While the Left may be right in theory about thug rulers needing nukes to deter an American regime-change attack--the Leftist Defined Bush Rule--this should not be considered a justification for thug rulers to have nukes to maintain their oppressive and/or aggressive regimes.
Funny enough, thug ruler Khadaffi of Libya took the opposite lesson that a thug regime pursuing nukes is what actually puts the target on a thug dictator's back. He gave up his nukes after the Iraq War sent Saddam into hiding, capture, trial, and execution. Given that we tolerate lots of thug regimes around the world all the time who are no threat to us, I think this is the proper lesson of Iraq rather than the one that the Left maintains to attack Bush. Thug rulers who pursue WMD risk American regime change to protect ourselves is the Actual Bush Rule.
This "who provokes what" game gets really funny when you consider that President Obama then did exactly what the Left accused Bush of being responsible for under the Leftist Defined Bush Rule. By attacking a thug dictator in Libya who had already given up his nukes to the West under the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (people from their own government), President Obama proved that Khadaffi really did need nukes to deter an American regime-change attack even though Khadaffi posed no threat at all to America. The Obama Rule looks suspiciously like the Leftist Defined Bush Rule, you must admit.
Now let's bounce the rubble on President Obama's effects on nuclear proliferation--remember, he won a Nobel Peace Prize based on his potential for advancing nuclear non-proliferation--by noting Ukraine.
No, President Obama did not invade Ukraine. But Ukraine agreed to give up their inherited Soviet nukes for a paper agreement that America backed (the Budapest Memorandum) to preserve Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity.
And then Russia went and invaded Ukraine in 2014. This was not done because Ukraine was an aggressive or bloodthirsty thug regime. No, Russia invaded simply because the Ukrainian government was not sufficiently subservient to Russia and because Russia wanted Ukrainian territory (all of it if they had the military power, but some of it for now).
We have not been able to do more than increase the economic pain on Russia without really helping Ukraine fight back to reclaim their lost territory. We seem more interested in getting Ukraine to accept the losses and at best prevent Russia from easily taking more of Ukraine.
This should concern those who worry about nuclear proliferation:
Yet, if the injustices of Vladimir Putin’s slow-motion assault on Ukraine leave them somewhat cold, there is one dimension of the conflict that should bring the “crisis” home to Europeans: the concrete, written commitments made by Russia and other UN Security Council member states in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
While the author complains that the West is ignoring this proliferation angle, I noted it on March 1, 2014.
Granted, this nuclear angle for deterring attack is really the Putin Corollary to the Obama Rule on WMD. But the failure of the Obama administration to defend the paper nuclear disarmament agreement in regard to Ukraine is an important Obama "Flexibility" Proviso of the Putin Corollary to the Obama Rule, you must admit.
So to recap. Under the Actual Bush Rule, aggressive thug dictators who pursue WMD draw our attention and risk their regimes; under the Obama Rule/Leftist Defined Bush Rule, thug dictators without WMD draw our ire and risk their regimes; and under the Putin Corollary to the Obama Rule with an assist by the Obama Proviso, governments that are not aggressive and not bloodthirsty need nukes rather than diplomatic agreements to maintain their independence and territorial integrity.
And don't even get me started on that farcical nuclear deal with the aggressive and thug Islamist (Shia flavor) regime of Iran which needs nukes under the Leftist Defined Bush/Obama Rule.
Indeed, it makes sense for Iran to conclude a real nuclear deal only if the Actual Bush Rule applies because a truly reformed responsible regional power that Iran is supposed to become would have nothing to fear under that rule. How can Iran know they are safe without nukes under the Leftist Defined Bush Rule/Obama Rule?
Or safe under the Putin Corollary with the Obama Proviso, really, in an uncertain future when you consider that Iran is an empire with lots of non-Persians with brethren in neighboring territory who might claim their allegiance as Putin has done with ethnic Russians in Ukraine?
Actually, Iran is probably operating under the Clinton Escape Clause, which describes the nuclear deal with North Korea that merely pretended to halt North Korea's nuclear weapons ambition long enough for the president to get on the lucrative paid speech circuit and leave the nuclear problem to future presidents to solve/cope with.
Soon, not only our foes but our allies who once counted on our nuclear deterrent and our ability to keep their enemies from getting nukes (I'm thinking Iran and North Korea here) will decide that they need nuclear weapons, too.
Perhaps we need an Obama Doctrine framework to provide the umbrella for the fact that everyone--whether an enemy that doesn't fear us or a friend that can't rely on us--thinks they need nuclear weapons after 7 years of hope and change and potential to advance nuclear non-proliferation.
Ah yes, get your chisels out to update Mount Rushmore! Because ... legacy!
UPDATE: This is what we need to build rather than a monument to folly.