President Obama is revising the nuclear use policy of the United States, limiting the conditions where we would use nuclear weapons. Exceptions will exist for for “outliers” like Iran and North Korea, who have not cooperated with efforts to reduce nuclear weapons.
Mr. Obama described his policy as part of a broader effort to edge the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete, and to create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions. To set an example, the new strategy renounces the development of any new nuclear weapons, overruling the initial position of his own defense secretary.
Mr. Obama’s strategy is a sharp shift from those adopted by his predecessors and seeks to revamp the nation’s nuclear posture for a new age in which rogue states and terrorist organizations are greater threats than traditional powers like Russia and China.
Most significantly, the United States will commit to not use nuclear weapons against countries that don’t have nuclear weapons and who comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if they attack the United States using biological or chemical weapons. Called the “Nuclear Posture Review,” the possibility will be left open that the U.S. will retaliate with nuclear weapons against biological attack if the country is deemed vulnerable.
Mr. Obama plans to fly to Prague to sign a new arms control agreement with Russia on Thursday and then next week will host 47 world leaders in Washington for a summit on nuclear security.