Centrism of an odd sort

The Washington Post headlines its story about President Obama’s newly-minted policy on using nuclear weapons this way: “New nuclear policy takes middle course.” And, in fact, Obama is taking a middle course — between a steadfast policy of deterrence and pacifism.
The Post also claims that the fundamental purpose of U.S. weapons under Obama’s new policy would be deterrence. But Obama’s position is that the U.S. will not use nuclear weapons to respond to an attack on the U.S. that employs biological or chemical weapons as long as the country responsible for the attack is in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (unless, perhaps, the country responsible for the attack has developed such weapons to the point that the United States is vulnerable to a devastating strike). Thus, Obama does not seem interested in deterring a chemical or biological attack that is less than “devastating.”
I guess this is deterrence lite.
Last night, John suggested that Obama’s “dumb” new announced policy probably doesn’t matter. When push comes to shove, John argued, Obama will use nukes whenever he thinks it’s necessary regardless of what any policy document says.
However, I look at the matter a little differently. It would be hard enough under any circumstances for Obama, a self-styled citizen of the world, to convince our enemies that the U.S. would respond to a substantial but not devastating chemical or biological attack by unleashing a full-scale nuclear attack. After all, incinerating population centers would be a “disproportionate” response, to use a favorite left-liberal term, and would do nothing to help those of our citizens already killed or injured by the attack. It becomes impossible to convince our enemies that we will so respond if we announce in advance that we won’t.
Ask yourself what kind of U.S. president would make such an announcement. The answer, I think, is a president more interested in currying favor with world opinion than in the security of our country.
JOHN adds: Rush agrees with Paul. To be fair to me, however, I did try to make clear that I think Obama’s policy is dangerous to our security because it will confirm our enemies’ view that our government has gone soft and lost the will to defend our people.

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