U.S. Narrows Role of Nuclear Arms

Peter Spiegel
The Wall Street Journal

The Obama administration on Tuesday declared that it is narrowing the number of threats it seeks to deter with nuclear weapons, arguing that advances in U.S. missile defenses and conventional forces mean atomic arms are no longer needed to counterbalance most non-nuclear states.

In a much anticipated, 72-page Nuclear Posture Review—the first since the Bush administration issued its own restructuring of nuclear doctrine in the months following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks—the administration said that even in cases of chemical and biological weapons, the U.S will no longer threaten to counter threats from non-nuclear countries that are living up to their obligations under international proliferation treaties.

The posture review stops short of declaring that deterring a nuclear attack is the “sole purpose” of U.S. nuclear weapons, however. The document says that because there are states that are not living up to non-proliferation promises, there remains “a narrow range of contingencies” in which U.S. nuclear arms still play a role in deterring a conventional or chemical attack against the U.S. and its allies.

The article continues at WSJ.

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