A communications plan for the 2009 Nuclear Posture Review will ensure that the United States reaps the maximum possible international diplomatic benefit from its new posture at the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, where Non-Aligned Movement countries are likely to link their support for new nonproliferation obligations to progress on nuclear disarmament by the United States and other nuclear powers.
The United States should seek to be as transparent as possible—consistent with sustaining deterrence—about the review’s results in order to counter misperceptions and concretely illustrate how the United States is fulfilling its nuclear disarmament commitments under NPT Article VI.
In addition, conservatives must not be allowed to frame the debate over the results of the NPR. Their critique is likely to employ these five rhetorical strategies and arguments: attempt to inaccurately frame the stakes of the NPR as a choice between their vision of nuclear weapons policy and unilateral nuclear disarmament; ridicule the notion that nuclear reductions by the United States would have any impact on countries like Iran and North Korea when the main diplomatic objective is to influence non-aligned countries’ willingness to support America’s nonproliferation agenda; falsely suggest that other countries are modernizing their strategic arsenals while America is not; selectively interpret technical data on warhead reliability to justify large nuclear weapons production facilities; and offer unduly optimistic projections about the cost of these new facilities.
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