US Foreign Policy

Protecting US Security By Minimizing the Role of Nuclear Weapons

Statement by Barry Blechman, Co-Founder, Stimson Center 
Testimony before the Strategic Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee 
November 3, 2015

Nuclear weapons are the most potent destructive force known to humanity. Yet, even though the United States enjoys a dominant geopolitical position in the world, underpinned by a conventional military superiority greater than any ever known before, U.S. nuclear policies and doctrines remain encumbered by Cold War beliefs in the potential utility of these weapons of mass destruction. These false hopes that nuclear weapons can play a range of political and military roles in U.S. security policy cause the United States to mistakenly pursue a nuclear strategy that is costly — not only in material terms, but also in geopolitical terms. In the worst case scenarios, the strategy could be catastrophic in terms of human lives and the nation’s future. The overarching goal of U.S. nuclear policy and strategy should be to seek to minimize the roles played by these weapons, both in our own policies and in the policies of all other nations.  

The United States enjoys conventional military superiority over every other nation in the world.  As a result, in all situations in which military instruments are relevant means of defending American interests, conventional armed forces are the preferred means of protecting those interests. For the United States, nuclear weapons’ only role is to deter nuclear attacks on the U.S. and its allies. They provide no military or political advantage for the United States against any other threat.  In addition, any use of nuclear weapons, no matter how limited, would end the longstanding taboo on their use and make devastating nuclear wars more likely. Consequently, U.S. political and military strategy, diplomacy, military doctrine, and military force structure should all aim to minimize the importance accorded to nuclear weapons by the U.S. and all other nations.

To read the complete written statement, click here.




Photo credit via flickr

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