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Democrats urge Biden to keep pledge to limit nuclear weapons

Democrats urge Biden to keep pledge to limit nuclear weapons, Julian Borger in WashingtonThu 27 Jan 2022 

Letter by 55 senators and members of Congress comes amid reports Biden will make only minor changes to nuclear posture review

Leading Democrats have written to Joe Biden appealing to him to stick to his promise to reduce the US reliance on nuclear weapons for its defence and to revive arms control.

The letter, signed by 55 senators and representatives, was sent on Wednesday while the White House was making final decisions on the US nuclear posture review (NPR), amid reports that Biden will make only minor adjustments to the vast nuclear modernisation plans inherited from his predecessors.

“Your NPR represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that US nuclear doctrine reflects your recognition that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” the letter said

During the election campaign, Biden said the US “does not need new nuclear weapons” and pledged that his administration would “work to maintain a strong, credible deterrent while reducing our reliance and excessive expenditure on nuclear weapons”.

The campaign also said it would make deterring and responding to a nuclear attack the sole purpose of the US nuclear arsenal. The current nuclear posture envisages its potential use against a range of threats, including an overwhelming cyber-attack.

Despite Biden’s campaign rhetoric, an advocate for restraint in nuclear weapon modernisation and arms control was removed last year from her Pentagon post overseeing the drafting of the NPR, after a campaign against her by hawks in the defence department and in Congress.

The draft NPR produced by the Pentagon is believed to be a conservative document, endorsing the existing modernisation plans, expected to cost well over $1tn.

Meanwhile, allies led by France have lobbied the Biden administration not to introduce a “sole purpose” policy, concerned about the global pressure it would bring on them to change their own doctrines. The White House insists that the president will have the last word in shaping the policy.

The Democrats behind the letter urged Biden to make the “sole purpose” policy part of the NPR and to scrap two new weapon variants introduced by Trump: a low-yield warhead for Trident missiles, and a planned nuclear sea-launched cruise missile, saying the moves “would further signal that the United States believes that deterrence, not war-fighting, is the sole purpose of nuclear weapons”.

Your forthcoming NPR should reflect your administration’s views, not embrace President Trump’s nuclear weapons programs,” the letter said. It was written by the two leading voices in the Senate for arms control, Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley, and their co-chairs of the Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group from the House, Donald Beyer and John Garamendi.

Failure to change the status quo would fuel a cold war-style arms race with Russia and China, the letter warned, arguing: “A clean break with President Trump’s policies can send a strong signal to Russia and China that the United States believes restraint and nuclear arms reduction are measures of a country’s great power status, not nuclear weapons overkill.”

January 27, 2022 - Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war

1 Comment »

  1. […] Democrats urge Biden to keep pledge to limit nuclear weapons — nuclear-news […]

    Pingback by Democrats urge Biden to keep pledge to limit nuclear weapons — Novelkingdom1 – nuclear-news – novelkingdom1 | January 27, 2022 | Reply

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