Well, that’s good to know. Did the US ever plan on nuking small state actors foolish enough to lob a few slings and arrows its way? It seems unlikely as the global outrage would have been magnitudes of intensity higher than the sort of present languid disapproval of the expanding war in Iraq/Afghanistan/Pakistan we’ve seen. However, this all begins to look a little more like an attempt to preemptively claim the moral high ground on both sides when one recalls the fact that Iran affirmed a desire for nuclear disarmament a month and a half ago – the same day that Russia announced continued sales of defensive conventional SA missiles to Iran in support of the Iranian domestic nuclear program. Anyways, it remains to be seen what will come of this, there are a lot of pieces in play. At least it has the appearance of a virtuous circle – a disarmament race would be a welcome change from the usual. So let’s practice a little prescriptive optimism today (in defiance of all rational expectation.)
Update (same day): Ah. The CBC is now reporting that US Defence Secretary (and former CIA head) Robert Gates has announced that “the policy, known as the Nuclear Posture Review, would not apply to North Korea, Iran or other countries that refuse to co-operate with the international community on nonproliferation standards.” So it’s just more of the sort of political maneuvering we saw in the lead-up to the Iraq war.
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Mark Tran, The Guardian
April 6, 2010
Revamped strategy to rule out use of atomic weapons in response to attacks from non-nuclear states
The US will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that comply with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, even if it is attacked with biological or chemical weapons, Barack Obama is expected to announce today.
However, the US president is expected to stop short of declaring that the US would never be the first to launch a nuclear attack, as many arms control advocates had recommended.
Obama will describe the purpose of weapons as “primarily” or “fundamentally” to deter or respond to a nuclear attack. But even as he limits the conditions for a nuclear strike, the president will make an exception for states such as Iran and North Korea, which have violated or renounced the NPT.
In an interview with the New York Times, before today’s unveiling of the new US nuclear strategy, Obama described his policy as part of a broader effort to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.
Obama can expect an onslaught from conservatives who believe that such an approach undermines US national security. At the other end of the spectrum, liberals will be disappointed that he stops short of renouncing the first-strike option altogether.
“We are going to want to make sure that we can continue to move towards less emphasis on nuclear weapons,” Obama told the New York Times, “while making sure that our conventional weapons capability is an effective deterrent in all but the most extreme circumstances”.
There are five declared nuclear states: the US, Britain, France, Russia and China. Three states with nuclear weapons have refused to sign the NPT — India, Pakistan and Israel — and North Korea renounced the treaty in 2003.
Iran remains a signatory, but the UN security council has repeatedly found it in violation of its obligations, because it has hidden nuclear plants and refused to answer questions about allegations that it was working on a warhead.
The new strategy, known as the nuclear posture review, comes amid a flurry of nuclear diplomacy. Obama plans to fly to Prague to sign a new arms control agreement with Russia on Thursday to slash nuclear arsenals by a third. The following week, he will host 47 world leaders in Washington for a summit meeting on nuclear security.
Obama’s new strategy marks a break with the Bush administration’s more hawkish policy set out in its 2002 review, threatening the use of nuclear weapons to pre-empt or respond to chemical or biological attack, even from non-nuclear countries.
Those threats, Obama said, could be deterred with “a series of graded options” — a combination of old and newly -designed conventional weapons. In another departure from his predecessor, Obama will commit the US to no new atomic arms development, US officials said.
The US will, however, increase investment in upgrading its weapons infrastructure, which one White House official said would “facilitate further nuclear reductions”.
In line with an in-depth review of US nuclear weapons policy, the administration also hopes to persuade Russia to agree to open talks on mutual cuts in nuclear arsenals that go beyond the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start) treaty to be signed in Prague.
The White House hopes to overcome Russia’s expressed reluctance to move beyond Start, signed at the end of the cold war in 1991 and which expired in December, especially if it means cutting Moscow’s arsenal of tactical, or short-range nuclear arms. Russia considers these so-called theatre nuclear weapons vital to its defence strategy and an important bargaining chip on security issues.
“We are going to pursue opportunities for further reductions in our nuclear posture, working in tandem with Russia but also working in tandem with Nato as a whole,” Obama told the New York Times.
An early test will be the estimated 200 tactical nuclear weapons — considered largely obsolete — the US still has stationed in western Europe. Russia has called for their removal, but Obama said he wanted to consult his Nato allies before such a commitment.
Source | See also under Militarization: Controversial use of mercenary forces surges in Afghanistan | Afghan tension mounts as NATO offensive looms | US Airline Security Moves to Known Threat Descriptive Profiling | Recent mass grave of the ‘disappeared’ uncovered in Columbia | Cop Cleared By Grand Jury For Tasering Great Grandmother During Speeding Stop | Officers suspended after using Taser on 10-year-old | Raid on ‘unheard of’ Hutaree militia puzzles small town | The prison spending boom | Full Afghan withdrawal ‘wrong,’ top Tory says | Ontario report rewrites stun gun rules, somewhat | FBI raids in Washtenaw, Lenawee counties tied to Michigan militia group | Massive fortress Ottawa in the works | UK: Police Taser use ‘doubled’ in third quarter of 2009 | U.S. to press for Canada to keep troops in Afghanistan | Russia claims breakthrough in historic nuclear reduction agreement with US | Toronto G20 summit security to be ‘massive’ | British military intelligence ‘ran renegade torture unit in Iraq’ | RCMP needs 5,500 rooms during G20 summit | U.S. cybersecurity bill introduced in Senate | Body scans eventually mandatory, TSA official says | Planned random DUI checkpoints a violation of rights | Secret Document Calls Wikileaks ‘Threat’ to U.S. Army | Defence Department official used private contractors for spy network in AfPak | Public Safety Canada announces national plan to centralize operations in state of emergency | While Government Treats Citizens As Terrorists, Mexican Military Invades U.S. | Chicago police expanding Taser use | Cyberattacks push CSIS to reach out to business | An American Detention Bill You Ought to Read More Carefully | Canada wanted Afghan prisoners tortured: lawyer | Military trials possible for Sept. 11 terror suspects | Fingerprints Now Required to Shred (That Means Skateboard, Dude) | United States weighs massive expansion of Internet monitoring | UK: Mobile fingerprint scanner for English and Welsh police | Plan to put more police on Toronto transit | 1 in 3 Killed by U.S. Drone Attacks In Pakistan Are Civilians | Israeli preparations for war with Iran troubling | Downtown Toronto to become a fortress for G20 summit | Pentagon Discloses Hundreds of Reports of Possibly Illegal Intelligence Activities | Australia to fingerprint, face-scan visitors from Muslim nations | G8/G20: Gearing up for the biggest security event in Canadian history | Toronto braces for G20 disruption, Ottawa to pick up security tab | The truth about the Mossad | Iran could be making nuclear warhead, says new director of IAEA | USA: Fourth Amendment Trashed As Airport Tyranny Hits The Streets | RCMP to test Taser cameras | Report: France ‘deliberately’ used soldiers as ‘nuclear guinea pigs’ | UK Police use spy drone for first domestic arrest — without airspace clearance | Global security to top agenda of G8 foreign ministers | Five civilians killed in Nato rocket attack in Afghanistan | NATO’s novel battle tactic spawns opposite effects as 12 civilians killed | Russia to push ahead on Iran missile deal | Obama Making Plans to Use Executive Power | NATO, Afghan troops launch largest air assault of Afghan war | Report: ‘US to expand military centers in Pakistan’ | Vancouver police shut down several blocks, shopping mall to blow up fishing rod | Marjah, Afghanistan: Countdown To A Battle | Future police: Meet the UK’s armed robot drones | Obama threatens actions against Iran over nuclear program | Troops Randomly Patrol Streets In Pittsburgh in Wake of Snowfall, Respond To “Domestic Disputes” | CFB Trenton commander charged with murder | UN sanctions urged over Iran’s uranium plans | Elite Toronto police squad stops and questions thousands | Pentagon Looks to Breed Immortal ‘Synthetic Organisms,’ Molecular Kill-Switch Included | US Interrogation Squad Doing ‘Scientific Research’ | Domestic threats biggest Olympic security concern: expert | Washington DC transit system holds anti-terror drills | Hitchens: North Korean’s stature, worldview stunted by authoritarian hate and ignorance | U.S. deploys land and sea-based missile shield in the Gulf to deter attack from Iran | UN agency calls for global cyberwarfare treaty, ‘driver’s license’ for Web users | UK: Tony Blair attempts to shift focus to Iran as ‘global threat’ at Iraq war inquiry | Winnipeg police caught on video beating man | Blair defends decision to join U.S. in Iraq | Crotch bomber bill before Congress: Treat all ‘terrorism suspects’ as enemy combatants. Domestically. | Toronto Star Columnist Fiorito: The cops came and took my gun | Pentagon to Send More Special Forces Troops to Yemen | Military probes beating of Afghan prisoner | Obama’s War for Oil in Colombia | Pentagon calls for ‘Office of Strategic Deception’ | British and US troops to launch new Afghanistan offensive | The War on Terrorism and the Countdown to the 2010 Olympics | General McChrystal indicates talks with Taliban to be discussed | UK police plan to use military-style spy drones | UK: Photographers protest over terror search laws | Texas Schoolkids Tagged With GPS Tracking Devices | No new Taliban crackdowns for 6 months, Pakistan says | Congressman Ron Paul: After ‘CIA coup,’ agency ‘runs military’ | Olympic surveillance cameras causing concern | BATF Notice Bans Private Gun Sales In Texas | Regina police probe RCMP torture claims | War resister released from U.S. prison | Yemen forces ‘kill Al-Qaeda chief’ | UK: Anti-terror stop and search policy ruled illegal by European human rights court | Obama Executive Order Stokes Martial Law Fears | A North American Security Perimeter Coming Into View | North Korea calls for peace treaty with US | ‘No intention’ to invade Yemen: Obama | US Domestic Espionage Alert: Spy Drone Discovered | American cash gives Yemen a reason to join the hunt for al-Qaeda | Canada no longer a haven for war resisters | Ex-Blackwater contractors charged with Afghan killings | Airport security starts in the parking lot | PM Harper downplays detainee torture scandal, prorogation | Suspected US drone ‘kills 12ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â² in Pakistan | Body scanners coming to Canadian airports | UK: Full-body scanners being ordered for airports, says Gordon Brown | Group slams Chertoff on conflict of interest in scanner promotion | Britain, U.S. to fund Yemen anti-terror unit | US court dismisses charges against Blackwater security guards | The ‘Israelification’ of airports: High security, little bother | Taser inquiry can rule on RCMP misconduct | U.S. ruling limits how police can use Tasers | Obama vows to step up terror fight | Prominent Chinese reformer on trial for subversion | Sri Lankan guards ’sexually abused girls’ in Tamil concentration camp | Police State Canada 2010 and the Olympic Crackdown | U.S. prods Pakistan to expand offensive | Pakistan anti-Taliban offensive in South Waziristan ‘over’ | CIA admits Blackwater presence in Pakistan | Dr Peter Watts, Canadian science fiction writer, beaten and arrested at US border | RCMP had no grounds to use Taser on N.W.T. girl: report | Blackwater guards linked to secret CIA raids | Chomsky says Israel, ‘US military base’ | Blackwater’s Erik Prince: Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy | U.S. Military Joins CIA’s Drone War in Pakistan | US Air Force confirms new ‘Beast of Kandahar’ drone | Scathing report concludes RCMP used TASERs prematurely in Vancouver airport death | Another 7,000 NATO troops going to Afghanistan | U.S. police taser 10-year-old | Russia has no evidence of Iran nuclear bomb-Putin | Obama sends 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan | Condi set sights on Iraq as 9/11 unfolded: UK diplomat | Border guards are now Olympic thought police — Amy Goodman detained | Mumbai highlights security on attack anniversary | Nato will send 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan, says Brown | The Culture of the Warrior: Canada’s military invisible no more | US Cop Tasers and Arrests a 10-Year Old Girl For Throwing a Fit | Is G20 more than Toronto can handle? 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high-power Taser | TASER files court motion to quash Braidwood probe’s findings | Ex-employees claim Blackwater pimped out young Iraqi girls | Canada should stay in Afghanistan: NATO head | Alabama County May Call In Troops To Perform Law Enforcement Duties | Blackwater Founder Erik Prince Implicated in Murder | ‘Coalition of the willing’ comes to end in Iraq | Prominent protesters stand trial in Iran | U.S. military seeks ’second surge’ for Afghan mission | Arctic borders will be defended: MacKay | Handgun bans and the world of make-believe | US Homeland Security: Terror fight needs public’s vigilance | US Military To Work With FEMA During Swine Flu Pandemic | Arctic expert questions Canada’s northern strategy | Government of Canada Participates in Major US Homeland Security Exercise | TASER introduces 3-shot semiauto | Northwest Passage surveillance study halted | Microwave weapon will rain pain from the sky | Israeli soldiers allege abuses against Palestinians | Dick Cheney ‘hid plans to kill al-Qaida operatives abroad’ | UK PM Gordon Brown plans troops surge in Afghanistan | Toronto TAVIS special police corps demanding ID on city streets | RCMP pipeline bomber hunt draws harassment compliants, comparisons to secret police | BC Bars swipe patron IDs, collect data | Safety Tests MIA for Taser’s Shocking New Shotgun | 2010 Olympic security plans include ‘free speech’ zones | Military to get $5B for armoured vehicles | Western Governments Funding Taliban & Al-Qaeda To Kill U.S. Troops, Destabilize Countries | Taliban flee new U.S. drive in Afghanistan | US FEMA emergency management, Israeli IDF team up for martial law exercises | Cynthia McKinney Demands Immediate Release After Her Gaza-Bound Boat is Seized by Israeli Navy | Iraq Marks Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Cities | Psiphon braintrust: Ottawa needs a strategy for cyberwar | US ‘concerned’ over cyber threat | 50 Toronto high schools to have armed police presence | Selective enforcement: Charkaoui barred from US airspace on flight from Fredericton to Montreal | Pakistan remains silent as U.S. air attack kills 80 | UK to found new ‘cyber-security’ units attached to national eavesdropping centre | Illegal Victoria Transit bag searches reinstated under new policy for Canada Day | North Korea threatens to ‘wipe out’ U.S. | Volunteer snitches man cameras in Lancaster, PA. | Violence on the streets of Tehran as police beat back protesters | Mounties discussed Tasing Dziekanski prior to altercation | Toronto police ready to take over transit patrols | Military spycraft patrols Ontario border from Fort Drum | Mounties discussed Tasing Dziekanski prior to altercation | Toronto police ready to take over transit patrols | ISPs must help police snoop on internet under new bill | UK plans to integrate ‘cybersecurity’ centre with US, Canada | Military spy blimp watched Indy race from on high | Incoming CSIS chief to seek biometric data at border | New $3B Defence Department plane contract requirements written to favour Italian vendor | New video shows officer shove, then taser 72-year-old great grandmother | Pakistan army backs citizens fighting Taliban | Mohawk protesters block Ontario bridge over arming of border guards | UK: Spy bugs may be deployed for 2012 Olympics | US: Ruling allowing Taser use to get DNA may be nation’s first | UK schoolkids trained to inform on ‘extremist’ classmates by police DVD | Akwesasne natives protest armed border guards, border crossing closed in retaliation | New border rules create ‘invisible Berlin Wall’: mayor | Homing chips are CIA’s latest weapon against ‘al-Qaida’ targets hiding in Pakistan’s tribal belt | Homeland Security to scan fingerprints of travellers exiting the US | Government Experiments on U.S. Soldiers: Shocking Claims Come to Light in New Court Case | New US border technology directed at insidious threat: Canadians | Toronto police board challenges chief on CCTV deterrence, demands ‘phase-in’ | Canada eyes arms sales to Pakistan | Next up for France: police keyloggers and Web censorship | Clinton defends new border restrictions | ‘AmeriCorps’ Domestic Paramilitary Propaganda Ad | New US brigade ‘bringing in plenty of firepower’ to Afghanistan | Caught in the crossfire — the Swat valley’s fleeing families | Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More | Canadian military to spam Afghan’s cell phones | Lunchtime lockdown to promote healthier eating: T.O. school plan | CIA: Our Drones are Killing Terrorists. 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