On Monday, December 2, Montana’s Governor, Steve Bullock, announced the suspension (in effect the end) of his campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States. His campaign, underway for a little more than half a year, has been unremarkable and drawn little attention — aside from an observation Bullock made about the possible first use of nuclear weapons by the US during a crisis.
The First Use Issue:
It has long been US defense doctrine that the US will not waive the right to make a first use of nuclear weapons as a “massive retaliation” against the aggression (with conventional weapons) of another power. There have been periodic waves of sentiment for a change in this posture, for a “no first use of nukes” pledge, but there has never been such a pledge by any President.
The Obama administration said that the US would not first use nuclear weapons against any nation, even an aggressor, unless that nation either has a nuclear stockpile itself or has refused to sign or to abide by the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This leaves first use as an option against the now frighteningly large membership of the ‘nuclear club,’ or those attempting to join.
The Thing to Know:
In the July debate, the moderator asked the candidates whether they would take a no-first-use vow as President. Only two candidates answered directly. Senator Warren said that she would. Bullock said that he would not, that it is important to keep the nuclear option “on the table.” Warren is still in the campaign, Bullock is not.