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Obama Unveils New Nuclear Doctrine

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the backing-off-the-hair-trigger dept.

Government 526

Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that under Obama's new 'Nuclear Posture Review,' released today, the US will foreswear the use of the nuclear weapons against nonnuclear countries, in contrast to previous administrations, which indicated they might use nuclear arms against nonnuclear states in retaliation for a biological or chemical attack. But the new policy included a major caveat: The countries must be in compliance with their nonproliferation obligations under international treaties. The problem for Iran and North Korea is that the pledge does not cover them because the US regards them as in non-compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The new policy will also describe the purpose of US weapons as being fundamentally for deterrence. Some Democratic legislators had urged Obama to go further and declare that the United States would not use nuclear weapons first in a conflict, but officials worried that such a change could unnerve allies protected by the US nuclear 'umbrella.' The president of the Ploughshares Fund said of the new stance, 'It orients US policy towards dramatically fewer weapons and greatly reduced roles.'"

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526 comments

Good and Bad (0)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31753954)

Really the US/Russia/UK/France/PRC only need to have 50-150 devices to have dominance.

The rest of the US delivery systems (ICBM/SLBM) should go to conventional kinetic warheads.

Re:Good and Bad (5, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754004)

The problem with putting conventional warheads on an ICBM is that no one would know for sure that it isn't a nuke until much too late. Technologically, it's possible to launch a missile from the continental US and have it hit a specific house halfway around the world within 3 hours. But if the Russians/Chinese/North Koreans/Iranians think you've just launched a nuke against someone, things could get very dicey, very fast.

Re:Good and Bad (3, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754184)

More like 15 minutes. Well thats what Open Skies is for

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_on_Open_Skies [wikipedia.org]

So the US puts all its nukes on B-52s/B-1Bs/B-2/Next Gen Bomber and the signatories like Russia, Ukraine, UK, France, PRC can verify that the nukes are there. So when the SSBN fires an SLBM with 12 convention MIRVs from the middle of the Indian Ocean the Russians don't get too freaked out about it.

Re:Good and Bad (3, Funny)

Xoltri (1052470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754372)

So when the SSBN fires an SLBM with 12 convention MIRVs

I think you should use more acronyms next time.

Re:Good and Bad (3, Funny)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754518)

We are talking about nuclear weapons. Acronyms are part of the business, its like computers and networking with RAM, CPU, NIC, Eth0, SATA, IDE, RAID-0...

OK. So, when the Nuclear Powered Strategic Missile Submarine fires a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile with 12 conventional Multiple Independently targetable Reentry Vehicles...

Re:Good and Bad (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754632)

Eth0 is an abbreviation not an acronym :)

Re:Good and Bad (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754052)

and what about India, Pakistan, Israel and N. Korea?

Re:Good and Bad (3, Insightful)

Mr 44 (180750) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754200)

ICMBs are not accurate enough to deliver a conventional explosive payload. (if you are off by half a mile, it doesn't matter if you're delivering a nuke). Thats why we have cruise missiles.

Re:Good and Bad (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754356)

They are good enough. Unclassified CEP on a Minuteman III is 150 meters, on a Trident D-5 - 90-120 m (300-400 ft) (with GPS guidance), ~120 m without GPS using the Mark 5 RV, thats close enough for hitting an enemy facility, but you are right, not good enough for hitting a palace in downtown Baghdad.

Someone with math skills, how much energy would be released from 2800 kilos coming in at 6,000 kph?

Also you can use the MIRVs or an RV to deploy more accurate submunitions at the target.

Good publicity move (5, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31753968)

...but to be honest it really doesn't limit the options of available targets. If we want to nuke someone, you'd best be sure we'll find a way to show that they're in "non-compliance".

So, that's why! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754154)

...but to be honest it really doesn't limit the options of available targets. If we want to nuke someone, you'd best be sure we'll find a way to show that they're in "non-compliance".

I work for an extended warranty company and our lawyers have been getting these really rich offers from the Whitehouse.

Re:Good publicity move (4, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754230)

If we want to nuke someone, you'd best be sure we'll find a way to show that they're in "non-compliance".

Nuclear weapons have turned into something of a penis waving contest.
The people most likey to use a nuke (small states and non-state actors) are the least likely to have more than one nuclear weapon.
For those people, a US nuclear arsenal of 2,500 is no more intimidating than an arsenal of 25.
More importantly, the USA is easily capable of using amazingly overpowered "conventional" munitions to respond to such threats.

Nowadays, about the only reason we need nuclear weapons is if someone says "Bin Laden is in those mountains" and we decide to level the mountains.

Re:Good publicity move (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754504)

Nuclear weapons have turned into something of a penis waving contest.

Hence why we need more women in leadership. Just think what they'd wave.

Re:Good publicity move (1)

Lakitu (136170) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754484)

That is probably part of the intent. It simultaneously signals a willingness to back up the "peace" talk while still maintaining a threat. It actually increases the threat on a few particular countries, Iran and North Korea, by singling them out as legitimate nuclear targets because of their own budding nuclear programs. This increases the pressure on them to stop without increasing the actual overall threat of US nuclear weapon use -- increasing the threat to N. Korea and Iran while lowering it to everybody else.

It could also change in a heartbeat. The original threat of using nuclear weapons on non-nuclear states was very low, only to be used in the most dire of circumstances, and even then, it would probably have been against a few specific targets. This seems to explicitly threaten those states with nuclear strikes under certain circumstances, whereas before it was an ambiguous threat so as not to undermine diplomatic efforts.

Re:Good publicity move (1)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754550)

Then how is this a good publicity move if it is meaningless?

Great, but not what I need (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31753980)

Obama needs to unveil a new "jobs doctrine," and a "not too big to fail" bank doctrine. Also, I really hate seeing dead wood Geithner and Summers hang around day after day.

Re:Great, but not what I need (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754338)

Move back to Russia. In America, Obama is the president, so dealing with foreign policy is his job. A "jobs doctrine" would fall more under the jurisdiction of your sta-- er, cit -- er, your own responsibility.

The only times people should be talking about economic matters and presidents in the same breath, is when presidents do things that harm the economy, such as allowing fed chairmen to "lower interest rates."

Weak on National Defense (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31753986)

Why is it always the Democrats who throw away defenses our country has? Venezuela may now feel they can launch a biological attack without fear of being nuked back to God. I sure don't feel safer with the direction our country is going.

Re:Weak on National Defense (3, Informative)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754058)

If Venezuela launches a biological attack (remember that chemical and biological attacks are a whole lot harder than they sound), they're in a world of hurt by conventional means. We wouldn't have nuked them under any President since, maybe, Eisenhower, more likely Truman, but have you looked at what the US spends on its military compared to any other country (or, for that matter, all other countries)?

Obama's promising the US won't do something that almost everybody was confident the US wouldn't do anyway. It's good PR but that's about it.

The cat has been out of the bag since at least 1982, when Britain did not nuke Argentina in the Falklands/Malvinas war. No nuclear power will nuke a non-nuclear power except out of dire necessity.

Re:Weak on National Defense (3, Insightful)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754248)

(remember that chemical and biological attacks are a whole lot harder than they sound)

Really? See, most people have heard the name Haile Selassie I. Let your post serve as a reminder that most people don't know why they know his name.

Allow me to enlighten you: He was Emperor of Ethiopia when Italy invaded and attacked with chemical weapons. He made an passionate speech at the League of Nations condemning the use of chemical weapons.

If Italy, using 1930's technology, was capable of developing, delivering, and deploying chemical weapons in Ethiopia, I will go on record and make the claim that Venezuela could do the same to the US, using 2010's technology.

Re:Weak on National Defense (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754478)

He might not have meant physically difficult. I mean, any country can buy or manufacture chlorine gas and weaponize it fairly easily.

Rather, what I got was that using biological or chemical weapons is a great way to make a whole lot of enemies in world politics very quickly. I mean, look at the fallout the U.S. got from just engaging in a conventional war in Iraq.

It would have been nearly impossible to start firing chemical weapons into Iraq at the start of the war due to the stigma and potential repercussions from allies and neutrals.

Re:Weak on National Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754076)

Right, because American nukes are the only thing holding them back.

Re:Weak on National Defense (5, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754090)

Yes, because Venezuela is the country we need to worry about. Riiiiiiight.

First off, these pronouncements aren't worth the paper they're written on- they can be changed at a whim.

Secondly, this is just an announcement to the world of the administration's view of nuclear weapons. Which is unchanged in reality from our stance since the Russians got the bomb. We aren't going to start a nuclear war because someone could retaliate, and noone would win that fight. Not to mention the morality of indisciminately slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent non-combatants.

So don't worry- you're no safer or less safe than you were 12 hours ago. If you feel differently I suggest you consult the nearest psychiatrist about your paranoia.

Re:Weak on National Defense (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754368)

Yes, because Venezuela is the country we need to worry about.

Indeed. One wonders why some people are still so irrationally afraid of communists, real or imagined. I don't think much of Chavez, but he's not stupid or comic-book evil, the threat of being nuked was probably never on his top ten reasons not to attack the US.

Re:Weak on National Defense (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754500)

Rule #1 of tyrannical dictators (which Chavez qualifies for these days, although I didn't think so 5 or so years ago)- tyrannical dictators want power. They want to maintain or increase their power. So they may do some sabre rattling, but they aren't going to seriously fuck with anyone who can really hurt them. If they have a small weak neighbor without defensive alliances they may attack their neighbor, but they won't do jack shit against a country many times their size, wealth, and military might. So let them rattle to their heart's content and otherwise ignore them. Just don't let them start snatching small countries, or you risk them thinking they can beat you.

This rule applies to all 3 big crazies at the moment- Venezuela, Iran, and N Korea. None of them are doing more than appealing to their support base. Think of it as the foreign equivalent of a Sarah Palin rally. Of the three Iran is the biggest threat because their is the religious fundamentalism aspect, but the drive for power far outweighs that.

Nations to be worried about are places like China. But its quite obvious the current rule of China is taking a long term view and is more interested in ruling through finance than arms- the fact they haven't invaded Taiwan is proof of that. We should be very concerned about the amount of money we borrow from them, but I don't see war in the next decade. Russia's another worry, but Putin for all his evil falls under rule #1- he likes ruling Russia and is more interested in holding power than anything else.

Re:Weak on National Defense (4, Insightful)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754640)

Secondly, this is just an announcement to the world of the administration's view of nuclear weapons. Which is unchanged in reality from our stance since the Russians got the bomb. We aren't going to start a nuclear war because someone could retaliate, and noone would win that fight. Not to mention the morality of indisciminately slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent non-combatants.

Yes, it matches U.S. policy going back to the 1950s... with the exception of an 8-year gap from 2002 to 2010.

The Bush administration's version of this document specifically declared that the U.S. should be prepared to use nuclear weapons on a first-strike basis, and even against non-nuclear states.

You're right, a pronouncement that "we're not gonna nuke ya" isn't worth the paper that it's printed on. But it's a big concrete improvement over a previous pronouncement that "we might nuke ya."

http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/nwgs/npr_review.pdf [ucsusa.org]

Re:Weak on National Defense (1, Funny)

GeodesicGnome (611692) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754266)

Honestly! You feel threatened by Venezuela?! Good thing we've had those nukes keeping Venezuela from attacking us!

Re:Weak on National Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754508)

It's called an "example". Chavez calls the US the devil. Iran says similar things about Israel and we take them seriously.

Are you honestly suggesting that we ignore people when they threaten us?

Re:Weak on National Defense (0)

Zot Quixote (548930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754572)

The Democrats also always seem to be able to build a strong economy. There is a connection.

Also, isn't Venezuela the country that pays for low income New Yorkers to have gas heat in the winter? Just sayin'

Heres the thing... (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#31753992)

As much as we reduce our nuclear weapons arsenel, there remain many a crazy nation that will gladly blow us to oblivion. A monkey who is throwing up a peace sign is not exempt from a skull bashing by the other monkeys.

The question is, which of the monkeys is the US?

Re:Heres the thing... (5, Funny)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31753996)

The US is crazy dynamite monkey.

Re:Heres the thing... (1)

MousePotato (124958) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754594)

Now, THAT was pretty funny!

Gonna have to use that somehow, somewhere in the future.. thanks for the laugh :)

Re:Heres the thing... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754132)

Russia and possibly China are the only countries that could blow America to oblivion and it wouldn't do them much good. Apart from anything else, the US could comfortably scrap 1000 nuclear weapons and still have enough to reduce any and all aggressors to dust. Obama's moves on weapons reduction just take America on it's first steps away from Strangelove country. There's still a hell of a long way to go before you need to start worrying about what the other monkeys are doing*.

*(but, FYI, it rhymes with plaster slating)

Re:Heres the thing... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754254)

there remain many a crazy nation that will gladly blow us to oblivion.

With nukes? That might be why he reserved the right to nuke countries with nukes of their own.

Re:Heres the thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754320)

The US once had enough weapons to raze every city of more than 10,000 in the entire world.

Seems unnecessary and excessive.

Realistically, a hundred vs a few thousand just doesn't seem to matter. Even with 100 we could completely wipe China off the Earth and likely induce a nuclear winter.

I don't know what the issue is...

Re:Heres the thing... (4, Interesting)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754330)

The world really isn't as evil a place as some think it is. And it's not really the "evil" monkeys we need to be afraid of, it's the fearful ones.

The world would be a less dangerous place if folks could stop being such hair-trigger fearmonkeys.

Translation for your average homeowner... (0, Troll)

bagboy (630125) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754010)

If you (my next door neighbor) kill my family by purposefully spreading rat poison in our fresh vegetable garden, I promise to only shoot back at you with my pellet gun. But only if you don't own a gun.

Re:Translation for your average homeowner... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754026)

If you (my next door neighbor) kill my family by purposefully spreading rat poison in our fresh vegetable garden, I promise to only shoot back at you with my pellet gun. But only if you don't own a gun.

I'm afraid this is beyond my comprehension... could you please rephrase this as a car analogy and/or Libraries of Congress/parsec?

No (3, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754042)

If you (my next door neighbor) kill my family by purposefully spreading rat poison in our fresh vegetable garden, I promise to only shoot back at you with my pellet gun. But only if you don't own a gun.

We're talking about nuclear weapons. We're talking about whether we encourage or discourage the proliferation and use of weapons that can kill tens of thousands of people in an instant. I don't think it requires a cute analogy for the average person to understand.

Re:No (1, Insightful)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754162)

Come on, it just wouldn't be Slashdot if people didn't use childish analogies as an excuse for holding reprehensible opinions.

Re:No (1)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754288)

Come on, it just wouldn't be Slashdot if people didn't use childish analogies as an excuse for holding reprehensible opinions.

  What "reprehensible opinions" are you referring to? Enumerate them.

Re:No (2, Informative)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754552)

1. Retribution is a good way to do things
2. Retribution against non-military is acceptable
3. The acts of states can be trivially compared to the acts of individuals
4. The reader is too dumb to understand the situation without an analogy

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754598)

We're talking about whether we encourage or discourage the proliferation and use of weapons that can kill tens of thousands of innocent people in an instant.

Re:No (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754618)

  I have my doubts whether or not average people understand just what the consequences of using nuclear weapons means. I heard a lot of bombastic rhetoric about "nuking the Taliban", etc, back after 9/11. It's ignorant and stupid and while I understand the fury they felt - I felt it myself - I have my doubts about the rationality of such people.

  A better analogy? How about, a small group of crazies from the next city down the highway comes and burns down your coffee shop, and in retaliation you firebomb their entire city, crazies, innocents, bystanders and all.

  Nah, that still sucks. There are no good analogies when it comes to the use of nuclear weapons. Fact is, nobody in these times knows jack shit about how the rest of the world will react, or the long term consequences, if any country - any! - ever uses nuclear weapons in a desperate conflict, let alone a "first strike". Especially not the politicians.

SB

 

Re:Translation for your average homeowner... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754050)

No need for you to shoot back with anything, just prove your case in the justice system, and your neighbor gets their choice of lethal injection or the electric chair.

Re:Translation for your average homeowner... (2, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754092)

There is no justice system in international relations.

Re:Translation for your average homeowner... (2, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754190)

Yes there is, The Hague, The UN, and NATO. When 9/11 happened, we had the whole world willing to help us clean up Afghanistan. When Bush 2.0 said "Now let's go after Iraq!" without a sufficient case, they started looking at him funny.

Re:Translation for your average homeowner... (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754400)

Hmmmm, then maybe the cute analogy was nothing more than a flaming turd after all.

Re:Translation for your average homeowner... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754460)

If you (my next door neighbor) kill my family by purposefully spreading rat poison in our fresh vegetable garden

Why do I get the feeling that in your head, this is more than just a hypothetical scenario?

Cold war is over! (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754018)

The Mutually Assured Destruction plans of the Cold War are outdated... we're no longer fighting states with a homeland, we're fighting a mobile group that will go wherever lawlessness is tolerated and don't care what happens to innocents around them. Scorched Earth isn't the idea, it's really just a question of law enforcement. Gotta use different tactics for a different enemy.

Re:Cold war is over! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754046)

You're confusing tactics with abilities. Unless, of course, somebody nuked a terrorist camp - in which case, I fully apologize.

Re:Cold war is over! (1, Troll)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754088)

We've got the MOAB system of conventional explosives to take out terrorist camps... nukes are much stronger weapons. 2 hits and a promise for more got Japan to surrender.

Re:Cold war is over! (1, Insightful)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754100)

I am getting sick and tired of the "war between nations is obsolete" rhetoric. It makes no fucking sense, and there is no evidence for it. Russia/CIS, the People's Republic of China, and North Korea are all powerful states with a bone to pick with the United States that have been modernizing their military arsenal and conventional forces. Just because the US is currently involved in a counterinsurgency does NOT make symmetric conflicts obsolete, and we have to be prepared for them or the likelihood of their occurrence increases. In that spirit, I find this new doctrine to be very scary. "No first use against NPT-compliant states" means that if one of the US's enemies uses chemical weapons against us, we have no non-conventional means to retaliate, since the US has no meaningful chemical arsenal and we're now forbidden to use nukes in that situation, as previous doctrine would dictate. POTUS is naive.

Re:Cold war is over! (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754240)

blah blah. The gap between the US ability to wage war and other major nations is still very large in a conventional sense. Russia can barely fund their military and China doesn't even have a modern Navy.

You make it seem like conventional weapons are a pointless endeavor. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Re:Cold war is over! (1, Insightful)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754322)

Okay, here's a scenario for you. The US and the CIS go to war. CIS starts losing conventionally, and pulls out their chemical arsenal, which is the most advanced in the world (look up the Novichok Agents.) US sustains massive casualties. Now what? Once upon a time, we would just retaliate with chemical or nuclear weapons, but now we can't... so the CIS has a free force-multiplier with no consequences. Great.

Re:Cold war is over! (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754410)

So we declare them out of compliance of the non-proliferation treaty and we can use nukes. If it came to something like that, we would find a way to use what we had. All these things are more symbolic in nature. You can go back to worrying about getting your sound card drivers working. (I kid! at least the last line I do)

Re:Cold war is over! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754462)

You're right... we CAN'T... We've totally shackled ourselves and it's completely impossible for the POTUS to change the policy... ::rolls eyes::

Re:Cold war is over! (-1, Troll)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754498)

Please count the number of countries China has invaded in the last 3000 years.

Please count the number of countries Russia has invaded in the past 40 years.

Please count the number of countries where we have troops and military bases right now.

Please shut the fuck up.

Re:Cold war is over! (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754538)

If we're fighting the CIS [wikipedia.org] shouldn't we be using EMP and Jedi and force multipliers?

Re:Cold war is over! (1, Informative)

Lakitu (136170) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754540)

Russia is a declared nuclear state, and as such, is still a potential target for US nuclear strikes.

Okay, here's a scenario for you (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754562)

country {x} does insane thing {y}. the usa has some law on the books about not retaliating to the satisfaction of random internet troll {z}

compute the value of internet troll {z}'s opinion as intelligence of {z} approached zero

Re:Cold war is over! (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754580)

The US armed forces are well equipped to endure and operate under a chemical attack (part of the reason they're generally "outlawed", as much as such things can be, is because against modern armed forces they're at best marginally effective but can have significant effects on civilian populations). So even the existence of your first issue is debatable, at best.

On the matter of using WMDs against civilians, sane people/governments don't employ indiscriminate use of chemical/biological/nuclear weapons. The other portion of that ratio are generally undeterred by concepts such as MAD.

Also, cursory glance about the Novichok agents shows them to be effective, but the details of their particular superiority in terms of effectiveness are vague, much less enough to declare them to be "the best in the world".

Re:Cold war is over! (1)

NouberNou (1105915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754608)

Nothing in the NPR says we can not retaliate against a nuclear state. In fact it makes it clear that it is one of the caveats to the new nuclear posture.

We need a deterrent, we need land based and sea based nuclear weapons platforms, but we do not need the current number that we are standing at. Its fine. None of these treaties bring us down below any sort of threshold.

The most important thing to remember to is that the new treaty doesn't actually dismantle these weapons warheads. They will sit there in the nuclear hedge pile for many decades to come. When we stripped out all the old Poseidon missiles when we retired the pre-Ohio class SSBN force we put the warheads in storage at Kings Bay and Bangor. Bangor has 1600 nuclear warheads sitting across the water from Seattle. Washington State is the most nuclear armed region in the world. Granted they do not have delivery systems, but as far as the public knows those warheads are just as lethal today as they were when they were retired.

Re:Cold war is over! (0, Troll)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754260)

You are kidding yourself if you believe the US doesn't have an arsenal of chemical weapons. These are the people who invented VX gas, remember.

Re:Cold war is over! (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754426)

A British chemical company invented (discovered?) VX in 1954. Check out VX here [wikipedia.org]

No, I don't think the US has much in the way of VX and VX-class "weapons" left. And biological stuff is pretty much non-existent, although the facilities to make lots and lots of stuff like smallpox does exist and one would just have to have the will to actually start growing the stuff.

Which I doubt exists today in the US.

Re:Cold war is over! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754306)

Did you seriously just put North Korea in the same category as Russia and China?

Russia and China are major world powers; NK is a poverty-stricken shithole. If it wasn't within firing distance of Seoul, nobody in the world would even know who the hell they were. North Korea is the worlds largest municipal disturbance.

Re:Cold war is over! (1)

iamthelaw (784705) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754434)

The fun thing about doctrines set by decree is that we're one decree away from doing whatever we want to do anyway. The commander-in-chief can change strategic doctrine at any point for any reason. In a Crimson Tide (the movie) situation maybe this means that a nuclear submarine won't retaliate with nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear threat, but otherwise this does almost nothing to change the actual military capabilities of the United States.

Re:Cold war is over! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754444)

The US's military budget is over 7x that of China, over 10x that of Russia, and over 100x that of North Korea. Our navy has more tonnage than the next 13 navies combined. If we include our allies, NATO spending alone accounts for 70% of all the military spending in the entire world. The US could decrease the size of its military drastically and still be "prepared" enough to deter a conventional fight against any of the three countries listed above. As for Obama's nuclear doctrine, its only good for scoring political points. He can change his mind and alter the doctrine again at any time, even retroactively.

Re:Cold war is over! (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754596)

I am getting sick and tired of the "war between nations is obsolete" rhetoric. It makes no fucking sense,

It makes perfect sense. It moves war into the territory of police, giving you a reason to militarize the police. You can then use military equipment and tactics against your own people more easily. As a ruler you would want to do this because the greatest threat any government faces is its own people. (and vice versa)

Re:Cold war is over! (1)

Super Marx Brothers (1784448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754600)

Just because the US is currently involved in a counterinsurgency does NOT make symmetric conflicts obsolete, and we have to be prepared for them or the likelihood of their occurrence increases.

Exactly. The US continues to maintain a "force-on-force" military in a post-Cold War environment in order to oppose an antithetical "force-on-force" type military (i.e. People's Republic of China). In regards to the POTUS' new doctrine, I feel that he is attempting to take a humanitarian high-road while sacrificing the US' ability to justifiably defend it's citizens.

Re:Cold war is over! (1, Interesting)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754382)

we're no longer fighting states with a homeland, we're fighting a mobile group

Who are you to say who we're fighting? Maybe we're also in conflict with states that have homelands, and nuclear deterrence is one of the reasons those conflicts have been so undramatic.

Re:Cold war is over! (0)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754412)

The Nuclear Posture Review makes more sense when considered in its entirety. It's not a secret that the US nuclear stockpile has reliability issues. The long-standing US moratorium on nuclear testing has caused the stockpile to have the "Grandfather's Axe" problem: each piece of a nuclear device has been replaced to ensure reliability, but the entire system has not been tested to make sure it works. The NPR suggests that we lower our stockpile but reinvest in making sure that the fewer number of warheads are reliable with more non-detonation testing. It will abandon the development of new warheads to favor of making sure that our current warheads actually work.

Biological and chemical weapons are not considered true weapons of mass destruction by many weapons analysts. They are inherently tactical in nature even though they are scary weapons. Spreading VX or anthrax requires a lot of skill and will not lead to true mass casualties unless performed by a military power such as Russia. Spraying sarin in the Japan subway didn't kill tons of people. The anthrax mailings in the US didn't really kill many. Notably, in both cases, these attacks were the work of domestic groups that would not leave an avenue for nuclear retaliation. That's probably because these weapons require a lot of warheads to be effective due to the concentrations necessary to contaminate a large area, so it's harder to mount a truly devastating attack. And let's be honest. If a foreign nation created a superbug that kills 100,000 Americans, we'd nuke the fuck out of them, NPR or no NPR.

Re:Cold war is over! (1)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754454)

So when WWII was over, we scrapped our conventional armies, sunk our battle cruisers, and scrapped our tanks. Oh wait...

Just because they aren't useful at the moment doesn't they won't be useful again. History Repeats Itself, we will need nukes again.

Re:Cold war is over! (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754590)

And we'll have them. The treaty with Russia only reduces our arsenal from being able to destroy the world 6 times over to 5. No one is suggesting getting rid of all nukes- MAD works. This is saying we won't nuke anyone who doesn't have nukes (and would probably immediately be ignored if they invaded us). Since we haven't even seriously considered doing so since WWII, and since the act of doing so would probably cause a retaliatory strike by Russia or China, nothing has changed.

Re:Cold war is over! (1)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754586)

I still think it's a mistake.

I think the uncertainty of a nuclear response is good for us. I also think there are circumstances where a nuclear response against a state *supporter* of non-state aggressors makes sense.

It's certainly possible to make a back-channel communication to, say, Syria or Iran that we will retaliate using nuclear weapons if we believe a group linked to them is responsible for a CBN attack against the U.S. This forces them to consider limits on the non-state actors they support and how much latitude to give them in attacking the U.S. since they, the state sponsors, will pay the price for an attack against the U.S.

It's a little like the pack of miscreants in a high school class. One or two of them are causing problems, but the teacher can't tell who is causing the problem. Instead of punishing them all, the teacher states that if another offense takes place, regardless of who gets caught, the ringleader will be punished. Ultimately the ringleader either chooses to accept the punishment or act to restrain the actual bad actor. With a severe enough punishment, the ringleader is now the enforcer of the rules and not a miscreant.

In fact, this is what we should have been practicing against Mideast state terror sponsors -- a plane gets blown up over Scotland? Tripoli gets bombed. Hezbollah gets up to something? Bad day in Damascus. Ultimately we allow ourselves to get hung up on the need for "proof" of a group taking orders from a state sponsor. That shouldn't be necessary, with enough of a stick the state sponsors of terrorism should find that terrorism is not a shield from retaliation.

Its a first step (1, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754022)

I mean, the idea is, don't let your guard down against those countries that are obviously against your ideologies. However, for everyone else who has sworn the non-proliferation, this would help diplomatic relations. Perhaps when the rest of the world starts seeing the U.S. in better light, countries like Iran and North Korea will be a little more amicable to joining these kinds of treaties proposed by the U.N.

In the event that they are stubborn about nuclear domination, the U.S. can still be the standing power capable of keeping them in line.

WWII (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754030)

Under this agreement, we would have lost the Pacific to the Japanese.

Thanks, Obama!

Re:WWII (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754456)

Really? The Battle of Midway was won with nukes?

HAMs (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754048)

Why go all the way to Haiti? Catrina did a great number on the US, and there is always a minor sizemic activity, flood, forest fire, or lost persons... yes, HAM are the ones that go out there in those situations and run communications, often with their own equipment and on their own time. Even that parade you watch, the car race, space flight, or other local event may have been fully or in part orchistrated with the aid of HAM Radio operators. There is also significant technology brought out by HAM Radio experiementers--do you like the idea of Lo-Jack? APRS was the pattern for it.

It's a fun sport where geeks and other good people can get together and do a lot of good for the world, their local communities, and themselves.

N7GH
ARES: a commitment for you and your neighbor.

Re:HAMs (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754104)

Catrina did a great number on the US

There's a meaningful difference between Catrina and Katrina.

Re:HAMs (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754150)

Why go all the way to Haiti? Catrina did a great number on the US, and there is always a minor sizemic activity, flood, forest fire, or lost persons... yes, HAM are the ones that go out there in those situations and run communications, often with their own equipment and on their own time. Even that parade you watch, the car race, space flight, or other local event may have been fully or in part orchistrated with the aid of HAM Radio operators. There is also significant technology brought out by HAM Radio experiementers--do you like the idea of Lo-Jack? APRS was the pattern for it.

Been writing in English long?

Negotiating ploy with Iran, that's all (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754120)

Obama is offering a pledge not to nuke the non-nuclear countries. Realistically, the offer is good until January of 2013, when a new president takes office. For whatever reason, he thinks Iran and North Korea will jump at the chance to become nuke-free states and take him up on his offer. I think the strategy is looney, but I suppose it doesn't really take any options off the table.

This weakness on foreign policy is going to result in another war. Fortunately, it is easy to monetize the new socialism. My stock portfolio consists of oil, defense, guns, and ammo.

Re:Negotiating ploy with Iran, that's all (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754626)

This weakness on foreign policy is going to result in another war. Fortunately, it is easy to monetize the new socialism. My stock portfolio consists of oil, defense, guns, and ammo.

An incentive for more state to join the non-nuclear club is going to start a war?

But, But.... (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754138)

But, But, I thought we had to nuke them all from orbit to be sure? Now international politics are getting really confusing. =/

this helps whom? (1)

scrout (814004) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754186)

Just how does this help the USA in anything?

Whew! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754250)

At least we didn't give up the capability to send harshly worded letters!

Its just PR BS (0, Troll)

jayveekay (735967) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754256)

The U.S. can change its mind and policy at any time. The U.S. can ignore this unilateral declartion at any time. Or the U.S. can just violate it without any legal consequences because there is no authority that can force the U.S. to comply with it.

I don't know how many man-years of time were spent developing this new policy or how it was paid for, but I'm gonna guess "lots" and "my taxes".

Re:Its just PR BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754458)

Exactly. I don't really see how this is newsworthy, and I especially don't see how it is Slashdot-worthy. Granted many Slashdot readers have strong political views, but this wasn't posted in the politics section. I fail to see how a nuclear weapons policy is related to [my rights online] or [my rights] online. Can we just get it over with and rename Slashdot to Daily Kos already?

Gates: All options on the table against Iran (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754258)

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3872300,00.html

Dated April 6, 2010

Gee, Obama says one thing, Secretary of Defense Gates says something else. I wonder - who holds the real authority here?

Redundant question. The president is a puppet post and a ceremonial/managerial one at best.

A good first step (0, Troll)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754308)

Now, if we could get him to forswear any kind of preemptive attack, we might begin to repair the damage to our reputation done by the G. W. Bush Administration.

Re:A good first step (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754574)

we might begin to repair the damage to our reputation done by the G. W. Bush Administration.

Funny, it's the same group of people as the "Obama Administration," which you should read as the "Goldman-Morgan Administration." Granted, the facemen/women are different, and wear blue ties instead of red ones, but the puppet masters remain the same. Pull back the curtain if you want real change to be effected.

Captcha: corrupt.

Indeed.

Pledge does cover Iran... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754342)

since Iran is in fact fully in compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the NPT, regardless of what the US tries to say. NPT signatories have full right to develop and implement the complete nuclear fuel cycle for the purposes of generating power. NPT signatories are not obligated to submit to inspection of their nuclear facilities at the whim of anyone else. The fact that Iran has repeatedly done so demonstrates a remarkable tolerance on their part.

As if anyone would believe this horseshit (0, Troll)

melted (227442) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754384)

Obama has what, less than 3 more years in the office? And then all the options will be back on the table again, reinstated by the next president. But even that is beside the point. The reason why this is such a pile of bovine manure is because if push comes to shove, this will be the first thing to fly out of the window. Reminds me of ABM systems in Poland. Suure we're not going to use them against Russia right now, but in case when they step on our toes all of a sudden this becomes a distinct possibility. Otherwise we'd have built those systems in Iraq, where they'd be closer to Iran, strikes from which we're supposedly trying to prevent.

US politicians should understand, first and foremost, that other countries are not stupid, and they've learned their lesson several times already, so they assume the worst. Which most of the time turns out to be the right thing to assume.

So, India + N Korea, but not Israel.. (0, Troll)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754408)

... are exempted, along with Iraq and Iran...

but Isreal has more nukes than everyone except USA/former USSR, and they aren't even mentioned.

Yet another example of US foreign policy that will go down very badly in the arab / muslim world.

Hell, it doesn't go down very well in Europe.

NUKE MECCA NOW!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754494)

Seriously ... push the fucking button! We must wipe the scourge of Islam off the map!

It's a false "news" (2, Informative)

rarel (697734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754544)

Unless I'm mistaken, this is a handwave. The US already took that same engagement in April 1995 [nouvelobs.com] . It was a condition posed by non-nuclear states for their approval of nonproliferation treaty.

So what's new here?

It's a good sign (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754584)

The new USA president says "nuclear" and the previous one kept saying "nucular".

Guess which one isn't a real word and you'll guess which president was a moron.

I'll take that guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31754648)

Was it Jimmy Carter? He was a "nucular" engineer IIRC.

Ah yes... a "pledge" (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31754588)

And if he changes his mind, he'll simply ignore the pledge. This is just words.

I'll bet the US has a targeting solution for every bit of the planet.
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