The Nuclear Price For Obama’s Pride (Ezekiel 17)

Obama’s Nuclear Legacy Leaves America and Allies Less Safe

Michaela Dodge / @MichaelaTHF / January 23, 2017

The Obama administration entered the U.S. into the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which requires the U.S. to bear the majority of nuclear weapons reductions while allowing Russia to increase its nuclear stockpile. (Photo: Shawn Thew/EPA/ Newscom)

Michaela Dodge specializes in missile defense, nuclear weapons modernization and arms control as policy analyst for defense and strategic policy in The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies. Read her research.

In his Jan. 11 remarks on nuclear weapons policy, the outgoing Vice President Joe Biden praised former President Barack Obama’s nuclear weapons policy.

In reality, there are very few grounds for congratulations when it comes to Obama’s legacy.

Take, for example, the Iran deal. Biden argued that the administration got the deal through a combination of international sanctions and hard-nosed diplomacy.

In reality, the deal was sold to the American public by concealing the full extent of concessions the administration had to make to get the Iranians to agree to it. The deal does not prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and in fact rewards years of Iranian noncompliance with its International Atomic Energy Agency obligations.

While the administration’s efforts to bring nuclear issues on the international agenda with nuclear security summits have been worthwhile, the administration has acted under a misguided impression that others will be motivated to follow U.S. leadership out of a sense of benevolence.

Biden argued that U.S. unilateral reductions make the United States safer. But there is no evidence for such optimism. In fact,

Biden downplayed the potential need for nuclear weapons, saying:

Given our non-nuclear capacities 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 of make sense in the view of the president and me.

But just because he or Obama can’t imagine something does not mean it will never happen, or that the United States should not put serious thought to it. We have been surprised many times in the past.

Biden also argues that the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty “makes America safer.” It does not.

The treaty is disadvantageous to the United States. In fact, the United States is required to bear a large majority of nuclear weapons reductions under the treaty while allowing Russia to build up to the treaty levels.

To make matters worse, the administration’s complete inability to bring the Russians back to compliance with their arms control obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty undermines the security of U.S. allies in Europe.

In the real world in which we live, the safest world is not the one without nuclear weapons. The safest world is the one where deterrence works. Obama’s nuclear weapons policies only made the country and our allies less safe.

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