President Obama recently altered our country’s long standing policy of nuclear deterrence by making the explicit promise not to use nuclear weapons in response to a chemical, biological or crippling cyber attack against our homeland. This shocking reversal from decades of Cold War era policy is part of Obama’s professed desire to see a “world without nuclear weapons,” a vision that should inspire fear in the heart of every freedom loving American. Nuclear weapons, in spite of their nightmarish power, have long maintained peace throughout the free world. With the spread of nuclear technology, total war between advanced nations has become increasingly impractical, for an unrestrained nuclear exchange between two or more superpowers could inadvertently lead to the end of all human life on the planet. Indeed, had it not been for nuclear weapons, the Cold War may have escalated into the Third World War between the United States, Russia and their separate allies. The worldwide conflicts that characterized the early 20th century and claimed tens of millions of lives have not repeated themselves largely due to the threat of nuclear holocaust, the threat that President Obama is eager to rescind.

The foolishness of Obama’s change in nuclear policy stems from his fundamental lack of understanding regarding the nature and utility of nuclear weapons. While the first atom bombs were conventional warheads designed to force the surrender of the Japanese in World War II, subsequent nuclear weapons, such as the hydrogen, neutron and tactical fission bombs served the primary purpose of instilling fear in the enemy. The goal of deterrence is not to strike first, but threaten a devastating nuclear counterattack in response to any pre-emptive strike. The head of a nuclear state must convince the enemy that they are willing to usher in Armageddon at the first sign of open conflict. The politics of insanity, not peace or goodwill, will prevent hostilities, as Mutually Assured Destruction relies on the perception that opposing nuclear forces will employ the full extent of their nuclear arsenal. The irony of appeasement through nuclear disarmament is that it emboldens hostile states that would otherwise be too afraid to make demands or threaten the use of force.

President Obama’s unwillingness to use the threat of nuclear counterattack, even in self defense against the use of weapons of mass destruction, is not only counterproductive to promoting peace but is putting American lives at risk. While the United States has always wielded strength and imparted fear in order to suppress tyrants and garner the respect of its allies, we are now being left vulnerable to the threats of our enemies. Obama’s gutless foreign policy is weakening the safety of the West and empowering those nations that would seek its destruction. Because of his shameful cowardice, every free nation must survive in an increasingly volatile world.