According to sources close to President Joe Biden, he has refused to rule out the deployment of nuclear weapons first in certain situations. Since the outset of the Cold War, the US has had a nuclear strategy that reserves the ability to deploy nuclear weapons first in “extreme circumstances,” but Biden promised to modify that during his presidential campaign.
He stated that he believed in the “sole purpose” concept, which states that nuclear weapons would be used only in reaction to an attack and as a deterrence. However, since Russia invaded Ukraine and began threatening to use nuclear weapons of its own, Obama has been under pressure from NATO partners to modify his mind, according to The Wall Street Journal.
According to US sources, President Biden has accepted a long-standing US strategy of utilizing the prospect of a nuclear reaction to deter conventional and non-nuclear threats in addition to nuclear ones. Mr. Biden committed throughout the 2020 campaign to work toward a doctrine in which the US nuclear arsenal’s primary purpose is to deter or respond to an enemy nuclear attack.
Mr. Biden’s latest decision, announced under pressure from allies earlier this week, states that the nuclear arsenal’s “primary duty” would be to prevent nuclear threats. According to the officials, the carefully phrased wording left open the potential of nuclear weapons being employed in “extreme circumstances” to prevent adversary conventional, biological, chemical, and possibly cyberattacks.
Mr. Biden’s decision comes as he meets with European allies in an attempt to maintain a cohesive Western response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and alliance fears that the Kremlin may use nuclear or chemical weapons.
“Allies were worried that going too far away from present stance would leave them vulnerable—in theory or in practice—to Russian threats,” said Jon Wolfsthal, the National Security Council’s top arms control and nonproliferation officer. According to individuals who talked to The Journal, the government’s evaluation is anticipated to result in cuts to two nuclear systems that the Trump administration supports.
If Congress approves it, it will put a stop to a program to create a nuclear-capable sea-launched cruise missile as well as the B83 thermonuclear bomb. However, the assessment recommends spending more than $1 trillion to modernize the nuclear triad, which comprises land-based ballistic missiles, submarine-based missiles, and bombers.
“The Biden administration’s ‘fundamental role’ statement harkens back to the Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review,” according to The Journal. “However, it differs slightly from the more precise wording of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, which emphasized the role of nuclear weapons as a ‘hedge against an unpredictable future,'” the report added.
“The threat of nuclear weapons might be used to prevent what the Trump administration referred to as ‘nonnuclear strategic assaults’ on U.S. or partner people or infrastructure, according to the analysis.” “This implied that a significant cyberattack, germ weapon, or chemical strike that killed tens of thousands of people may prompt a nuclear reaction,” the report concluded.
Biden spoke about his belief in a “single purpose” concept in 2017, as he was preparing to depart his job as vice president. “We made a promise in our 2010 Nuclear Posture Review to establish the conditions in which nuclear weapons’ main function would be to dissuade others from launching a nuclear strike,” he added.
“Given our non-nuclear capabilities and the nature of today’s threats, it’s difficult to see a conceivable scenario in which the United States would have to deploy nuclear weapons first.” “Or at least make sense,” he explained. His idea was even included in the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform. “Democrats believe that the entire purpose of our nuclear weapons should be to deter—and, if necessary, retaliate against—a nuclear strike, and we will work with our allies and military to put that view into effect,” the statement added.