The United States will swear off the development of new generations of nuclear weapons and will not use its existing arsenal to attack nonnuclear states that are in compliance with nonproliferation agreements, the Obama administration said Tuesday.
The shift, a consequence of the government’s Nuclear Posture Review, reflects the administration’s changing view of the role of nuclear weapons in a post-Cold War world struggling to control the spread of potential devastating military technology.
Among other things, the new American stance is meant to provide an incentive for countries to stay within the rules of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a senior administration official said.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Adm. Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, announced the change two days before President Obama is to sign a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia that reduces both countries’ missile stockpiles.
The new policy “recognizes that the greatest threat to U.S. and global security is no longer a nuclear exchange between nations, but nuclear terrorism by violent extremists and nuclear proliferation to an increasing number of states,” Obama said later in a statement.
“Moreover, it recognizes that our national security and that of our allies and partners can be increasingly defended by America’s unsurpassed conventional military capabilities and strong missile defenses.”
Obama stressed that “preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism is now at the top of America’s nuclear agenda.”
He noted the United States will not conduct nuclear testing and the administration will seek ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
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Article courtesy cnn.com