Before heading to Prague on Thursday to sign the new START Treaty, President Obama will unveil his new nuclear response policy today. In a nutshell, America will only use nuclear weapons against other nuclear nations. There are a few exceptions. Tactical nukes may be employed against nations seeking nuclear weaponry. Obama will also reserve the right to retaliate in the cases of biological or chemical attacks against the United States, IF the casualty count is high enough to warrant such an action.

Are you sitting down? Good, because I actually do not find this policy all that bad. We probably should have adopted such a position after the fall of the Soviet Union. Certainly in the last decade as precision guided munitions became extremely accurate.

In many respects, nuclear weapons have become obsolete. GPS-guided conventional weapons have proven to be quite effective in dealing with enemies. Especially in our new Era of Asymmetrical Warfare. A Predator drone aircraft armed with a Hellfire missile is probably the most feared weapon system on the planet these days. And the future only gets brighter for our new breed of robotic warriors.

America as always tried to target actual combatants rather than indiscriminant slaughter. In World War II, our policy of daylight, precision bombing was preferred as opposed to the British area-bombing methods. When we did switch our policies, it was for military and strategic reasons, coupled with the reality that the technology of the day had yet to match the objective. An example of this was Curtis Lemay’s use of area-fire bombing on Japan was largely due to high altitude winds making precision bombing of Japanese industry impossible.

As guided weapons began to be developed, one plane with one bomb could destroy targets that would have taken dozens, if not hundreds, of B-17s, and without as much collateral damage. Since the advent of laser-guided weapons, we can practically pick which window of a building we want a bomb to enter. With GPS weapons, we can achieve the same precision without endangering our pilots. They can deploy a bomb 30 or more miles away and still be accurate.

So the need for ‘city-busting’ nukes to wage ‘Total War’ with has been replaced by technology, and it will only get even more accurate. Taking out specific targets, or individuals, is far more efficient, and effective, than the mass destruction of carpeting bombing or nuclear annihilation. It also costs us a lot less money, too! The ‘Balance of Terror’ concept has been replaced the threat of precision death. Technology has even improved in the realm of destroying hardened targets, like underground bunkers, which a decade ago could only have been accomplished by a guided tactical-sized or a massive strategic-sized nuke.

So, for once I say kudos to President Obama for this new shift in our nuclear policy. I may have some reservations about his criteria for responding to non-nuclear attacks of mass-terror (bio-chemical). How many dead Americans will warrant a nuclear response? One thing I don’t think people on the Left give GW Bush credit for was his restraint in the days following 9/11. If he really was the arrogant cowboy as many claim, he could have easily nuked Kabul or other places in Afghanistan and I doubt if there would have been much international outrage. I’m sure after a few weeks or months, the world would have made a stink about it, but those first 72 hours, Bush had a blank check for revenge.