Indeed, while Obama is struggling to manage the legacy of mutually assured destruction, nuclear deterrence has assumed a radically altered form. Powerful states no longer secure peace by threatening to launch unimaginably destructive weapons at each other. Instead, weak states seek nukes so that they can threaten to lose control of them in the event of foreign support for violent regime change. Bashar Assad was prevented from trying this by the Israeli strike on the Syrian reactor in 2007. But we have to wonder whether his resort to Sarin gas on a small but verifiable scale is intended to make Western powers shudder at the consequences of his regime’s unravelling.
I recommend you read the entire article, which argues persuasively that the result of liberal policies against holding terrorists for indefinite periods of time, as well as torture have resulted in the administrations preference to killing them through drone strikes.