A nuclear free world isn’t an ignoble goal, but it needs to be approached realistically. Focusing on the stockpiles of the United States and Russia and limiting U.S. options for use of nuclear weapons does nothing to change the calculus of Tehran and Pyongyang.
Henry Kissinger, who is now among the chief proponents of nuclear disarmament, wrote in 1957 in his landmark study Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy that “A renunciation of force, by eliminating the penalty for intransigence, will therefore place the international order at the mercy of its most ruthless or irresponsible members.”
Our unwillingness to penalize countries such as Iran, North Korea, and Syria for their illicit activities only empowers them. It sends the message to other states potentially seeking nuclear weapons that the path to a weapon can be pursued with few repercussions.
If President Obama were truly concerned about the future of the international nonproliferation regime, he would follow his recent disarmament “accomplishments” with some serious action to ensure that rogue regimes realize that there is a price to be paid by those who choose to pursue nuclear weapons.
You have to love the “If President Obama were truly concerned…” line. Of course, the President is just pretending to be worried about the issue – it’s all part of his cunning plan to sell America out to foreign and socialist overlords. Or something like that.
A causal reader would also be left thinking that Kissinger opposed the treaty, when of course he is right behind it, issuing a joint statement with George Shultz, William Perry, and Sam Nunn:
We strongly endorse the goals of this Treaty, and we hope that after careful and expeditious review that both the United States Senate and the Russian Federal Assembly will be able to ratify the Treaty.
Obama is following the (bi-partisan) playbook that Kissinger, Schultz, Perry and Nunn set out in their 2008 A World Free of Nuclear Weapons op-ed. It recommended:
- “Changing the Cold War posture of deployed nuclear weapons to increase warning time and thereby reduce the danger of an accidental or unauthorized use of a nuclear weapon.
- Continuing to reduce substantially the size of nuclear forces in all states that possess them.
- Eliminating short-range nuclear weapons designed to be forward-deployed.
- Initiating a bipartisan process with the Senate, including understandings to increase confidence and provide for periodic review, to achieve ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, taking advantage of recent technical advances, and working to secure ratification by other key states.
- Providing the highest possible standards of security for all stocks of weapons, weapons-usable plutonium, and highly enriched uranium everywhere in the world.
- Getting control of the uranium enrichment process, combined with the guarantee that uranium for nuclear power reactors could be obtained at a reasonable price, first from the Nuclear Suppliers Group and then from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or other controlled international reserves. It will also be necessary to deal with proliferation issues presented by spent fuel from reactors producing electricity.
- Halting the production of fissile material for weapons globally; phasing out the use of highly enriched uranium in civil commerce and removing weapons-usable uranium from research facilities around the world and rendering the materials safe.
- Redoubling our efforts to resolve regional confrontations and conflicts that give rise to new nuclear powers.”
Is there any issue serious enough not be used as a partisan football in the US? I fear not.