GOP Response on Nuke Policy: More Yawn Than Yell

By Matt Loffman

Apr 6, 2010 2:40pm

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports: President Obama announces a new nuclear strategy that rules out the development of new nuclear weapons and, for the first time, puts limits on the use of the American nuclear deterrent. Where’s the Republican outrage? Not on Capitol Hill. Before the announcement this morning, the Republican National Committee offered a pre-emptive attack of its own in the form of a statement with an oddly worded headline:  “What 2 Watch 4:  Will Obama Disarm America’s Nuclear Deterrent?”  But after the announcement, the immediate GOP response was more yawn than yell. House Armed Services ranking member Buck McKeon and Strategic Forces Subcommittee ranking member Mike Turner put out a statement offering both praise and criticism for the plan.  Their  biggest concern is message sent by the Administration’s willingness to rule-out a nuclear strike against non-nuclear countries who are in compliance with the non-proliferation treaty.  “By unilaterally taking a nuclear response off the table, we are decreasing our options without getting anything in return and diminishing our ability to defend our nation from attack,” says Turner, who says he is “deeply concerned” about this.  But he doesn’t mention those deep concerns until the 4th paragraph of the statement. Other Republicans I have spoken to today offered similarly mixed reviews.  That’s because most of them don’t think the new strategy changes much at all.  A pre-emptive nuclear attack is still not ruled out against nuclear powers (China, Russia, N. Korea, Pakistan, etc) and against those violating the NPT (Iran, Syria).  And the decision to stop development of new nuclear weapons, many believe, doesn’t mean much because there is still ample funding to update and modernizing existing weapons. Bottom line:  So far, not much GOP alarm about this in Congress, at least not yet.

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