Manpreet Sethi, writing at The Diplomat, offers his assessment in the article A Curious US Nuclear Policy. While Sethi points out a number of curiosities, here’s a good one:
Non-proliferation has been a stated goal of the United States since 1945, but the experience of the last six decades clearly illustrates the limitations of treaties, sanctions, export controls etc. especially because there is no uniformity of rigour or commitment to the goal of stemming proliferation. This commitment is therefore likely to further fragment in the wake of such measures in the United States.
Oh and here’s another right behind it:
…while the United States is engaged in refurbishing its nuclear weapons complex, it has little power to stop proliferation that is already underway, such as the Sino-Pakistan variety, and has little clout – or the moral right – to stop vertical proliferation or modernisation of strategic arsenals under way in other nuclear armed states. Essentially, US nuclear weapons appear to be here to stay for the foreseeable future, so why should countries that perceive they require them for security or as a currency of power not want to acquire them?
Yes, although words matter, funding matters more.
At this point, the funding plan is to plus-up the U.S. nuclear enterprise, an in-fact recognition that the global zero thing, while it makes for a cool bumper sticker and will be much appreciated by hippie chicks everywhere, won’t work in the real world.