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US Unveiling New, More Restrictive Nuclear Policy
Excerpt: The new policy comes just two days before Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are scheduled to sign a new START treaty, a bilateral agreement that will cut the number of strategic warheads and missiles maintained by the world's two largest nuclear powers.
The White House's nuclear initiatives are intended to encourage other nations to reduce their stockpiles of atomic weapons or forgo developing them.
The U.S. officials said the administration's new policy would stop short of declaring that the United States would never be the first to launch a nuclear attack, as many arms control advocates had recommended. But it would describe the weapons' "sole purpose" as "primarily" or "fundamentally" to deter or respond to a nuclear attack.
That wording would all but rule out the use of such weapons to respond to an attack by conventional, biological or chemical weapons. Previous U.S. policy was more ambiguous.
The review of nuclear weapons policy is the first since 2001 and only the third since the end of the Cold War two decades ago. Read more, see graphic showing US/Russian nuclear arsenals.