The post-World War i disarmament movement, as journalist Walter Lippmann observed in 1943, was “tragically successful in disarming the nations that believed in disarmament” (emphasis mine throughout). Those who weren’t believers, of course, were responsible for the nightmare of the Second World War.
History is now repeating itself.
In April, one year after his pledge in Prague to seek “a world without nuclear weapons,” U.S. President Barack Obama told the New York Times that he would not use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state, even if that nation attacked the U.S. with biological or chemical weapons.
The administration’s new position on nuclear weapons was spelled out in the Pentagon’s Nuclear Policy Review (npr), also released in April. One of the report’s key conclusions is this statement: “The United States will continue to strengthen conventional capabilities and reduce the role of nuclear weapons in deterring non-nuclear attacks, with the objective of making deterrence of nuclear attack on the United States or our allies and partners the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons.”
It’s a striking contrast to the wording used in the 2001 npr: “Nuclear weapons play a critical role in the defense capabilities of the United States, its allies and friends. They provide credible military options to deter a wide range of threats, including wmd and large-scale conventional military force.” Of the seven nations that report identified as the most significant threats to the United States, five of them didn’t even have nuclear weapons.
Even in 1997, during the Bill Clinton years, a presidential directive warned that the U.S. wouldn’t use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states except “in the case of an invasion or any other attack on the United States.”
In fact, ever since the beginning of the Cold War, every U.S. administration has at least allowed for the possibility of using nuclear power to answer dangerous threats from non-nuclear enemies. The policy has never been spelled out explicitly. It was meant to be ambiguous in order to keep potential adversaries off balance, in hopes that they wouldn’t attack.
The Obama doctrine effectively removes any ambiguity. It lays America’s cards on the table for all to see. It marks the first time any U.S. president has publicly outlined specific circumstances in which America would not use nuclear weapons if attacked.
Thus, America’s enemies now know they can avoid a devastating nuclear counterstrike as long as they comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. As columnist Charles Krauthammer explained, “It’s like saying that if a terrorist deliberately uses his car to mow down a hundred people waiting at a bus stop, the decision as to whether he gets (a) hanged or (b) 100 hours of community service hinges entirely on whether his car had passed emissions inspections” (April 9).
Leaving aside the immoral absurdity of the above scenario, strategically speaking, it’s dangerously naive and childish. “Does anyone believe that North Korea or Iran will be more persuaded to abjure nuclear weapons because they could then carry out a biological or chemical attack on the U.S. without fear of nuclear retaliation?” Krauthammer asked.
Evidently, the current administration in the White House believes the answer is yes. The Obama administration firmly believes that the dream of a nuclear-weapons-free world won’t happen unless the United States sets the example and dismantles its nuclear arsenal first.
“This approach,” Vice President Joseph Biden wrote in the Los Angeles Times on April 7, “provides additional incentive for countries to fully comply with nonproliferation norms.”
The opposite is true. This approach actually accelerates proliferation—particularly among rogue states and ascendant powers rushing to fill the power vacuum left by the United States.
Can Russia Be Trusted?
In the same week President Obama pared down the list of conditions for using nuclear weapons, he signed a nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia, agreeing to slash America’s nuclear weapons arsenal by one third and to cut in half the number of missiles, submarines and bombers used to deliver them. This, the president said, will set the stage for further cuts. “It is just one step on a longer journey,” he added.
A majority of Americans, meanwhile, oppose downsizing the U.S. arsenal. Only 31 percent believe Russia will even honor the agreement.
All one has to do to know Moscow’s intentions is look at what it was busy doing in the lead-up to signing this treaty: Distributing as many weapons as possible to America’s enemies—and promising nuclear assistance to anti-American Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela.
A week before the treaty, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, visiting Venezuela for the first time, signed 31 agreements in oil, trade—and nuclear power. The two leaders signed a letter of intent to build a nuclear power station, which of course Chávez hastily assured the world would not be used to build a nuclear bomb. Upon returning to Moscow, Putin said Russia’s arms exports to Venezuela may exceed $5 billion. Already, Venezuela has bought $4 billion worth of military equipment from Russia in the past five years.
That same week, China took delivery of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles from Russia as part of a contract worth up to $2.25 billion. Meanwhile, as American Thinker reported, “Russia has been conducting quite a business by selling the same S-300 ‘Favorit’ (the world’s most powerful and efficient air defense system) to many countries hostile to the U.S. and Israel: Syria, India, Algeria, Malaysia, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia”—and possibly Iran (April 7).
On the day Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the arms reduction treaty with President Obama, he made a point to say there are limits to Russia’s support for sanctions against Iran for its nuclear ambition. According to the Washington Post, Medvedev objects to the kind of harsh sanctions “that would create economic hardship for Iran, foment financial chaos or lead to regime change” (April 9). In other words, Russia opposes anything that might conceivably convince Tehran to set aside its nuclear weapons program.
Added to that, within days of the April 8 signing, Medvedev was already warning the United States that Russia might withdraw from the disarmament treaty if the U.S. didn’t meet Russian demands regarding U.S. missile defense plans in Europe.
Russia certainly has its own idea of arms control.
But never mind that—President Obama believes in unilateral disarmament.
No New Weapons
Besides dismantling nukes and promising not to use the remaining arsenal to retaliate against a chemical or biological attack, President Obama also reassured potential enemies that America will not conduct nuclear testing, or pursue new military missions, or develop any new nuclear weapons, or develop new capabilities for nuclear weapons.
Out with the old—and out with the new! Even the New York Times sees America’s Cold War stockpile of weapons as “an aging, oversized, increasingly outmoded nuclear arsenal” (April 6). But don’t count on there being any upgrades—at least not during the present administration.
Meanwhile, absolutely nothing prevents Russia, China or the European Union—not to mention Iran and North Korea—from continuing the research and development they need to build the next generation of nuclear weapons.
And they will continue to build even as America continues its one-man-nuclear-disarmament show. The president firmly believes that America’s national security, as well as that of its allies, “can be increasingly defended by America’s unsurpassed conventional military capabilities and strong missile defenses.” The greatest threat facing the U.S. and the rest of the world, President Obama said on April 6, “is no longer a nuclear exchange between nations, but nuclear terrorism by violent extremists and nuclear proliferation to an increasing number of states.”
Why focus on nukes when the “greatest threat” now comes from “violent extremists”? Who these violent extremists actually are is an open question, judging by the revisions being made to the official document outlining America’s national security strategy. According to Associated Press, President Obama’s advisers are currently removing terms like Islamic extremism and jihad in order to “emphasize that the United States does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terror” (April 7).
Thus, the strategic approach to fighting radical Islam is effectively this: Close your eyes and hope they go away. And as for the possibility of global nuclear war, the npr assures us that threat is now “remote.”
It couldn’t be more wrong. Nuclear war is the greatest threat facing America! Prophecy says so (Amos 5:3; Matthew 24:21-22)—which is why America’s quest for a nuke-free world is of special significance. It’s actually accelerating the fulfillment of those end-time prophecies. Even 20th century history teaches this lesson.
“Not Simply to Talk, But to Act”
Following the Nuclear Policy Review and the disarmament treaty with Russia, 47 nations joined forces with President Obama in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit. “Today is an opportunity,” the president said on April 13, “not simply to talk, but to act. Not simply to make pledges, but to make real progress on the security of our people.”
Yet, in coming away from the summit, one of the biggest “achievements” was convincing China to at least talk about the possibility of sanctions against Iran. According to news reports, President Obama reassured Chinese President Hu Jintao that if Iran responded to sanctions by cutting off its flow of crude into China, the United States would intervene to help China re-stock its oil supply.
As if Iran is somehow holding China over a barrel because of its crude oil supply. It’s China that’s holding the United States over a barrel! Iran’s destabilizing presence in the Middle East is a strategic benefit to China because it counterbalances American dominance in the region.
Surely there must be someone in Washington who understands that.
Not surprisingly, the day after China agreed to talk sanctions, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official in Beijing was quick to clarify. He said, “China supports a dual-track strategy and has always believed that dialogue and negotiations are the optimal channels for resolving the Iranian nuclear issue. Sanctions and pressure cannot fundamentally resolve the issues.”
It was yet another flop that negotiators hardly stumbled over en route to their next diplomatic achievement: the disarmament of Ukraine. Then Canada. Then Malaysia and Mexico.
To think—it was the largest gathering of world leaders to assemble on American soil since World War ii—and the best they could come up with was the disarmament of Canada. Meanwhile, the most dangerous nuclear threats facing civilization barely entered the discussion, and the prime minister of Israel backed out of the summit for fear of being ambushed by Arab leaders about giving up his own nation’s nuclear arsenal.
What a stunning display of national weakness on the part of America. It’s nothing short of a step-by-step reenactment of the 1930s. At that time, Britain and France demilitarized, supposing Germany was disarming also. Hitler exploited this spirit of appeasement to actually re-arm, with Soviet help. And when he went on the offensive, Britain and France were unprepared to respond.
It will happen again. And it will result in the greatest explosion of violence this world has ever seen.
Only then, after yet another painfully sad repetition of history, will the illusion of arms control be horrifically revealed as a tragic success. ▪