Clinton, Bush and Obama: Transitional Options

Aiden Warren


This article will outline and evaluate the nuclear policy transition between the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. It will argue that while the Clinton administration ignored its historic opportunity to reverse decades of dangerous and provocative nuclear weapons planning, the Bush administration asserted a weapon rationale in which the focus was never on disarmament but rather on extending the life of the remaining stock of nuclear weaponry. The article will then evaluate the extent to which Obama has attempted to ‘adjust’ the nuclear option with the release of the Congressionally mandated Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). Indeed, while he has struck bold rhetorical notes and promises in relation to limiting the role of nuclear weapons, he has stopped short of changing the status quo. In essence, the Obama administration has pursued a policy of nuclear balance with steps towards disarmament, accompanied by measures to retain America’s nuclear primacy.


Clinton, Bush, Obama, nuclear security

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