Not too long ago, President Obama made a stunning change regarding America’s nuclear posture strategy – by rewriting a long-held policy of effective nuclear deterrence and ambiguity, dating back to the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. In this post-9/11 world, Obama decided that the United States should not retaliate with a nuclear response toward any country that aid or contribute to any WMD attack on America, despite any country’s compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Rogue states, such as North Korea and Iran, are exceptions under the re-written policy. When I learned of this, I was beside myself with shock and anger, concluding that Obama has gotten America into a very dangerous territory by endorsing a policy with a certain language that spell very clearly to the enemies of the USA: it is perfectly opportunistic to attack and maim America at anytime, for that the U.S. does not have the moral standing to retaliate in kind. It is like a kid about to be rudely sucker-punched by a bully at any moment and the kid should not fight back in kind, even in defense.
Obama’s revised nuclear posture strategy is dangerously naive, for that he pledged a long-held campaign promise to rid the world of nuclear weapons (an unrealistic, impossible goal) by the means of continued negotiation and diplomacy with nuclear powers (of which he is hosting a nuclear summit in Washington, DC today and tomorrow), in hope that it would offer the USA a better standing and legitimacy confronting nuclear terrorism and rogue entities that can develop and deploy nuclear weapons as a mean of intimidation (and blackmail). Bad guys follow rules they can make up or goes for none; good guys have rules to adhere to and follow rules accordingly. What’s the difference? One side can break the rules willingly or in act of desperation.
However, the problem is that bad guys can be supported, one way or another, by few nuclear powers who are attending Obama’s nuclear security summit today. Do you honestly believe that nuclear states look out for America’s best interest in keeping the world free of nuclear weapons? I don’t. To them, weapons of mass destruction are the only means to have just in case and no one’s the wiser.
Even worse, Obama removed the notion of ambiguity from the language of the revised policy. Ambiguity, not only deterrence, is the central key to the U.S. nuclear posture strategy for many decades, for that it has effectively kept the enemies into guessing games with headache-inducing anxieties and sleepless nights about what kind of retaliation America would respond with. It has even prevented the Soviet Union and Saddam Hussein over the decades from attacking the US in any way without a virtual reassurance of what to expect from an awesome American retaliation (on a side note, I wonder if that’s one of the reasons why the Soviets had been producing too many nuclear warheads over the years?). The language of bluffing and posturing by nuclear powers are common in the negotiation tables and high-level meetings, but it must be backed by substantiated facts and verified hard data by certain sides, lest they resort to foolishly boasting its destructive capabilities without backing them up. Bluffing and posturing gives each side a sense of what they can or could do.
Yet, America has a wide-ranging arsenal of destructive capabilities at its disposal, but there’s no weapon far more effectively with the threat of nuclear retaliation and that’s ambiguity. In any case, America’s enemies are uncertain what kind of an awesome American retaliation they’re going to get, but there will be huge smoking ruins and permanent glassy parking lots anyway.
But Obama has taken that crucial option out of his revised nuclear posture policy, unfortunately.
We have a history of staying out others’ conflicts but circumstances forced us otherwise. It is for that reason we have such a history: we don’t like to be bothered or aggravated by some idiots doing some stupid shits while we’re minding and going about our business peaceably. Look at what the Imperialist Japan did to America with Pearl Harbor. Look at what the Nazis had designs on America if Britain fails. Then look at what we did to both of them within few years in kind. Then we had to deal with Uncle Joe and the Ruskies doing some stupid shits with taking over half of Europe and coming up with their own nukes. And the rest is history.
Frankly, I do not like what Obama is re-tooling (or fooling around) America’s strategic capabilities with defense, nuclear weapons, and appropriate responsive measures in such ways that it could render America into a weakened state, or with weaker responsive measures, and embolden the enemies with better opportunities of attack by any mean. Perhaps one such attack could make the 9/11 attacks seem like a walk in the park. I applauded Obama for keeping Bush’s man, Robert Gates as the Secretary of Defense, but I questioned the wisdom of Gates’ agreeing to stick around with his new boss, since the new boss is the complete opposite of Gates’ old boss. I mean what’s the big catch there? The revised policy doesn’t seem to come from Gates, but who originally pushed or influenced Obama in that direction? Or it came from Obama himself? Some media pundits have you thinking Obama is selling the revised policy to appease the liberal doves and giving himself a run for the money in dealing with nuclear powers in the summit today, an upper hand in moral preening if you will. Perhaps. But it is really showing his naivete in this post-9/11 world.
I think that Obama is operating on the assumption that America should be more evolved and enlightened about itself, that such a murderous mass killing of Americans from a WMD attack should mean little to America, that enduring such an attack should worth the price of showing restraint and having a stronger moral standing among the community of nations.
The problem is that, after we learned from the deaths of nearly 3000 people on 9/11, America, as a nation, is deeply affected by an act of cold-blooded, violent murder upon Americans by terrorists on the American soil. It’s like your neighbor has been home-invaded and murdered next door, and you feel affected and violated by it, because it happened next door and your neighbor is murdered as result. You’ll get angry and you wanted meted-out justice, damn the consequences. Americans, as a whole, don’t take an act of cold-blooded murder on a large scale kindly, even living in the most powerful and most envious country in the world, an object of admiration and hate worldwide. Even America have done terrible things in the past and admitted culpability in them, even as a supposedly “evolved and enlightened” country, as Obama would wanted us to believe. No matter, America cannot accept this kind of thing. Nevertheless, Obama, in his unrealistic belief about a nuclear weapon-free world, is playing a risky gambit with American lives with the revised nuclear posture policy. As if any WMD attack on an American city is worth the price of ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
This is why Obama has gotten America into a very dangerous territory. It’s not going to force America’s enemies to become instant friends, all’s forgiven, bye-bye nukes, and sing Kumbaya-we-are-the-world-shit. In fact, it would embolden them, become more creative, and get into the business of proxy operations to kick America’s behind or devastate it. We’re not dealing with some bad guys with criminal connections or terrorist networking, we’re dealing with malicious players of cold-blood international reputation or rogue states with no compunction about using a chemical, biological or nuclear weapon against the United States. We’re dealing with these extremely patient entities determined to destroy the United States of America as a world power and as a country. It’s a matter of when, not if.
All things considering, you have to ask: cui bono? Who benefits? I mean who would benefit in seeing the USA destroyed as a world power and as a country? I’m talking of geopolitical implications in the future.
Having said all of above, I wanted to stress that Obama’s revised nuclear posture policy is not all set in stone, not all of the eyes has been dotted and the tees has been crossed. Obama, to his credit, left the door ajar in the revised policy, allowing him the option to strike back with a nuclear retaliation, as long as he realizes the magnitude of a WMD attack and in consultation with the right people to give him all the necessary options. He may only hope it doesn’t have to come to that but we’ll never know until one day – it happens.
Still, the fault would be on Obama as President of the United States. After all, it’s his job to protect America.
Two good articles:
Charles Krauthammer: Nuclear Posturing, Obama-style
Ace of SpadesHQ: Obama’s No Nukes Policy – Hungry for “Accomplishments”
Michael Ramirez‘s great political cartoon illustrating the silliness of Obama’s nuclear posture policy, courtesy of IBDEditorials.com and Townhall.com: