President Trump’s regime has announced the new U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) which will be a new direction of the U.S. nuclear policy from 5 to 10 years from now on.
In its preface, it is pointed out that “global threat conditions have worsened markedly since the most recent 2010 NPR,” and “the United States now faces a more diverse and advanced nuclear-threat environment than ever before.” Under such circumstances, it is emphasized that the “U.S. nuclear capabilities make essential contributions to the deterrence of nuclear and non-nuclear aggression.” The deterrence effects aim at preventing adversary nuclear attacks which “is the highest priority of the United States.”
This 2018 NPR is summarized as follows: the use of nuclear weapons by the U.S. will be also applied to non-nuclear attacks; no nuclear fist-use policy is denied; nuclear competitions among great powers have recurred in the world; threats of China, Russia, North Korea and Iran are pointed out; small type of low-yield SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile) warheads will be developed; and nuclear-armed and sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCM) will be researched and developed.
In this review, President Trump’s regime renounced Former President Obama’s policy on “the world without nuclear weapons” stating that the U.S. does not develop any new nuclear weapons and does not attack the non-nuclear countries. This review reflects President Trump’s view on the world security. I suppose that taking into account North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, he aimed at strengthening the U.S. deterrence of North Korea’s nuclear capability, and in addition, under military circumstances of the world including Russia and China, he thought that after all, superiority of the U.S. in terms of nuclear weapons will be a sole means of deterring the war and attain the world peace. Thus, non-nuclear and nuclear disarmament, and nuclear non-proliferation have so far retreated.
The nuclear issue is extremely difficult and sensitive to Japan. While Japan should aim at the ultimate goal of abolishing nuclear weapons, in fact, there exist many countries possessing nuclear weapons, and Japan is now exposed to the threats of North Korea’s enforcement of nuclear development and launching missiles. From this viewpoint, as the Japanese government explains, Japan has to rely on the deterrence power which the U.S. has as its nuclear strategy, in other words, an umbrella of the U.S. nuclear. Thus, the Japanese government highly valued this new NPR, (Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono’s statement.).
In fact, the U.S. led by President Trump has a maximum commitment (responsibility) to the world security as the so-called policeman of the world. It is also true that Japan’s peace and security are protected by the U.S. because of the U.S.-Japan alliance. However, the world peace has been depending on the disarmament, in conjunction with tackling the military expansion for the past 70 years after the Second World War. Furthermore, Japan, as an atomic bomb victim, has been leading the movement for the abolition of nuclear weapons regarding the nuclear war as an absolute evil. Therefore, fully understanding the logic of the deterrence policy, Japan has been raising a flag for the disarmament at all times. On the other hand, regarding North Korea’s outrageous nuclear development and launching missiles, Japan, in cooperation with the U.S. and the international community, has been carrying out its economic sanctions against North Korea without admitting any excuses.
Nevertheless, has it been necessary for the U.S. to change its previous nuclear policy entirely? How does the U.S. distinguish its nuclear strategy against North Kore from its nuclear strategies against other potential adversaries? In my opinion, these two issues should be clarified. It is because fully taking into account President Trump’s consciousness to be responsible for the world peace, his theoretical way of thinking is still ambiguous, and I am afraid of the risks resulting from the new NPR.