More evidence that the Republican Party of today has different principles than the pre-1960s GOP

Exhibit 1

Excerpt from “Just Like Ike (on Deterrence)“, Campbell Craig (Pro of international politics at Aberystwyth U), op-ed in the New York Times, 8 April 2010

IN the spring of 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower made a sweeping change in the American approach to nuclear war. Henceforth, the United States would rule out waging nuclear war against non-nuclear states. It would eliminate the “ambiguity” of previous strategies, drawing a stark line between conventional and nuclear wars. And the primary role of nuclear weapons would henceforth be to deter nuclear war: to indicate to American adversaries (namely, the Soviet Union) that any attack would engender overwhelming retaliation and hence amount to national suicide.

Many critics attacked the move for appearing to rule out any kind of war — nuclear or conventional — with the Soviet Union. How could the United States then stand up to the Russians? But mutual assured destruction became America’s de facto policy for the rest of the cold war, which ended when the Russians gave up.

… On Monday, President Obama announced, in his Nuclear Posture Review, a new American approach to nuclear war that comes right out of Eisenhower’s playbook. And, indeed, Mr. Obama quickly came under criticism from those who have argued that new American technologies, together with the diminished capacity of traditional adversaries, have now made nuclear war winnable.

These critics also assert, just as their predecessors did in the 1950s, that limits on the use of atomic weapons somehow make a nuclear war more likely. “By further unilaterally limiting the circumstances in which the U.S. would use nuclear weapons to protect itself and its allies,” warned John Bolton, the former United Nations ambassador, “the Obama administration is in fact increasing international instability and the risks of future conflicts.”

Like Eisenhower, Mr. Obama rejects this claim, realizing that an “ambiguous” approach to nuclear weapons will make nuclear war more thinkable.

Contrast that with this, exhibit 2

“Unbelievable, unbelievable,” Sarah Palin, the Republican former governor of Alaska, said during an appearance on FOX News Channel’s Hannity this week, following a rally in Minnesota for Rep. Michele Bachmann. Hannity asked about the new NPR (and that’s not the radio network) stance that, should some non-nuclear nation which is part of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty attack the United States with something other than a nuclear weapon — say a chemical or cyber-attack — the U.S. will not launch a nuclear response.

“No administration in America’s history would… ever have considered such a step,” Palin said. “That’s kind of like getting out there on the playground with a bunch of kids ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, ‘Go ahead and punch me in the face,’ and I’m not going to retaliate. Go ahead and do what you want to me.” {source: blog of the Washington Post}

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