New Obama policy: No nuke retaliation for bio or chemical attack?

posted at 9:57 pm on April 5, 2010 by Allahpundit

Drudge’s breathless red-font headline: “NO NUKES: EVEN IN SELF-DEFENSE!” As I read the story, though, the new policy still leaves open the possibility that we might initiate a nuclear exchange. It all depends on whether the target country has nukes of its own and whether it’s in compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Let’s explore the nuance.

It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening days of the Cold War. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons, or launched a crippling cyberattack

White House officials said that the new strategy will leave open the option of reconsidering the use of nuclear retaliation against a biological attack, if the development of such weapons reaches a level that makes United States vulnerable to a devastating strike.

Mr. Obama’s new strategy is bound to be controversial, both among conservatives who have warned against diluting America’s most potent deterrent, and among liberals who were hoping for a blanket statement that America would never be the first to use nuclear weapons.

Unless I’ve misunderstood, we reserve the right to nuke the following, whether in self-defense or otherwise: (1) nuclear states, (2) non-nuclear states that are in violation of the NPT (i.e. Iran), (3) non-nuclear states that attack the U.S. with bioweapons, but only if they possess a stockpile large enough to pose a risk of a “devastating strike.” I hope I’ve misunderstood that last one; the idea of Obama explaining to Americans that, yes, 50,000 people may be dead of smallpox but we can’t nuke country X because they don’t have a big enough stockpile of the virus yet is dark comedy gold.

The idea here, of course, is deterrence — comply with the NPT and you have nothing to fear — but (a) no one, least of all Iran, thinks Barack Obama’s going to use nuclear weapons against targets inside a non-nuclear state whether it’s following the NPT or not, and (b) everyone, including Iran, understands that a devastating attack on the U.S. by whatever means will create such unbearable pressure on the president to retaliate that these rules will be revisited instantly. It’s the nuclear equivalent of his interrogation protocol, essentially. America does not and will not torture captured terrorists as a matter of national policy — but if the CIA really, truly believed that a bomb was about to go off somewhere, don’t be surprised to see that policy politely ignored, to great public acclaim for Obama afterwards for having done what he needed to do to try to get the information.

All this is, really, is a symbolic gesture of good faith to put pressure on Russia and China to reduce their own stockpiles. Why we think they can be trusted to do that, especially when the United States is handing them a tactical advantage by reducing its own stockpiles unilaterally, is beyond me. But then it’s also beyond me why Obama would suspend development on any new forms of nuclear weapons, which the new policy also demands. New weapons, I assume, would be smaller and more precise, in the bunker-buster mold; there’s certainly no pressing need for state-of-the-art 100-megaton monsters when the chief nuclear threat at the moment comes from small non-state groups like Al Qaeda.

Exit question one: In limiting the nuclear deterrent to nuclear weapons (and, in certain cases, biological attacks) instead of WMD generally, doesn’t this create an incentive to focus on developing bio and chemical weapons? In most cases those are less dangerous than nukes, but nukes are also harder to develop and more easy to monitor. Do we really want tomorrow’s A.Q. Khans focusing on smallpox instead? Exit question two: If the point here is to raise the taboo on using nuclear weapons, doesn’t that actually make them more enticing for jihadi fanatics?


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Breaking news: Obumma confirmed to be citizen of France. Birth record discovery in Vichy follows announcement of military defense tactics similar to those employed during WWII to repel invading German army(see “Maginot Line”).

Goldy1 on April 6, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Ah, kind of like the virtual fence that “protects” our southern border. We’ve lost the hard trip wire, and now have a “virtual trip wire.”

This is an excuse NOT to use nukes BEFORE we might have to…

karl9000 on April 6, 2010 at 10:34 AM

So if you design a really contagious, highly fatal, limited life span virus (say something attached to an RNA strand that induces a teleomere-equivalent decay rate in a cell), and have just a tiny aerosol canister of it that you put in someplace like, say, Union Station in NYC, that tens of thousands pass through daily, then that Nation does not have, at start, a WMD capable of killing millions… but its widespread contagion, does.

Thus the single aerosol canister is not a ‘threat to the Nation’. The use of it is, however. And, of course, to billions more in this highly mobile world, especially if you give it a week or so incubation time and only minor flu symptoms when it first shows up. But I expect anyone using such a thing pretty much doesn’t care about the side-effects.

You know, we did dodge a bullet with Aum Shinrikyo that had a great dispersal method for anthrax, but the wrong strain of it. Sarin was their back-up plan. And they were so good as to turn KGB agents, way back in the early 1990′s, and then disappear into the turmoil after the demise of the USSR. Wonder if any of that tech got into the hands of that arm of the cult? And one of the cult members did emigrate to North Korea, as she dearly did love the way things were run there. Plus they had contacts with Syria during the ’80s, as the cooperated in training in the Bekaa valley area under control of a drug family that processed heroin there. And just how did NoKo Supernotes get into the Bekaa, anyways? And Syria never signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, and has been rather skittish about inspection of nuclear and bioweapon sites. Not that they ever exchanged technology with NoKo, save some nuclear and missile tech.

Hmmm… old Aum death cultists, NoKo megalomaniac, Syrian skullduggery… I’m so glad the POTUS is so hip about this stuff and has no worries about these things. Say did anyone ever mention that Tony Rezko has ties to Syria?

ajacksonian on April 6, 2010 at 10:39 AM

And the OBAMANATION OF AMERICA continues toward Sharia Law.

Cybergeezer on April 6, 2010 at 10:42 AM

I hope I’ve misunderstood that last one; the idea of Obama explaining to Americans that, yes, 50,000 people may be dead of smallpox but we can’t nuke country X because they don’t have a big enough stockpile of the virus yet is dark comedy gold.

Frankly, I don’t think you understand the concept of deterrence.

It doesn’t have anything to do with “explaining things to the American people.”

All that matters is the loud-and-clear message you give to potential enemies. And what Barack Hussein Obama is saying most definitely is not in the best interests of America, or the western world in general.

logis on April 6, 2010 at 10:42 AM

If 0bambi is this limp-wristed on paper imagine how quick he’d raise the white flag if America was attacked.

Ø’s nuclear policy for the USA is now clear:
DAD: Disarming America Deliberately.

Yephora on April 6, 2010 at 10:58 AM

But I’m sure this is all okay because Tom Coburn thinks the people in Washington are good.

Disturb the Universe on April 6, 2010 at 10:59 AM

What is the expiration date on this policy? Why is zero so determined to give away all our self defense secrets? He might as well leave the front door unlocked, too.

Kissmygrits on April 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Gee President Obama, thanks for telling the world it’s ok to kill Americans with bio/chemical attacks.

borg on April 6, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Exit question one: In limiting the nuclear deterrent to nuclear weapons (and, in certain cases, biological attacks) instead of WMD generally, doesn’t this create an incentive to focus on developing bio and chemical weapons? In most cases those are less dangerous than nukes, but nukes are also harder to develop and more easy to monitor. Do we really want tomorrow’s A.Q. Khans focusing on smallpox instead? Exit question two: If the point here is to raise the taboo on using nuclear weapons, doesn’t that actually make them more enticing for jihadi fanatics?

Those questions would require more thought to answer than the Obama administration has ever spent on any military issue. Except possibly for “How do I back out of Afghanistan after loudly proclaiming it is the TRUE war?”

tom on April 6, 2010 at 11:15 AM

YOU LIE?

NickelAndDime on April 6, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Another pointless gesture from a pointless president.

SSDD.

NoDonkey on April 6, 2010 at 11:20 AM

I thought this guy was supposed to be smart? Any idiot knows to keep your mouth shut when talking about National Defense options, and keep them open.

Every day that goes by makes me fell more and more like the American public is a bunch of gullable chumps, particularly when I contemplate the horrible damage this guy still has years to do. Spending, welfare, promoting congressional abuse of power, shrinking national defence, the courts, The culture, cap and trade….

Obama can go a long way to cripple the USA, and I really don’t understand the core motive. Salvery? Socialist ideology? Guilt for our success? Failure of welfare? Contempt for achievers? He seems like such a good guy.

I just don’t understand.

saiga on April 6, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Obama can go a long way to cripple the USA, and I really don’t understand the core motive. Salvery? Socialist ideology? Guilt for our success? Failure of welfare? Contempt for achievers? He seems like such a good guy.

I just don’t understand.

saiga on April 6, 2010 at 11:21 AM

All of the above, except for the “good guy” part.

Oh and he also wants to create a Permanent Underclass, which will ensure that the Democrats remain in power forever.

Once again, many thanks to all of those people (1.3 of the US population eligible to vote) who stayed home in November of 2008 to “teach the Republicans a lesson”. That is working out real well.

Del Dolemonte on April 6, 2010 at 11:27 AM

New retaliation system will focus on immediate and undeterred apology to attacking source.

Hening on April 6, 2010 at 11:31 AM

words

notagool on April 6, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Obama holding gun to his own heads

“Nobody moves. Or MY PRESIDENCY gets it.”

See how that works with other bullies.

Sir Napsalot on April 6, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Why oh why did I type ‘heads’?

Sir Napsalot on April 6, 2010 at 11:53 AM

I can’t believe I’m missing Bill Clinton.

Niere on April 6, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Over at “The Corner” Frank J. Gaffney reports:

According to today’s New York Times, it took over a year and 150 meetings to translate Pres. Barack Obama’s vision of a nuclear-weapons-free world into a policy prescription known as the Nuclear Posture Review. Evidently, it took that much time and that much bureaucratic thrashing to wear down opposition from within the Obama administration to the only practical effect such a vision can have: disarming the United States.

Most Americans will be horrified that President Obama is compromising our deterrent to chemical and biological attacks on this country. Our allies will also be troubled by his aspiration to eliminate U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. Foes and friends alike will be bemused by his assertion that such steps will, as the Times paraphrased it, “create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions.” In fact, none — not one — of the other nuclear states or the obvious wannabes has evinced any interest in abandoning such “ambitions.”

I believe that the most alarming aspect of the Obama denuclearization program, however, is its explicit renunciation of new U.S. nuclear weapons — an outcome that required the president to overrule his own defense secretary. Even if there were no new START treaty, no further movement on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and no new wooly-headed declaratory policies, the mere fact that the United States will fail to reverse the steady obsolescence of its deterrent — and the atrophying of the skilled workforce needed to sustain it — will ineluctably achieve what is transparently President Obama’s ultimate goal: a world without American nuclear weapons.

onlineanalyst on April 6, 2010 at 11:58 AM

I can’t believe I’m missing Bill Clinton.

Niere on April 6, 2010 at 11:54 AM

No kidding. What a mess. I’m sure the Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves. Hope and change turned out to be a true post election metaphor.

These words….will come home….to roost.

saiga on April 6, 2010 at 12:02 PM

This horrible policy it makes the use of nuclear weapons and other WMD MORE likely since it undermines MAD as a deterrent, which is already under stress as you have more nuclear powers. MAD is based on WMD-armed adversaries being *certain* that you’ll retaliate against them with WMD if they attack you or your allies with WMD. Remove that certainty and the whole thing stops working, and means nations like Iran may think they’re able to push harder to the edge than before.

It also PROMOTES nuclear proliferation since nations that had been relying on the US nuclear umbrella can no longer be assured that the US deterrent arsenal will defend them from an aggressor. So there will be MORE countries looking for nukes now. This is all easy stuff to figure out if you project known behavior against policy changes, why can’t our brilliant president exercise a little imagination?!?!?

EasyEight on April 6, 2010 at 12:12 PM

To add to the mix of ObaMao’s intention to neuter the US–or is that intent to “neutron” us?—Russia reserves the right to opt out of the START treaty even though its provisions favor Russia over the US.

onlineanalyst on April 6, 2010 at 12:16 PM

OK. Here is the $316Million (A dollar roughtly for every American, because that is what our value you is to obama). The question is, with the way obama is treating people, how do we know who is nuclear and non-nuclear?

Furthermore, it is devestating if even one American is injured in a nuclear attack!!!!!

ConservativePartyNow on April 6, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Obama to the world–Here we are, come and get us.

mobydutch on April 6, 2010 at 12:29 PM

The ObaMao Manifesto “projects weakness and obscures clarity” in an increasingly hostile world.
http://libertypundits.net/article/the-obama-nuclear-manifesto-death-of-clarity/

Take a look at how many aspects of ObaMao’s YouTube promises have been met.

onlineanalyst on April 6, 2010 at 12:41 PM

I understand most of his misgivings and know they all have a purpose being it nefarious in the majority of the instances, but I wish somebody would explain to me how this furthers his agenda. The only thing I see happening for him here is a double negative.I know weak national defense is a battle cry for the far left but damn.

historian on April 6, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Given the pacifism of the current regime, isn’t it plausable that they WOULD NOT retaliate if the U.S. was attacked “severely?”

olesparkie on April 6, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Obama Decree # 2010-35A

‘A Decree To Promote The Physical Security Of the U.S. In The Event of Nuclear/WMD Attack’

All persons questioning or challenging my revisions to prior U.S. policy in the event of a disastrous attack on the United States are hereby commanded to report to their closest re-education facility within 12 hours. No exceptions!

Obama Decree #2010-35B

‘A Decree To Impose Certain Fines and Forfeiture to Finance The Provisions of O.D. #2010-35A’ (See above)

I hereby direct the Internal Revenue Service to seize by way of a fine and forfeiture, any and all tax refund monies otherwise due and owing to persons affected by O.D. #2010-35A, the same to be done NLT midnight, April 15, 2010, with all such confiscated funds to be turned over immediately to the special BHO Re-election Fund legally established under O.D. # 2010-49.

alwyr on April 6, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Considering the source, how can this story not get OK’ed first with the WH?

Later on we will just get that chubby Gibbs chuckling “This is what the president actually said….”

Sir Napsalot on April 6, 2010 at 1:01 PM

This clown won’t be happy until he has stripped the US of all means to defend our country and have us totally open to attacks from the outside and inside.

workingforpigs on April 6, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Impeach this Kenyan commie traitor.

Dave R. on April 6, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Nuclear winter solves global warming.

Nuke ‘em till they glow, them shoot ‘em in the dark.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on April 6, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Uh folks… the Russians are spending American tax-payer dollars taking down their dangerous nuclear weapons silos, chemical weapons and biological weapons. Now we are giving away the farm, granting them credibility and status, in exchange for NOTHING.

Oh… except that surrenders missile defense while China and Russia don’t…

DANEgerus on April 6, 2010 at 2:41 PM

One other thing to maybe consider: ANY threat to Democrat power over the United States will be met with force. Not from genuine Patriotism, but but the brute energy of their hunger for personal power.

America isn’t great, according to them. But, in their own limited minds, THEY are great.

Liam on April 6, 2010 at 4:00 PM

I’m telling you–any threat to Democrat preponderance will be met with the abusive and brutal force they can muster.

As a proof, why do they call all us Cons ‘racists’ at every turn?

Liam on April 6, 2010 at 4:05 PM

For anyone who doesn’t think this creates a kind of moral hazard inducing folks to consider bio-attacks instead of nuclear attacks, I strongly recommend reading Richard Preston’s “The Cobra Event”.

Weaponized viruses are, if anything, scarier than nukes. This policy would seem to heavily encourage the bad guys to focus on this kind of approach.

This is exceedingly bad news.

VekTor on April 6, 2010 at 6:07 PM

So I reckon now all the CBN War Doctrine handbooks at the Pentagon are being burned whilst “new & improved” CB-N War Doctrine handbooks are being printed up?

But there’s a bright side to all of this. I’m from the South and we all know that the cure for Swine Flu is a good ol’ Pulled-Pork Sandwich!

(looks like we’re SOOL for anthrax, smallpox,Sarin, mustard gas, chlorine gas, etc)

Worst President Evah!

CatchAll on April 6, 2010 at 10:12 PM

If the American people understood how reckless this really is, Obama would be in big trouble with his citizenry…more trouble than we’ve ever seen, IMO. As it is, we have people calling insurance companies asking to sign up for the free “ObamaCare”…

I have lost faith in the majority of our citizenry. We are uninformed, uneducated, and complacent…only, and I mean ONLY a massive, devastating attack will awaken most of us…and by then, they will weep to their “messiah” Obama to do something, do something…not realizing that HE was the one who crippled us in the eyes of our enemies.

For the first time in my life, I believe the US is in decline. Steep decline.

Grace_is_sufficient on April 7, 2010 at 7:31 AM

(1) nuclear states, (2) non-nuclear states that are in violation of the NPT (i.e. Iran), (3) non-nuclear states that attack the U.S. with bioweapons, but only if they possess a stockpile large enough to pose a risk of a “devastating strike.”

Just an FYI, the gray area between point (1) and (2) includes Israel.

According to leaked intelligence, Israel has been developing nuclear weapons at its Dimona site in the Negev since 1958, and many nonproliferation analysts like David Albright estimate that Israel may have stockpiled between 100 to 200 warheads using the plutonium reprocessed from Dimona. The Israeli government refuses to confirm or deny possession of nuclear weapons, although this is now regarded as an open secret after Israeli low level nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu—later abducted and jailed by Israel—revealed the program to the British Sunday Times in 1986.

And in completely unrelated news:

April 8th, 2010 The Obama administration is now denying U.S. visas to Israeli scientists who work at that nation’s Dimona nuclear reactor. This startling reversal of traditional policy was reported April 7, 2010, in the Israeli website/newspaper NRG/Maariv

Reminder:

September 18, 2009 The UN nuclear assembly has called for Israel to open its nuclear facilities to UN inspection and sign up to the non-proliferation treaty.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, the Iranian ambassador, whose country’s disputed nuclear programme is under IAEA investigation, said the vote was a “glorious moment” and “a triumph for the oppressed nation of Palestine“.

Tehran was one of the 21 countries sponsoring the measure.

UN Security Council members Russia and China backed the Israel resolution, passed by a 49-45 margin by the IAEA’s annual member states gathering. There were 16 abstentions.

Canada tried to block a vote on the floor with a “no-action motion”, a procedural manoeuvre that prevailed in 2007 and 2008, but lost by an eight-vote margin.

Diplomats from the non-aligned movement of developing nations said times had changed with the advent of the US administration of Barack Obama, the US president.

“People and countries are bolder now, willing to call a spade a spade. You cannot hide or ignore the truth, the double standards, of Israel’s nuclear capability forever,” the Reuters news agency quoted one diplomat as saying.

The new US administration has certainly helped this thinking with its commitment to universal nuclear disarmament and nuclear weapons-free zones.”

Obama is sacrificing Israel to Russia, China and the Arab states for his own benefit. Count on it.

spmat on April 9, 2010 at 6:55 PM

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