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Obama’s nuclear policy signals weakness

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Frank J. Gaffney Jr., in considering the Senate review of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty START, has exposed the bait-and-switch approach of President Obama's nuclear policy in his article "The president's new clothes" (Opinion, Tuesday).

It should not be overlooked that in his effort to support his long-term objective of eliminating nuclear weapons, the president has totally distorted the long-established practice of developing an objective Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The president used the review process to force the national security fiefdoms in his administration to sign on to his vision of nuclear deterrence.

The policy expounded in the NPR has moved from deterrence to responsive reaction. Instead of relying upon perception and uncertainty to avoid a hostile attack, the NPR specifies what reaction would be taken to an attack, and more importantly, what actions would not lead to a nuclear response. This reduces our security in the nuclear-proliferated world.

Deterrence contributes to security by leaving an opponent uncertain of what would trigger a nuclear response while at the same time demonstrating with a high degree of confidence that if nuclear weapons have to be used, the effect of the warheads would be devastating. The new NPR has removed the uncertainty factor and the refusal to consider the development of a new warhead greatly diminishes confidence that our aging stockpile will perform as required, if it ever is used.

By these actions. the president has made it abundantly clear to our enemies that America no longer has the strength of purpose to retain its security in this new, increasingly proliferated environment. Unfortunately, while the commander in chief sports his new clothes, he is stripping America bare.


Former undersecretary of state in the United Kingdom

Rockville, Md.


Major general, U.S. Army (retired)

Plano, Texas

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About the Author
Frank Perley

Frank Perley

Frank Perley is senior editor for opinion. Joining the newspaper at its inception in 1982, he served as a reporter covering Fairfax County, Va., and Prince George’s County, Md., and as an assistant editor for the national news desk. For the past 18 years, he served on the staff for opinion, where he has written articles, editorials and book reviews. ...

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