Democrats Urge Biden to Keep Pledge to Limit Nuclear Weapons | Nuclear weapons
Leading Democrats have written to Joe Biden asking him to keep his promise to reduce the United States’ reliance on nuclear weapons for its defense and to reinvigorate arms control.
The letter, signed by 55 senators and representatives, was sent on Wednesday as the White House made final decisions on the US nuclear posture review (NPR), amid reports that Biden will only make adjustments minor to the vast nuclear modernization plans inherited from its predecessors.
“Your NPR represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that US nuclear doctrine reflects your recognition that nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” the letter reads.
During the election campaign, Biden said the United States “does not need new nuclear weapons” and promised that his administration would “work to maintain strong and credible deterrence while reducing our dependence and overspending on weapons.” nuclear”.
The campaign also said it would make deterrence and response to nuclear attack the sole focus of the US nuclear arsenal. The current nuclear posture contemplates its potential use against a range of threats, including an overwhelming cyberattack.
Despite Biden’s campaign rhetoric, an advocate for moderation in nuclear weapons modernization and arms control was removed last year from his post at the Pentagon responsible for overseeing the editorial staff of NPR, after a campaign against it by hawks in the Department of Defense and in Congress.
The NPR draft produced by the Pentagon is seen as a conservative document, endorsing existing modernization plans, which are expected to cost well over $1 billion.
Meanwhile, France-led allies have pressured the Biden administration not to introduce a “one-stop” policy, concerned about the global pressure it would put on them to change their own doctrines. The White House insists the president will have the final say in shaping policy.
The Democrats behind the letter urged Biden to embed the “single purpose” policy in NPR and to scrap two new weapon variants introduced by Trump: a low-yield warhead for Trident missiles and a sea-launched nuclear cruise, saying such measures “would further signal that the United States believes that deterrence, not war, is the sole purpose of nuclear weapons.”
“Your next NPR should reflect the views of your administration, 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 House Nuclear Arms and Arms Control Task Force, 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 warns, saying, “A clean break from President Trump’s policies can send a strong signal to Russia and China. China that the United States believes in the restraint and reduction of nuclear weapons is a measure of a country’s great power status, not nuclear weapon overkill.