I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons. And that's why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons….
There are a number of issues with this stated policy. First of all, there is absolutely no truth in the statement: “No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons. As unfortunate as it may be for some of the less powerful countries, the global arena is not a democracy. Larger, more powerful countries, such as the U.S. not only have the right, but the duty to set rules and regulations of the world community. The United States, as leader of the world, has the responsibility to determine who can and cannot possess nuclear weapons. On its face, this is necessary for the United States to maintain the status quo of the international system. It behooves us to disallow enemies and others that may threaten the stability of the system from possessing weapons. This would be true for any hegemonic leader. However, in addition, the United States as a beneficent leader has a responsibility to protect the global community and maintain safety and security. This includes keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of dangerous leaders and nations.
The second issue regards Obama’s commitment to have a nuclear free world. This policy is both dangerous and foolish. Nuclear weaponry provides deterrence and disincentives for conventional war. One of the main reasons we have had relative peace since World War II is because of the nuclear threat. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) prevented the Cold War from getting hot. While there are certainly risks and fears with nuclear armed countries, the benefits drastically outweigh the costs. [This of course necessarily goes hand-in-hand with preventing rogue states like Iran from possessing nuclear weapons. Rogue states are inherently more unpredictable and also liable to sell weaponry, thereby increasing the threat of non-state (or non-sane) actors who are unable to be deterred]. The presence of nuclear weapons has forced the world leaders to build institutions and channels that encourage dialogue between adversaries. In economic terms, it increases the costs of war to such a level that any benefits (spoils of war such as territory or political gains) are no longer significant enough to merit a battle.
Obama’s nuclear policy reeks of the simplicity that is present in so many of his policies. Since the detonation of a nuclear weapon is, of course, bad, it is very easy to simply state that nuclear weapons are bad and therefore unnecessary. This, however, is a partial analysis of the situation. It may seem appealing to those who do not like to fully explore the positives and negatives of a situation, but it leads to poor policy.