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The U.S. Finally Drops Its Ban on Use of Nuclear Weapons

Tuesday, 26 February 2002 12:00 AM

Until now this pledge inspired the proliferation process and reflected the unrealistic view of liberal American politicians concerning the international security environment.

As the Washington Times reported on Feb. 22, the Bush administration is no longer standing by a 24-year-old U.S. pledge not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states.

The paper quoted John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, as saying that the U.S. is "not looking for occasions to use" its nuclear arsenal, but "we would do whatever is necessary to defend America's "innocent civilian population."

Liberal American politicians immediately unleashed criticism over such changes in U.S. nuclear policy, saying that the Bush administration position to ignore the previous American commitment might send a wrong message to the world.

They said that such changes in U.S. nuclear policy reflect the administration's alleged negative view of international treaties, etc. For intelligence experts, however, this statement is like a breath of a fresh air in a musty room after decades of ignorance about the realities of U.S. national security.

In 1978 the Carter administration made a commitment to avoid the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states unless they attack America in alliance with nuclear-armed nations.

For more than two decades American liberals considered this commitment to be a cornerstone in the nuclear non-proliferation process and a powerful tool for international peacekeeping efforts.

However useful a role this commitment played in the middle of the Cold War, since the end of the 1980s it had become an obstacle to advancing international security and protecting the American people.

Moreover, the commitment not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states actually inspired so-called rogue nations to secretly develop weapons of mass destruction. It's well known that this commitment neither stopped nor prevented the nuclear proliferation process, nor did it prevent any country from obtaining nuclear weapons and technologies.

During the last 24 years, the number of members of the "nuclear club" has doubled and in the near future will at least double again.

Also, during the war on terrorism we cannot exclude the very real possibility that international terrorists and their sponsors could at any time use weapons of mass destruction against us.

Recently, the Bush administration warned that terrorists are seeking to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, possibly using stolen nuclear materials. There have been published reports that al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups have attempted to purchase stolen Russian nuclear weapons on the black market.

In this situation it doesn’t matter what state – nuclear or non-nuclear – is harboring nuclear-armed terrorist groups, because all of them now know that using only conventional weapons in an attack against us will not limit U.S. retaliation.

By dropping the previous pledge not to use nukes against non-nuclear states, the U.S. could sufficiently slow down the process of nuclear proliferation and keep terrorists and their sponsors from using their weapons of mass destruction against Americans.

They know that from now on any nation attacking the U.S. with any type of weapon of mass destruction will bear the consequences of a response with any of the weapons in the American arsenal, both nuclear or non-nuclear.

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Until now this pledge inspired the proliferation process and reflected the unrealistic view of liberal American politicians concerning the international security environment. As the Washington Times reported on Feb. 22, the Bush administration is no longer standing by a...
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2002-00-26
Tuesday, 26 February 2002 12:00 AM
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