Should the U.S. Use Nuclear Weapons Against Nonnuclear Nations?

Would selectively banning nukes improve America's moral standing or hurt national security?


President Obama has vowed that the United States will not use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear nations that abide by treaty obligations. Some say the policy will strengthen America's moral position; others fear it will weaken national security. Is this revised nuclear policy a good idea?


Lawrence J. Korb
Senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a former assistant secretary of defense

The purpose of nuclear weapons, or any weapon in the U.S. inventory, is to enhance the security of the United States. By declaring that the United States will not use nuclear weapons against states that do not possess nuclear weapons, President Obama has enhanced the security of the country in two ways. First, since the end of the Cold War, the primary threat from nuclear weapons has not been an all-out exchange with Russia.


Buck McKeon
Representative from California and ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee

While some may admire the president's goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, we need to consider what French President Nicolas Sarkozy reminded us of last fall: "We live in a real world, not a virtual one." America's nuclear deterrent is designed to send a simple message to potential state and non-state aggressors: The cost inflicted upon those who would attack the United States--whether that assault is with...


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