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KUHNER: Does nonproliferation equal capitulation?
Question of the Day
President Obama has destroyed the world's last superpower. America is no longer the global cop. Enemies no longer tremble at our military might. Our foes no longer respect us. Washington no longer has the will - or stomach - to maintain its hegemonic status.
This is the real meaning of the administration's dramatic shift in nuclear security policy. The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) announced this week represents a geopolitical watershed: the end of the American moment, the point at which the United States abrogated its decisive leadership on the international stage.
The NPR states that Washington will never use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - even if one of those nations attacks America with biological or chemical weapons. There is a "carve-out" for Iran and North Korea (both NPT signatories). Otherwise, if some terrorist group linked to a Middle Eastern country murders millions of Americans by blowing up domestic nuclear power plants or through germ warfare, such as with anthrax, a nuclear retaliatory strike is off-limits.
This will only embolden America's adversaries. They now know Mr. Obama will never resort to the ultimate weapon - the bomb - no matter how heinous their crime. Moreover, the NPR stipulates that the United States will not modernize its nuclear weapons systems; rather, Washington will rely upon its aging warheads and nuclear infrastructure. China and Russia have gained a decisive advantage in pursuing innovative nuclear weapons technology.
Mr. Obama thinks the NPR represents a key step toward attaining his ultimate goal: a world free of nuclear weapons. Hence, he is slashing America's arsenal and narrowing the conditions in which nuclear weapons can be used.
The president is a left-wing fantasist who believes the atomic bomb poses the greatest threat to international security. He is wrong. The bomb has been the most important force for global peace in history. The nuclear deterrent prevented the United States and Soviet Russia from directly coming to blows during the Cold War. For centuries, vast armies have rushed at each other's throats; great power rivalries led to bloodbaths on the battlefield. The existence of the bomb has made that obsolete. America's vast nuclear arsenal ensures it will never be in a major military conflict with giants, such as Red China or Imperial Russia.
Also, the NPR means that, if fought today, the United States would be unable to deploy the weapons that won World War II in the Pacific: the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Contrary to liberal myth, the use of the bombs not only effectively ended the war but saved countless American and Japanese lives. It was an act of military humanitarianism. Scholars estimate that a U.S. invasion of the Japanese home islands would have resulted in the deaths of more than 500,000 American soldiers and millions of Japanese civilians. It is why President Truman's decision was supported overwhelmingly by U.S. troops - and the American public.
Yet the America that defeated Hitler's Germany and Tojo's Japan was a different nation. It was a superpower on the rise, ready and able to crush its enemies - regardless of the cost. Mr. Obama's America is the very opposite: parochial, self-indulgent, effete and in retreat. Even the thought of using atomic weapons frightens us. That is not enlightened statesmanship; it is moral cowardice.
Throughout the George W. Bush years, the progressive left denounced him as a cowboy "unilateralist" who was willing to go it alone - even in the face of intense opposition from the bien-pensant in Germany and France. The truth was the opposite: On Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr. Bush erected broad coalitions.
The real unilateralist is Mr. Obama. He is unilaterally disarming America. Under his watch, the United States has agreed to slash its nuclear arsenal in a treaty with Russia. He is forgoing the option of developing the nukes of the future. And he has told our enemies - in no uncertain terms - that the United States will not hit back with our most powerful weapons, no matter how many Americans are slaughtered.
Mr. Obama is combining dangerous disarmament with reckless appeasement. He is banning the use of terms such as "Islam," "jihad" and "Islamic extremism" from the government's national security documents related to U.S. strategy in the war on terror. The rationale he is using: The words offend many in the Muslim world.
Mr. Obama's actions represent a profound detachment from reality: an inability to recognize that America is in a life-death struggle with radical Islam. Censoring terminology will not stop jihadists from their goal of imposing a global caliphate. It simply confuses and demoralizes the public at home. By being unable or unwilling to identify our mortal enemy, Mr. Obama has, in effect, abandoned the war on Islamic terrorism.
He has transformed America into a nation that is no longer serious about its international responsibilities. He has rendered the country a joke in the eyes of the world - especially to its enemies.
Iran's apocalyptic mullahs have caught on. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad publicly mocked Mr. Obama as an amateur. Iran is on the verge of acquiring the nuclear bomb. Like Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, Mr. Ahmadinejad rightly senses that the West's champion has lost the will to stand up to fascist dictators bent on military expansion. Mr. Obama's policies of appeasement - and threats of hollow sanctions - only elicit contempt from the Persian Nazi strongman.
"Mr. Obama, you are a newcomer [to politics]. Wait until your sweat dries and get some experience," Mr. Ahmadinejad told a crowd of supporters.
Mr. Obama is a dreamer. He has a messiah complex - the belief that his presidency is about permanent historical change such as establishing socialist progressivism and a nuclear-free world. His delusions may play well with the liberal press corps. But in the real world - the world of Chinese militarism, Russian gangsterism, Iranian adventurism and Islamist imperialism - he is viewed as the caretaker of a declining hyperpower.
Mr. Obama's dream is a nightmare. Pax Americana has maintained global order since 1945. It is now crumbling, sapped by a crisis of confidence. The barbarians are at the gates. A new Dark Age is almost upon us. The American superpower is no more.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank. He is the daily host of the "Kuhner Show" on WTNT 570-AM (www.talk570.com) from noon until 3 p.m.
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