Nonproliferation
Op-Ed

Is The Pentagon Preparing To Fight The Wrong War?

Crises do, indeed, lie in our future and plans are needed—even those that President Biden will try mightily to keep in locked safes.

This article was originally published in Forbes.

U.S. military planners and troops are overburdened. The Biden administration has declared that it will not permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons as Tehran moves closer to this threshold. North Korea, like Iran, wants relief from sanctions and gets Washington’s attention by poking and prodding. U.S. forces remain in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq where they need backup. U.S. ties with Russia are badly frayed. China’s military capabilities are growing. Potential crises lie ahead in the South China Sea and across the Taiwan Strait. Dangerous military practices are on the rise.

As large as the Pentagon’s budget is, priorities still matter. All of these contingencies have one thing in common: U.S. forces need useful and usable military capabilities when placed in harm’s way. Nuclear weapons are not useful on battlefields; they obliterate the best laid plans. This is why President Biden will recoil from pressing the proverbial nuclear button. He has a well-grounded fear of uncontrolled escalation. Other leaders share this concern, which helps explain why nuclear weapons have not been used in warfare for seven decades.

Nuclear weapons are an expensive insurance policy that no leader wants to cash in because the costs of doing so are far, far greater than the premiums. So why is the Pentagon planning to fight a war using both conventional and nuclear weapons?

Read the full article in Forbes.

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