With the world’s largest, most destructive arsenal of nuclear weapons,
the United States poses an enormous risk not just to peace, but to the
survival of much of the human race. That’s only a problem, of course, if
the US starts using that arsenal.
Which is where formal US nuclear doctrine would come in. There have been debates for decades on whether the US should adopt a “no first use” policy, officially ruling out the idea that the US would launch a nuclear attack without first being attacked with a nuclear weapon.
Morally, this ought to be obvious, but every attempt to adopt such a policy has been opposed, with Joint Chiefs commander Gen. Joe Dunford the latest to come out against the idea, saying promising not to nuke other nations in a first strike would “simplify an adversary’s decision-making.”
Dunford went on to argue that there are “a few situations” where he believes the president should retain the option to launch nuclear first strikes, though he did not say what those situations were. Given the potentially disastrous consequences of such a strike, it is unsurprising that many i Congress are pushing to limit the risk of the president being able to do that unilaterally.
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