16 November 2011
Obama nuclear rhetoric 'stronger than actions'
US President Barack Obama's actions to reduce nuclear weapons threats has not been commensurate with his rhetoric, according to a new book.
Dr Aiden Warren
Prevention, Pre-emption and the Nuclear Option: From Bush to Obama by Dr Aiden Warren says President Obama has struck bold rhetorical notes and promises in relation to limiting the role of nuclear weapons.
But he said the President had stopped short of changing the status quo on critical issues that had lingered since the Cold War.
The lecturer from the School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning at RMIT University said these issues included the US having tactical nuclear weapons in its arsenal and keeping missiles on alert.
Dr Warren said his book provided a comprehensive analysis of the current status of the US nuclear weapons strategy.
"The book's final section examines the extent to which Obama has attempted to 'adjust' the nuclear option with the recent release of the congressionally mandated Nuclear Posture Review," he said.
The 254-page book, published by Routledge, encompasses Dr Warren's PhD thesis - as well an additional chapter - and offers new insights into what became known during the eight-year term of former President George W Bush as the Bush Doctrine.
"Despite its portrayal as a bold departure, the Bush Doctrine was not the 'new' or 'revolutionary' policy instrument that many at the time portended," Dr Warren said.
"My book seeks to argue that while it was clear that the Bush Doctrine certainly qualified as a preventive war policy, it is apparent that the adoption of this strategy did not mark a total break with American tradition or earlier administrations."
"The book seeks to dispel arguments pertaining to the supposed 'radical' nature of the Bush Doctrine -based on comparisons with previous US national security strategies and previous administrations' penchant for prevention."
However, Dr Warren said his book also highlighted that what was new and bold about the Bush Administration's National Security Strategy of 2002 - and the policy instruments it spawned - was its willingness to reinvigorate a nuclear option that could ultimately be used in the context of preventive war.