And never mind that the current risks to the United States come mostly from loosely affiliated terrorist organizations -- who are often aided by signatory countries like Iran, North Korea, and Syria, which would now be immune to a nuclear retaliation under the administration's policy. If a current or future enemy wants to wipe out an American city, they'd be wise to use botulin toxin or perhaps release some poison gas -- just don't use a suitcase nuke.
As if this new policy weren't bad enough, the administration has coupled it with a promise "not to develop new warheads or add military capabilities as we manage our arsenal for the future." Since President Ronald Reagan first proposed and President George H.W. Bush later signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the U.S. has committed itself to reducing its nuclear arsenal. But it has never promised not to "add military capabilities," which basically freezes our technology at today's capacity. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made no such commitment before signing the new treaty.
Thankfully, President Obama's signature on the treaty isn't enough to bind the nation -- and it remains to be seen whether he can get the 67 senators he'll need to get Senate ratification. But in a real sense, the harm has already been done. Obama has made the critical mistake of signaling to our enemies our willingness to hold back if we are attacked by a weapon of mass destruction. And you can bet they've taken notice.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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