chapter  6
28 Pages

The nuclear option: from Bush to Obama

As the previous chapters illus trate, the Bush Administration viewed arms control treat­ies­and­multi­lateral­non-­proliferation­agreements­as­ inherently­unverifiable­ and overly constraining to their notions of US security strat egy. During his tenure­ in­ office,­ Bush­ ignored­ the­ Comprehensive­ Nuclear­ Test­ Ban­ Treaty (CTBT),­withdrew­from­the­Anti-­Ballistic­Missile­Treaty­ (ABMT)­ to­pursue­a­ national missile defense sys tem, and signed a cursory arms reduction treaty with Russia­ that­ didn’t­ even­ include­ counting­meas­ures,­ let­ alone­ verification.­ The­ Administration proposed de veloping a nuclear bunker-buster weapon, ex plored the option of putting anti-missile weapons in space and reached a nuclear coopera tion deal with India-which is not a party to the non-proliferation treaty. Additionally, Bush attempted to coerce nuclear rogues through threats of “preemption”/pre ven tion, while arguing that new nuclear weapons and missile defense sys tems were needed1-or­as­defined­in­the­previous­chapters,­a­reinvigorated­nuclear­option.­This­chapter­will­focus­on­the­trans­ition­between­the­Bush­ and Obama Administrations, and more im port antly, the extent to which Obama has attempted to “adjust” the nuclear option. Starting with the vision and goals posited­in­the­2009­Prague­Speech­and­reaffirmed­in­the­National­Security­Strategy of 2010, the chapter will outline and evalu ate various Obama declaratory pol­icies,­initiatives,­and­multi­lateral­efforts-namely,­the­Congressionally­mandated­Nuclear­ Posture­Review,­ the­New­START­Treaty,­ the­Nuclear­ Security­ Summit,­the­Nuclear­Non-­Proliferation­Treaty­Review­Conference,­the­Comprehensive­Test­Ban­Treaty-and­the­extent­to­which­such­initiatives­have­upheld­ the lofty goals posited in Prague and/or deviated from the nuclear path pursued by the Bush Administration.