[EDITORIALS]Fears over a U.S. reportCreating a stir in the international community, a Pentagon report, dubbed the Nuclear Posture Review, which has been sent to the U.S. Congress, calls for including seven countries, such as North Korea and China, as potential targets of U.S. nuclear attacks and developing small nuclear weapons. Senior U.S. administration officials say that the contents of the report have not yet been adopted as a policy and that Washington's nuclear policy has not changed. But the ripple effects will not likely die down soon.
Many countries around the world have been shocked by the report because the document signals a dangerous shift in the United States' strategic ideology in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. So far, the basic strategic concept of the United States' nuclear policy has been based on the Negative Security Assurances, under which Washington will neither threaten the use of nuclear weapons nor consider the use of such weapons even in the case of armed conflict unless it is under a nuclear attack.
But the latest report fundamentally denies such strategic concepts, calling for a possible use of the U.S. nuclear arsenal against nonnuclear weapon states and the development of new nuclear weapons that would be used in actual wars. Because North Korea is included in the potential target countries for nuclear attacks, there is a mounting possibility and concern that a conventional military conflict on the Korean Peninsula might escalate into a nuclear war.
The Nuclear Posture Review showcases the United States' unilateral thinking that its nuclear arsenal is good, while those of other countries are evil, and that the United States can spread fear about nuclear war around the world in order to protect its own national security.
Countries that have been included in the nuclear target list have criticized the report. Even allies of the United States are concerned that the report will ultimately make the international community unstable by prompting nonnuclear weapon states to develop weapons. The strategic considerations suggested by the report will not guarantee the security of the United States, and those suggestions will only sour the relationship between Washington and its allies.