Have Gun, Won’t Shoot

Obama just put a big sign on this country that basically tells all the criminals that we might have a gun, but don’t worry, we won’t use it.  Our nuclear arsenal is a deterrent, and part of its power of deterrence is your enemy not really being sure under what circumstances you would and wouldn’t use it. The irony is it would actually make the need to use nuclear weapons more likely, rather than less. I wonder whether President Obama makes a habit of walking into poker games, announcing beforehand which hands he will and will not play.

15 thoughts on “Have Gun, Won’t Shoot”

  1. The only reasoning I can think of for this move is to signal to Iran that we’re not going to attack them, so therefore they don’t need to develop nukes.

    I see a <1% chance this will work.

  2. Under our current thinking is he does the opposite of whatever he says???? Maybe we should be hopeful.

    No Medicare cuts?
    Closing Guantanamo by January 2010?

    I am sure if I concentrated I could come up with 10 more. Why trust a lying …

    ” All you’ve done is weaken a Nation, Kaffee”.

  3. It’s a message to Iran/North Korea. It’s just saying that if they follow the rules and don’t try to build nukes, they have nothing to worry about, but if they break the non-proliferation treaty, all bets are off. It’s not like saying you have a gun but won’t use it, it’s like saying you have a gun but won’t use it unless you’re threatened with deadly force. IMO it’s not a change in policy at all, just a restatement of policy aimed at discouraging Iran. You would have to be crazy to think the US would preemptively nuke a non-nuclear nation anyway.

  4. What if the non-nuclear nation launched a biological or chemical attack in a populated area and killed, say, 100,000 people?

  5. Beyond stupid and just plain dangerous.

    I was in the Gulf in 1990 / 91 – During Desert Shield HW Bush let Saddam know exactly what American policy was. The response to any NBC attack WOULD be a counter-attack with our own NBC weapons. Since we were unlikely to use chemicals or bios – that meant we would have nuked the Republican Guard and Saddam himself in oblivion.

    As an enlisted Marine, it was nice to know the President had my back. Now Soldiers, Marines, and Seals often find knives in their backs.

  6. Great, the C-in-C just announced that he won’t even use nukes in self-defense in kind except for special circumstances. Now all we need are some hardcore Russian ultranationalists pining for the old days and a few rogue Red Army commanders.

    Big firecrackers go off in American cities? Whoops! Let talk about it and see if we can resolve our issues diplomatically. Iran or NK hands a few of their secretly developed bombs to terrorists with enough plausible deniability behind the source and we’ll just eat the loss right?

    Our President is actively destroying this country. The one guarantee that America has made to the world for over five decades is the absolute promise that any attempt to use weapons of mass destruction against her and we would respond in kind. And since the USA has banned the use of chemical and biological weapons, that leaves only one arrow in the quiver. To us, a chem is a germ is a nuke.

    I don’t want diplomacy with someone who just nuked us, Mr. President! That is an act that has thankfully not occurred but if it does, I want someone with the backbone to send a Trident D5 in response not a sternly worded letter!

    Bush, for all his faults, at least had America’s back on such issues. Not this President.

  7. “What if the non-nuclear nation launched a biological or chemical attack in a populated area and killed, say, 100,000 people?”

    We’d fight back, of course, but not with WMD. Wiping out civilians for revenge is not the American way.

  8. Philbert – Are you kidding? Not the American way?

    We fire-bombed Tokyo and Dresden. We Nuked two cities! We killed hundreds of thousands of civilians.

    The American way is “Don’t Fuck with Us or Else!”

  9. WWII was “total war”, as the Nazis put it. It wasn’t about using civilians as hostages against terrorists. We killed civilians because Germany and Japan had to be stopped, they had mobilized their civilian population to assist their aggression (I think something like 50% of GDP in Germany went into the war) and we needed every advantage. Our backs would have to be similarly to the wall before nuclear weapons would be seriously contemplated.

    The only countries that could threaten us with total war at this point are also nuclear states, who are not covered by the new “no first strike” policy. North Korea and Iran are potential threats, and they are also exceptions to the policy. The other WMD threat comes from terrorists, most likely Islamic jihadists. All we’ve said is that we won’t use nukes to hold Muslim populations hostage.

  10. Theodore Roosevelt:
    “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

    President Obama:
    “What stick?”

  11. “The irony is it would actually make the need to use nuclear weapons more likely, rather than less.” [CITATION NEEDED]

  12. I doubt their are many countries that are part of the non-proliferation treaty and would attack us with chemical weapons. I think he’s trying to please the far left members of his base by saying he’s “better” than Bush, but carefully wording the whole thing so that in practice it changes nothing.

  13. The US rather successfully dealt with a government that was not using the same basis of rationality by being just a tad crazy for half a lifetime (cold war).

    That having been said – this policy lasts just about as long as Obama’s administration, and maybe not even then. A different Congress could change things…

    Still stupid, though

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