attacked with biological or chemical weapons, according to The New York Times and a U.S. official who confirmed the details.

Those threats, Obama said, could be deterred with "a series of graded options" -- a combination of old and newly designed conventional weapons.

Obama insisted "outliers like Iran and North Korea" that have violated or renounced the treaty would not be protected.

ROLLING BACK BUSH-ERA POLICY

Still, Obama is rolling back the Bush administration's more hawkish policy set out in its 2002 review threatening the use of nuclear weapons to preempt or respond to chemical or biological attack, even from non-nuclear countries.

An exception under Obama's plan would allow an option of reconsidering the use of nuclear retaliation against a biological attack if there is reason to believe the United States were vulnerable to a devastating attack.

To set an example for global arms control, Obama's strategy -- another departure from Bush-era policy -- commits the United States to no new atomic arms development, U.S. officials said.

The United States will, however, increase investment in upgrading its weapons infrastructure, which one White House official said would "facilitate further nuclear reductions."

Arms control experts see potential for significant cuts in the U.S. stockpile by upgrading weapons laboratories to weed out older, ineffective warheads.

Obama now faces the challenge of lending credibility to his arms control push while not alarming allies under the U.S. defense umbrella or limiting room to maneuver in dealing with emerging nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea.

The review is a test of Obama's effort to make controlling nuclear arms worldwide a signature foreign policy initiative. It is also important because it will affect defense budgets and weapons deployment and retirement for years to come.

The strategy was developed after a lengthy debate among Obama's aides and military officials over whether to declare that the United States would never be the first to use nuclear weapons in a crisis but would act only in response to attack.

Obama appeared unlikely to go as far as forswearing the first-strike option, which will disappoint some liberals.

The review comes a day before Obama leaves for Prague, where he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will sign a new START pact to slash nuclear arsenals by a third.

The signing ceremony will occur nearly a year after Obama's Prague speech laying out his vision for eventually ridding the world of nuclear weapons. Obama acknowledged it might not be completed in his lifetime.

(Additional reporting by Caren Bohan, Phil Stewart and Tabassum Zakaria; editing by Chris Wilson)


http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63428F20100406
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Old 04-06-10, 02:39 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

A lot of girls whom pledge to keep their virginity in fact get pregant; a disappointing result of abstinence-only. Pledges can get broken for good or bad reasons. While we have refrained from using our nuclear weapons in anger for nearly 65 years, I am sure, under sufficient provocation, that as long as we still have them, we could change our minds.
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Old 04-06-10, 02:43 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Right, but shouldn't our official, publicly announced policy remain ambiguous? Doesn't that better serve deterrence than what Obama is changing it to?
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Old 04-06-10, 02:45 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

With reference to your bolded section, as long as the current administration doesn't make the same mistake as the last one, in making the faulty assumption that all attacks emanate ultimately from state-level actors, then I don't have much of a problem with it. To put that in English, just because, e.g., Syria doesn't have nuclear weapons doesn't mean that a group within the borders of Syria doesn't, and we should behave accordingly.
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Old 04-06-10, 02:48 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Not if you think it would give pause to nations acquiring nukes. If you don't then if probably doesn't matter either way.
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Old 04-06-10, 02:49 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

What do we do if we're attacked biologically from say, Iran before they have proven nukes? We go to the U.N. to figure out if they're essentially in compliance with the NNPT and if so, send them a stern message via Switzerland to knock it off?
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Old 04-06-10, 03:05 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Originally Posted by X View Post
What do we do if we're attacked biologically from say, Iran before they have proven nukes? We go to the U.N. to figure out if they're essentially in compliance with the NNPT and if so, send them a stern message via Switzerland to knock it off?
The article says the administration has explicitly declared that Iran and North Korea are in violation of the NPT, so your specific question is not applicable. More generally, though, there are a range of options that fall between a sternly worded letter and a nuclear strike.
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Old 04-06-10, 03:15 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Yes, like complete annihilation using conventional weapons.
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Old 04-06-10, 03:19 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
The article says the administration has explicitly declared that Iran and North Korea are in violation of the NPT, so your specific question is not applicable.
I don't think we're the sole determinant of who is in violation of it and there are degrees of violation. Is Israel in violation of the NNPT?
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Old 04-06-10, 03:29 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
Yes, like complete annihilation using conventional weapons.
But that takes so long. We want them annihilated now.
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Old 04-06-10, 03:35 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

This just strikes me as lip service. If we come down to a situation where nukes have to be seriously considered, I don't think the decision is going to hinge on this. Likewise, I don't think any parties are going to look at this policy and think, 'hot damn, it's time to break out the biological weapons!'
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Old 04-06-10, 03:37 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Originally Posted by maxfisher View Post
This just strikes me as lip service. If we come down to a situation where nukes have to be seriously considered, I don't think the decision is going to hinge on this. Likewise, I don't think any parties are going to look at this policy and think, 'hot damn, it's time to break out the biological weapons!'
Sometimes what you say (or don't say) you'll do is a better deterrent than leaving people to have to speculate what you might actually do. Especially unilaterally.
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Old 04-06-10, 04:09 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Ah the good old days, when our nuclear strategy was kept ambiguous instead of exposed for international accolades.

Of course when you have a Chief Executive so needful for "attaboys"...
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Old 04-06-10, 04:42 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Originally Posted by X View Post
I don't think we're the sole determinant of who is in violation of it and there are degrees of violation. Is Israel in violation of the NNPT?
They are not in violation because they never signed. Israel is vague about whether they have weapons, but everybody "knows" they do.

However, to be in compliance, you have to sign, and then keep the promises that being a signator entails. So they are not in compliance either.

North Korea signed, then cheated. I'm not sure if Iran signed, I think they did. Obviously they cheat.

If you don't sign, no nuclear nation can help you develop commercial, peaceful nuclear power. But you can do it on your own and also develop weapons (as Israel did). I don't think Pakistan and India signed, or they may have developed weapons before there was a treaty to sign.
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Old 04-06-10, 05:51 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Nothing worse that fighting a war in an unfair manner that gives you the upper hand. It's distateful.

When Andrew Jackson didn't have his soldiers line up against the British soldiers, it was wrong. Going around and shooting people at night......outrageous.
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Old 04-06-10, 06:23 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Originally Posted by OldDude View Post
North Korea signed, then cheated.
Actually they withdrew back in 2003-2004. Which is allowed under the treaty, as long as they give notice, which they did.
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Old 04-06-10, 06:33 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

This is idiotic.

Right or wrong, we're the only nation to ever use nukes. What's wrong with our enemies being afraid that we might use them again?

I like the idea of our enemies thinking that we wouldn't have any problem using nukes to retaliate even if in realitry we really have no intention whatsoever of using them. It's like looking at the big mean looking dude and thinking to yourself "I better not mess with him or he'll beat the shit out of me" even though the mean looking dude could be as dangerous as a pussycat.

Obama has just told the entire world that they can do whatever they want to us but we will not use our most effective weapon to retaliate.

But does this honestly mean that if say Syria or any other "non-nuclear" nation uses a biological weapon on New York and completely wipes out the city we won't retaliate with nukes? Hypothetically speaking this weapon kills 20 million people and we're gonna fire cruise missles at them? Wow.
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Old 04-06-10, 06:45 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Originally Posted by whoopdido View Post
This is idiotic.

Right or wrong, we're the only nation to ever use nukes. What's wrong with our enemies being afraid that we might use them again?

I like the idea of our enemies thinking that we wouldn't have any problem using nukes to retaliate even if in realitry we really have no intention whatsoever of using them. It's like looking at the big mean looking dude and thinking to yourself "I better not mess with him or he'll beat the shit out of me" even though the mean looking dude could be as dangerous as a pussycat.

Obama has just told the entire world that they can do whatever they want to us but we will not use our most effective weapon to retaliate.

But does this honestly mean that if say Syria or any other "non-nuclear" nation uses a biological weapon on New York and completely wipes out the city we won't retaliate with nukes? Hypothetically speaking this weapon kills 20 million people and we're gonna fire cruise missles at them? Wow.
I'm no fan of Obama but this is really a non-issue. No country seriously thinks that we'd use nukes (unless some other country used nukes first). The last time anyone thought we'd use nukes, it was liberals campaigning against Ronald Reagan claiming that he was itching to start WWIII.
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Old 04-06-10, 07:03 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Originally Posted by sracer View Post
I'm no fan of Obama but this is really a non-issue. No country seriously thinks that we'd use nukes (unless some other country used nukes first). The last time anyone thought we'd use nukes, it was liberals campaigning against Ronald Reagan claiming that he was itching to start WWIII.
Other countries don't think we'd use nukes if one of our major cities was completely taken out by a biological or chemical weapon?

Am I wrong to believe that a nuclear retaliation would be the correct course of action in that scenario?
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Old 04-06-10, 07:12 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Originally Posted by whoopdido View Post
This is idiotic.

Right or wrong, we're the only nation to ever use nukes. What's wrong with our enemies being afraid that we might use them again?

I like the idea of our enemies thinking that we wouldn't have any problem using nukes to retaliate even if in realitry we really have no intention whatsoever of using them. It's like looking at the big mean looking dude and thinking to yourself "I better not mess with him or he'll beat the shit out of me" even though the mean looking dude could be as dangerous as a pussycat.
"Looking back upon his handling of the incident, Roosevelt thought he 'never saw a bluff carried more resolutely through to the final limit.' And writing to a friend a few days later, he observed: 'I have always been fond of the West African proverb: "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."'"
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Old 04-06-10, 07:12 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Originally Posted by whoopdido View Post
Other countries don't think we'd use nukes if one of our major cities was completely taken out by a biological or chemical weapon?

Am I wrong to believe that a nuclear retaliation would be the correct course of action in that scenario?
In fact this thing specifies that as a cause of nukes being considered for use.
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Old 04-06-10, 07:26 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Originally Posted by whoopdido View Post
Other countries don't think we'd use nukes if one of our major cities was completely taken out by a biological or chemical weapon?

Am I wrong to believe that a nuclear retaliation would be the correct course of action in that scenario?
Depends on who did the attack. If it was a group of Al-Qaeda members from various countries (Saudi Arabia, North Africa, Afghanistan, etc), who would we nuke?
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Old 04-06-10, 07:31 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
In fact this thing specifies that as a cause of nukes being considered for use.
Got links? 'Cause that directly contradicts the original article. That used to be the policy, now it isn't.
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Old 04-06-10, 07:41 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

Originally Posted by Rockmjd23 View Post
Depends on who did the attack. If it was a group of Al-Qaeda members from various countries (Saudi Arabia, North Africa, Afghanistan, etc), who would we nuke?
On this subject... it's interesting that many people who complain that we missed a good opportunity of getting bin Laden in Tora Bora say that we should have nuked the area to make sure we got him. But that option is off the table now.
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Old 04-06-10, 07:41 PM
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Re: Obama's New Nuclear Weapons Policy

So, really, all Obama is saying is he won't think to use nukes unless he has a good reason to use nukes. Sounds like the policy of any president up to this point, except they didn't say it out loud.
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