Clinton, Gates defend Obama's nuclear policy

President Barack Obama's top military and diplomatic aides said Sunday that Obama's new nuclear posture review will make America and the world safer and not weaken the country.

While some Republicans have been critical of the president's new doctrine, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the new policy strengthens America's hand.

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Clinton, appearing on ABC's "This Week," said the policy, which includes a policy of non-nuclear responses to countries without nuclear arsenals, does not tie the hands of the U.S. or make the threat of nuclear weapons less of a deterrent.

"Let no one be mistaken," Clinton said. "The United States will defend ourselves and defend our partners and allies. We intend to sustain that nuclear deterrent by modernizing the existing stockpile."

Clinton and Gates stressed that the U.S. will maintain an adequate nuclear stockpile that will continue to serve as a deterrent.

On CBS' "Face the Nation," Clinton noted that "we leave ourselves a lot of room for contingencies" with the new policy. And Gates, on the same program, said that if a country does not adhere to the nonproliferation treaty, then "all bets are off."

Clinton and Gates also defended Afghan President Hamid Karzai, echoing Obama in saying that some of Karzai's recent inflammatory remarks are due to domestic political pressure.

Clinton, calling Karzai "a reliable partner," said the Afghan president is still welcome to visit Washington on May 12 when he is scheduled to meet with Obama.

While the White House said last week that it would continue to "evaluate" Karzai's comments, hinting that the invitation could be rescinded, Clinton, Gates and other officials have downplayed Karzai's comments in recent days.

"I think we have to understand the pressure he's under," Gates said on "Meet the Press."