Joe Biden renounces the “No first use” doctrine for American nuclear weapons

If the doctrine of use of nuclear weapons in democracies is a highly political subject, it is clear that for fifty years, these have changed little, whether in France, in Great Britain like in the United States. During the last US presidential campaign, candidate Joe Biden promised to incorporate a firm rule on the use of these weapons if he were elected, renouncing them unless attacked by other weapons. nuclear. And as there were many before him, Joe Biden has finally given up on implementing such a doctrine, sticking to the very traditional doctrine of the use of nuclear weapons only if the vital interests of the United States or its allies were to be in serious danger, very similar to that implemented by France and Great Britain, but also, at least from the point of view of strategic weapons, by Russia.

Joe Biden's reversal was not only predictable, but expected by both the Pentagon and the US and allied strategic ecosystem. Indeed, pledging not to make “first” use of nuclear weapons constitutes a considerable conceptual weakening of the deterrence posture, opening the way to many potential circumvention strategies. In addition, it constitutes a significant increase in risk for some of the most threatened allied countries, such as the countries of Eastern Europe which are members of NATO, but also South Korea and Japan, for whom the US strategic protection constitutes the pillar of protection of territorial sovereignty and the posture of deterrence against Moscow, Beijing or Pyongyang. Indeed, in such a case, Washington would strictly refrain from using nuclear weapons against an adversary, even if the latter had invaded the territory of an ally of the United States, provided that the latter did not use of nuclear weapons.

Tomahawk missiles equip Arleigh Burke destroyers. That they were potentially armed with a nuclear charge would have posed significant problems with regard to the access of these ships to certain Allied ports.

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