According to Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin, “President Obama’s initiative is making US allies nervous about their own security. Several allied governments have lobbied the administration not to change US nuclear-weapons policy by promising never to be the first to use them in a conflict.”
Washington’s allies have various reasons for objecting to President Obama’s initiative.
Tokyo and Seoul worry about North Korea’s missile program, while America’s European allies fear that with the first nuclear strike doctrine gone, some countries might be tempted to use chemical and biological weapons against their enemies.
Others fear that the landmark declaration could increase the risk of a conventional conflict with countries like North Korea, China and Russia.
In an interview with Sputnik Alexander Perendzhiev, an independent Moscow-based military expert, said he didn’t have much faith in The Washington Post’s report.
“Even if Obama really makes such a statement, there is nothing new about this. China and then Russia have previously pledged not to be the first to use nuclear weapons. The missile shield system, which is now in place, was developed to defend against a nuclear strike, but Obama makes no mention of this. But even if he goes ahead with this declaration, we can’t be sure that Britain and France will follow suit,” Alexander Perendzhiev said.
He also mentioned other nuclear states that might likewise be unwilling to go along.
“India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea also have nukes. How about them? Maybe this is just an election race publicity stunt or maybe this is how Obama wants to go down in history as a peacemaker just to justify his Nobel Peace Prize?” Perendzhiev wondered.
Meanwhile, The Japan Times has quoted unnamed government representatives in Tokyo that “the United States is studying different options. As long as there has been no political decision made to this effect we cannot comment on every piece of news that comes along.”