|The final report from the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission seems focused on hedging rather than leading.
By Ivan Oelrich and Hans M. Kristensen
The Congressional Strategic Posture Commission report published today is definitely not the place that the President or the nation should look for new ideas on how to reduce the role of nuclear weapons and lead the world toward a world free of nuclear weapons.
Even for a compromise document written by a diverse group, it is a work of deeply disappointing failure of imagination. The recommendations can be summarized as: the nuclear world should stay pretty much the way it is but at slightly lower force levels, incrementalism is the most we can hope for, and even that should be approached very cautiously.
The report comes close to dismissing the President’s vision of a world free of nuclear weapons – and the enthusiastic support it has generated worldwide – as a utopian dream: “The conditions that might make the elimination of nuclear weapons possible are not present today and establishing such conditions would require a fundamental transformation of the world political order.” The United States should retain a viable nuclear deterrence “indefinitely.” The Commission surrenders to the nuclear problems of the world rather than recommending a proactive way forward out of the mess.
Of course, the Commission is not opposed to nuclear reductions per se and supports them under certain conditions, but it recommends that the approach “balances deterrence, arms control, and non-proliferation. Singular emphasis on one or another element,” the report says, apparently hinting at disarmament, “would reduce the nuclear security of the United States and its allies.”
If the Commission’s report is any preview of the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review, we should expect minimal changes in nuclear forces, structure, or mission. The report recommends a nuclear policy of “leading and hedging” but seems to be focused on hedging.
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