Friday, March 16, 2007

Nuclear threat and the Cheney-Bush administration

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has spiffed up their Web site recently so that it offers more than the articles from the print magazine. Even though the latter by themselves represent one of the best sources on American foreign policy issues, particularly related to nuclear arms.

In the March/April 2007 issue, Joseph Cirincione of the Center for American Progess writes on the need for a
Change of Course in nuclear nonproliferation policy:

Former Democratic House Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas once said, “Any jackass can knock down a barn. It takes a carpenter to build one.” Bush administration officials have proven expert at knocking down security agreements their predecessors carefully constructed, but have created few replacements. They have left the national defense landscape a shambles.

The new Congress must provide the carpenters. In particular, it must fill the void left by the Bush administration’s failed nuclear weapons policies. The administration’s radical approach of trying to eliminate regimes rather than weapons has dramatically worsened every nuclear threat it inherited in 2001, save for Libya. (There, the combination of force and diplomacy, plus sanctions and security assurances kept the regime but ended the nuclear program with little cost, no deaths and 100 percent effectiveness.)

Everywhere else the danger increased. (my emphasis)
It's easy to get caught up in the various other important issues that arise, from the Iraq War to the economic problems of subprime housing lenders. But in terms of public policy, no issue is more important than controlling and reversing the nuclear arms race. Cirincione recommends to Presidential candidates to make eliminating loose nuclear materials a top priority and to frame it something like this: "Run on a platform to eliminate the nuclear terrorist threat by the end of your first term - it’s practical, cheap, and enormously popular."

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