- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Obama administration has revealed - for the first time ever - the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal in detail. This information was a closely guarded secret for more than 60 years. By unloading such sensitive information, President Obama is responsible for deliberately exposing a chink in America’s defensive armor. The Land of the Free is less secure for it.

On orders from the White House, the Pentagon on Monday released the exact number of nuclear warheads as the 189-nation nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference got under way in New York. The U.S. nuclear stockpile now stands at 5,113 warheads, down from a high of 31,255 in 1967.

Never before has the United States allowed either friend or foe access to such precise information about our nuclear assets - and for good reason. A healthy dread of these awesome weapons has deterred aggression against the American homeland and kept the nation safe.

Disarmament officials and purported peace activists claim the frank U.S. disclosure will elicit similar openness on the part of other nuclear powers, leading them to follow suit. We’re not so sure that neighborhood bullies will decide that giving away state secrets is the cool thing to do on the nuclear playground. While revealing the size of the stockpile might earn some diplomatic plaudits for an approval-seeking Mr. Obama, surrendering such information constitutes shortsighted defense policy.

Contrary to Team Obama’s pipe dream of a nuclear-free world, the unfolding international trend is toward uncontrollable nuclear proliferation, not reduction - especially in the Third World. It’s hardly breaking news that nations that wish us ill profess platitudes of peace while quietly developing their own nuclear capabilities. Foremost among them is the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on Monday called on treaty signatories to punish nations that threaten other countries with nuclear weapons. This was a thinly veiled snipe at the United States.

The Iranian despot has perfected his role as puppet master on the world stage. Relentless denunciations of America’s nuclear posture played into the U.S. decision to release its long-guarded nuclear secrets as American treaty negotiators sought to pre-empt Iran’s demand that existing nuclear nations provide more accountability for their nuclear materials. Mr. Ahmadinejad has pulled Mr. Obama’s strings, goading the United States along the path of disarmament, all the while moving his Islamic regime inexorably toward possession of the mullahs’ own nuclear weapons. In the game of power politics, Mr. Obama is clearly out of his depth.

This is not a minor issue. As former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John R. Bolton has warned in this paper, “If Washington will not continue to hold the nuclear umbrella that has provided strategic stability for so long, other countries will begin making divergent decisions about how to protect themselves, including, for some, the possibility of seeking their own nuclear weapons.”

In an ideal world, a nuclear umbrella wouldn’t be necessary, but ours is hardly an ideal world. Nature abhors a vacuum, and as America surrenders its mantle as the world’s foremost superpower, other nations will rush forward to pick it up. Providing America’s adversaries with precise information about our military capabilities only assists their strategy against us. If he had any useful experience, Mr. Obama would know that - assuming he’s not weakening America on purpose.