It’s not unusual, in fact is typical, for presidents to ditch campaign promises. One such promise Joe Biden made on the campaign trail was a “no first use” of nuclear weapons.
That was then, this is now.
“The Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy rejected limits on using nuclear weapons long championed by arms control advocates and in the past by President Joe Biden,” Bloomberg reports:
Citing burgeoning threats from China and Russia, the Defense Department said in the document released Thursday that “by the 2030s the United States will, for the first time in its history face two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries.” In response, the US will “maintain a very high bar for nuclear employment” without ruling out using the weapons in retaliation to a non-nuclear strategic threat to the homeland, US forces abroad or allies. (Emphasis added.)
According to the National Defense Strategy, delayed after Russia went into Ukraine, a policy of non-use of nukes, except in response to a nuclear attack, “would result in an unacceptable level of risk in light of the range of non-nuclear capabilities being developed and fielded by competitors that could inflict strategic-level damage.”
In short, the neocons in the Pentagon have overruled Biden, who is too weak and cognitively impaired to argue in defense of his campaign promise.
Biden appears to have concluded that it is too costly in political terms to fight for his views. He has let the Pentagon dictate his strategy rather than challenge a bureaucracy resisting any alteration of current programs and doctrine. https://t.co/kTpUbRruOc
— Joe Cirincione (@Cirincione) October 27, 2022
This take is interesting because Joe Cirincione is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and bills himself, on his blue check Twitter profile, as a national security expert. In the past, the CFR warned against nuclear proliferation, although blame for expanding the number of nukes was placed on Russia, China, and North Korea.
In 2017, as Obama’s Vice President, Biden said: “In our 2010 Nuclear Posture Review—we made a commitment to create the conditions by which the sole purpose of nuclear weapons would be to deter others from launching a nuclear attack.”
Accordingly, over the course of our Administration, we have steadily reduced the primacy nuclear weapons have held in our national security policies since World War II—while improving our ability to deter and defeat any adversaries—and reassure our Allies—without reliance on nuclear weapons.
Given our non-nuclear capabilities and the nature of today’s threats—it’s hard to envision a plausible scenario in which the first use of nuclear weapons by the United States would be necessary. Or make sense. (Emphasis added.)
Sense and non-psychotic behavior have nothing to do with it. Nukes are required, in the warped minds of neocons, to maintain a different “primacy”—that of making certain the violence and thievery of neoliberalism remain firmly entrenched.
So what should @POTUS have put in his NPR? For starters, President Biden should start by declaring that the US will never be the first nation to use nuclear weapons in any conflict, a change that would reduce the nuclear threat. https://t.co/1m9CsGaYAx
— Union of Concerned Scientists (@UCSUSA) October 27, 2022
Now that no-first-use commitment is in the trash and the neocons, infamous for their eagerness to engage in violent behavior that has thus far killed well over a million people (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria), are in control of the nukes and will decide when to use them.
The lies spread by Biden and the corporate war propaganda media—that Russia will use “tactical” nukes in Ukraine—have provided an excuse for the national security state to finally move life-terminating nukes into the category of usable weapons.
US President Biden says the world risks nuclear “Armageddon” for the first time since the Cold War.
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) October 7, 2022
I believe the latest Biden NPR will move the Doomsday Clock ever closer to midnight.