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The Trump administration's Nuclear Posture Review retains a commitment, first made by Obama in 2010, not to "use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty] and in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations." Today, all 184 non-nuclear weapons states under the treaty meet that criterion.

Trump's reaffirmation of this pledge, known as a negative security assurance, is significant. It rules out U.S. nuclear retaliation against these countries, even if they were to use chemical, biological, cyber or other weapons against the U.S. or its allies.

Much of the commentary on Trump's NPR has focused on how new, low-yield nuclear weapons and a focus on non-nuclear strategic attacks might lower the threshold for nuclear use. These concerns are justified. But they apply to a very narrow set of circumstances involving countries that already possess nuclear weapons, which have long been the focus of our deterrence strategies.

[UNSUPPORTED BLOCK TYPE: axiom]

Ivo Daalder is the president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

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FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios