October 25, 2021

ICYMI: Risch in Defense News: The U.S. must reject a ‘sole purpose’ nuclear policy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today published an op-ed in Defense News on how the Biden Administration should reject a “sole purpose” nuclear policy in order to protect U.S. and allied security.

“Sole purpose” is another name for “no first use”:

“While administrations have considered shifting to a no first use policy, they inevitably understood it would damage U.S. and allied security. Indeed, the Obama administration studied this closely and rejected such a policy change not once, but twice. Earlier this year, our British allies also rejected this change, and they maintain their own policy of strategic ambiguity.

“But President Joe Biden campaigned on a “sole purpose” nuclear policy, and his administration is now considering its adoption. “Sole purpose” is another name for a “no first use” policy and must be rejected.”

Nuclear weapons maintain deterrence:

“As much as the world dislikes nuclear weapons, they are an important tool that helps maintain stability around the world. Declaring that the United States will never be the first to use a nuclear weapon represents the worst in potential policy. It scares our friends, encourages our adversaries and damages the very nonproliferation goals it claims to advance.”

“Sole purpose” would embolden China and Russia:

“Beyond abandoning our allies and closest friends around the world, a sole purpose nuclear policy would embolden China and Russia and risk new aggression and coercion. Adm. Charles Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, called China’s nuclear buildup “breathtaking” and noted China will soon possess weapons that would make them “capable of coercion.’”

Nuclear deterrence works:

“No one wants to see the use of nuclear weapons ever again. However, endorsing a sole purpose doctrine and surrendering our nuclear capabilities before the rest of the world agrees to do so will only destabilize the international system. Nuclear deterrence works; it has promoted international security and served the United States and our allies well. Now is not the time to abandon 70-plus years of proven policy.”

To read the article on the Defense News website, click here.

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