Adopt: to follow, or use



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My partner and I stand con on the resolution, Resolved: The United States should not adopt a declaratory nuclear first use policy

Adopt: to follow, or use


Declaratory: to declare, stated
United States: Must be the federal government; states do not dictate international
Balance of Power: A situation in which nations of the world have roughly equal power

An NFU policy would mean that the United States would not be able to strike first. Additionally, this is problematic because it also has effects on a global scale. We should not adopt and NFU policy because if we do, then it would:



  1. Lead to other countries attacking us w/o the usage of nuclear weapons

  2. Harm NATO

  3. Other countries oppose this

  4. Lead to an increase in nuclear proliferation

  5. Mean that the US no longer has the same amount of power as Russia

The first argument is that an NFU policy would lead us being vulnerable from attack by non-nuclear weapons

Any would-be enemy could carry out an infinite number of attacks short of a nuclear attack, while the NFU-endorsing U.S. president assures their safety from our nuclear weapon arsenal.


Making a NFU policy would mean that our enemies could do anything they wanted to us, short of nuclear attack and they would have no fear of nuclear retaliation. They could use any of the heinous weapons of war and could do so without fear of our strongest deterrence method. All of the presidents, democratic or republican have rejected a NFU policy. It is because they all understood that the declaration of this would be catastrophic for the nation as a whole. NFU would not help this country it would only hurt it. [Staff Writer; NEWSWEEK.COM; 8-24-2020]

The second argument against an NFU is that an NFU policy would harm NATO, one of the most important international organizations of all time.

NATO has always been opposing an NFU policy—it is one of the reasons why current and previous have not declared an NFU policy. Nuclear weapons are a core component to the deterrence and defense of nations that are under NATO. For example, no one is going to attack a country that is part of NATO, because if that were to happen, then that would mean that the other countries in NATO are obliged to help the defender. This includes the United States, a country that has a large arsenal of nuclear weapons that can be launched virtually at any country—no one wants the US to nuke them. NATO deters regional adversaries from major conventional wars in Europe and also is beneficial to trade between the NA and EU. It is necessary for the US to remain on the good side of NATO since they are benefiting from the organization and improving the security for the lesser powers that are in NATO. [Staff Writer, NATO.INT, 04-16-2020]

The third argument against NFU is the fact that other countries oppose this idea.

Obama considered adopting an NFU. The main reason why he did not follow through was because of the opinions of other nations. Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minster at the time. Other nations agreed to what Japan had to say. Some of the nations that voiced their opinions against an NFU policy were South Korea, France, and Britain. South Korea is dependent on our protection because it is situated near North Korea, Russia, and China. Those nations do not want an NFU policy because they are dependent on the US for their protection, i.e Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and many more countries. [Staff Writer; WARONTHEROCKS.COM; 07-05-2019]

It would be further problematic for the US if we adopt a NFU policy because the nations that were dependent on our protection could have us replaced by nations like Russia or China. If China or Russia were to offer larger protections than the US, then we could see other nations siding with them. Russia and China are very strong and smart countries, and this could be a very big opportunity for them to gain an upper edge over the US. [Guan Lee; ASIAFOUNDATION.ORG; 08-2010]

The fourth argument is that other countries that were dependent on us could make nuclear war; increased nuclear proliferation

Adopting an NFU policy would make our allies doubt our protection umbrella. Since the umbrella would be further weakened by the adoption of an NFU, they would develop their own nuclear weapons because they can no longer rely on our umbrella. Obama knew that this would be detrimental for nuclear non-proliferation efforts, which could be another reason why there was an adoption of an NFU. [Staff Writer; NEWSWEEK.COM; 8-24-2020]

The fifth argument is that this would be detrimental for the balance of power between the US and Russia

The United States, Russia, and China are arguably the most powerful nations militarily. What makes the 3 so powerful is that they have big, well-funded militaries. However, one reason why China is lacking behind Russia and US is because they do not have that much leverage over the other two in terms of nuclear weapons, since they have the least amount out of the 3. Additionally, they have an NFU policy too, which means that they do not have the ability to initiate a nuclear strike on another country first. This is problematic for them because it means that we could attack them first with non-nuclear weapons, and they could only retaliate with non-nuclear weapons; the only difference is, they are on the backfoot of the conflict and they would most likely be already crippled, making it harder for them to catch up. If the US were to adopt an NFU policy as well, then that would mean that the country that has the most leverage over the 3, and subsequently the world, is Russia, because they can do what we just described. This would mean that the balance of power would dissipate, as the US now would be a lesser power compared to Russia. It seems highly improbably that this has not ran through the mind of Obama when he was deciding whether or not to adopt an NFU policy, which would explain why we still don’t have one. [Staff Writer; MONEYCONTROL; 02-07-2020]



In conclusion, an NFU policy would be terrible for the United States and its allies, while it could help many of our enemies. This would be terrible because it could cause nuclear proliferation, harm NATO, allow other countries to attack us without the usage of nuclear weapons, cause our allies to side with out enemies, and would be detrimental to the US while it only helps Russia.
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