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The Great Fissure in Obama's Nuclear Policy

3:26 PM, Sep 8, 2010 • By JOHN NOONAN
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MEMRI just published an interesting study that's worth a look:

The actions in recent months by the Obama administration in nuclear affairs, aimed at advancing a vision and a policy of global nuclear disarmament, have had the exact opposite effect. In his efforts to advance global nuclear disarmament, Obama brought to the fore what the U.S. had for four decades managed to downplay and marginalize – U.S. recognition of and partnership with Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity. By openly acknowledging what his eight presidential predecessors had recognized implicitly – i.e. that Israel needs nuclear capability to defend its very existence – President Obama has put an end to Israel's status of nuclear ambiguity. This development could lead to stepped-up demands for nuclearization by leading Arab states that feel threatened by both Israel and by Iran – and could result in accelerated moves  in that direction.

President Obama's focus on nuclear weapons has opened a great fissure in his foreign policy. The twin pillars of liberal orthodoxy are anti-war and pro-disarmament activism, both of which bind the president to his voter base. Instinctively, however, the White House must know that with Iran's nuclear program, these two imperatives collide: The only guaranteed way of killing the Iranian nuclear program is through military force. If the decision is made to shelve the kinetic solution and fish with the sanctions bait, Iran likely builds a bomb, along with a good chunk of the Arab world. 

When the Obama administration foolishly turned the tables on Israel, with four decades of safe nuclear custody and restraint under her belt, the decision between having to betray either their pacifist or their nuclear disarmament instincts became that much more complicated. Now the entire Arab world believes that they are entitled to nuclear weapons, and only a swift, devastating military strike on Iran will disabuse them of that notion. 

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