The United States is not going to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. Allies who believe otherwise are attached to a fiction and a psychological crutch. But these allies have been badly spooked, first by Vladimir Putin and now by Donald Trump. Despite Putin’s annexation of Crimea and Russian salami-slicing elsewhere around its periphery, I still thought it might be possible as well as wise for President Obama to declare that the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons is to deter their use by others. Now Trump has made matters worse by suggesting means-testing for whether the United States would come to the aid of NATO allies.
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