The US Nuclear Posture Review is damaging to the global nuclear disarmament and non proliferation regime, in a number of significant ways.
The new policy increases the role of nuclear weapons in US security policy. This despite commitments made under the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty to reduce that role. It goes so far as to suggest that the threshold against the use of nuclear weapons should be lowered. This willingness to use nuclear weapons is a proliferation incentive. Allies of the US, especially any with special relationships, or that believe they have some kind of special status (especially when it comes to nuclear weapons matters, like, oh, say those that host US nuclear bombs) need to stand up and say something. Irresponsible actors are those that let their friends threaten to use nuclear weapons without consequence. Unless they, and the citizens they represent, are looking for ways to make money from the use of nuclear weapons, America’s friends and allies need to do something to reel in this madness.
The posture review is also talking about creating a new type of more usable nuclear weapon. As if the US didn’t already have lower yield nuclear bombs. Yet, there’s nothing that explains in what way this kind of capability does anything other than increase the chances that nuclear weapons will be used. There’s been flurry of comment over the the US Centers for Disease Control announcement to do a training on public health responses to nuclear weapons use. The thing is, might start up training on how to survive a nuclear bomb, conveniently forgetting that the international community has stated clearly that no help would be coming. The fact that even small nuclear weapons would have catastrophic transnational impact is yet another reason the majority of world’s countries decided nuclear weapons should be illegal.
Responsible countries are those that work to strengthen the norms against nuclear weapons. Responsible countries do not threaten to use nuclear weapons, or allow nuclear weapons use to be threatened on their behalf. Responsible countries recognize there is a clear path towards the end of the nuclear weapons era, and that journey begins by signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.