Among the many major issues largely ignored during the campaign — vanishing water supplies, the giant and growing American gulag, our broken public school system, on and on — perhaps the most dangerous was nuclear disarmament.
To bring you up to date, here’s the introduction to a long piece by Matt Eckel at Foreign Policy Watch:
If there’s an element of foreign policy discourse in this country that I’ve actually found pretty heartening in recent months, it’s been the reevaluation of the role that nuclear weapons ought to play in global security affairs. For the first time in quite a while, the notion of seriously reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons has ceased to be the exclusive province of left wing peace activists, and has moved to the ‘respectable’ center of strategic thinking.
Recent articles in Foreign Affairs by people like Wolfgang Panofsky, Ivo Daalder and Jan Lodal, now-famous Wall Street Journal op-eds by George Schultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn, and the public statements of our new president-elect all point to the creation of an international environment in which nuclear weapons are few or non-existent, and play a recessed or irrelevant role in the geopolitics of the twenty-first century. It’s nice to see.
Lest my optimism get the better of me, however, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently gave a talk at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, stressing the need to modernize the American nuclear arsenal, and giving only passing mention to the notion of serious nuclear force reductions.
Secretary Gates has recently become something of a darling of the foreign policy community, in large part because he’s injected a welcome dose of pragmatism into the Bush Administration’s ideological brew, and while I’m not convinced that all such praise is warranted, I’ll give Mr. Gates credit for making a coherent and intellectually honest argument for updating our nuclear deterrent…