Monday, March 17, 2008

Toward a Nuclear-Free World

By GEORGE P. SHULTZ, WILLIAM J. PERRY, HENRY A. KISSINGER and SAM NUNNJanuary 15, 2008; Page A13, Wall Street Journal (link)

The accelerating spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear know-how and nuclear material has brought us to a nuclear tipping point. We face a very real possibility that the deadliest weapons ever invented could fall into dangerous hands.
The steps we are taking now to address these threats are not adequate to the danger. With nuclear weapons more widely available, deterrence is decreasingly effective and increasingly hazardous.

One year ago, in an essay in this paper, we called for a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately to end them as a threat to the world. The interest, momentum and growing political space that has been created to address these issues over the past year has been extraordinary, with strong positive responses from people all over the world.

Commentary: It is time for worldwide nuclear disarmament. It is time to sit in place mechanism that assure nuclear weapons do not fall into the wrong hands. Times have changed. The Soviet threat is over. It is time to make nuclear disarmament a goal and a priority.

Many, especially those on the right, will resist the effort to disarm. Unfortunately people get locked into a position and do not change their position despite changes in circumstances. During the cold war, we needed to insure that we had parity if not supremacy in the nuclear arms race. We had to be armed to keep the peace. At times, a nuclear build-up was even necessary so we could have a bargaining chip to advance further nuclear arms control. We could not afford to be weak or be in second place.

The Nuclear Freeze movement was na├»ve. Some of those advocating unilateral nuclear disarmament may have been disloyal and had objectives of advancing the cause of our enemies. Unilateral disarmament would have been folly and would have assured America’s destructions. Mutual arms reduction agreements without verification would have been irresponsible and foolish. However, that was then and this in now. In a war against modern terrorist, the logic of Mutual Assured Destruction does not apply.

Those who only became politically aware since the end of the cold war or who were not paying attention, may not be aware of how close we came to the horror of nuclear annihilation. While the threat is different than at the height of the cold war, the threat of nuclear war is still real. The new nuclear threat is that terrorist or rouge states can get and use nuclear weapons. While we remain the only super power, we should do all we can now to remove the threat of nuclear war.

The people who authored this call to disarm are hard-nosed realist and old cold warriors. Kissenger, Shultz and Sam Nunn are not moonbeam, starry-eyed leftist, or Hollywood airheads. You do not have to be an old hippie humming “Imagine” to see the logic of freeing the World of Nuclear weapons. When Reagan was president he called for "the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth." That day should be today.

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1 comment:

  1. I'd love to see the world free of nuclear weapons. Heck, I'd like there to be no weapons at all. World Peace would be lovely. Trouble is, you can't put the genie back in the bottle. You can pass all the gun control laws and disarmament laws you want and sign some lovely, well meaning treaties, but the evil in the world will find a way. There is still a deterrant in the U.S. having the biggest, baddest weapons because even a total loon like Kim Il Jung doesn't want his entire country obliterated in response to a nuclear attack on a U.S. city.