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Roger’s Rules

Obama, Kipling, and the Bomb

April 6th, 2010 - 6:45 am

So, Barack Obama, in pursuit of a world in which nuclear weapons are “obsolete,” just announced that he is “revamping American nuclear strategy to substantially narrow the conditions” under which the United States would use such weapons. To set an “example” to other nations, the president also announced that the United States was renouncing the development of any new nuclear weapons.

What sort of “example” do you suppose this sets? To begin to comprehend what the president has in mind, contemplate these two declarations, just reported in The New York Times:

For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.

Got that? A “crippling” cyberattack, an attack with biological or chemical weapons: go for it Ahmed, your country (assuming you have a country) has promised, cross your heart, not to develop or use nuclear weapons so you’re home (almost) free.

We infidels needn’t worry, though, because the president, though he said in one breath that the United States promised not to respond with nuclear weapons even if it suffered a crippling biological, chemical, or cyberattack, said in the next breath that any such threats

could be deterred with “a series of graded options,” a combination of old and new conventional weapons. “I’m going to preserve all the tools that are necessary in order to make sure that the American people are safe and secure.”

Are you feeling safer now? 1. We are going to renounce the development of new nuclear weapons even as our enemies around the world eagerly pursue every possible refinement for use in their arsenals; 2. We are abandoning our policy of deliberate, and deliberately off-putting, ambiguity about when and how we would retaliate, stating boldly that we would not respond to a biological, chemical, or cyberattack with nuclear weapons; 3. But we are also going “To preserve all the tools that are necessary in order to make sure that the American people are safe and secure.”

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