Less Ambiguous

The United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and in compliance with it, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters Tuesday in the Pentagon on the release of the Obama Administration’s nuclear posture review. Removing some of the calculated ambiguity from US declaratory policy is one of the “significant changes to the US nuclear posture” that this document encapsulates, he said. Nonetheless, Gates said “all options are on the table” for dealing with states like Iran and North Korea that do not abide by international rules. Among its highlights, preventing nuclear terrorism and proliferation is the top US nuclear policy goal—a first for US nuclear posture. The NPR also places more emphasis on the nation’s “unsurpassed conventional military capabilities” and missile defenses for security. And, it says the US will not pursue new nuclear weapons. (NPR full document) (Obama statement)