Grasp This Opportunity of a Safer World
By Harry Blaney
Sir, Your leader “Towards a more disarmed world” (May 16) hit the right notes on the strategic logic of the proposed reduction in nuclear weapons proposed by General James Cartwright and the Global Zero group. There is no reason why the number of existing nuclear weapons held by the US and Russia could not be reduced to this level. Indeed, the decision papers being prepared for President Barack Obama on America’s future nuclear arms posture will have an option that goes down to 300-400 warheads. Many experts have said that “deterrence” at even lower levels makes sense in our new post-cold war environment
One problem in the US is that powerful forces among Republicans in Congress and in the Mitt Romney campaign seem beholden to the US military-industrial lobby and use any opportunity such as talk of reductions as a political weapon against Mr. Obama’s re-election by declaiming that he is weak on defense. The sad part is that there is little rational discussion by the Republicans on what are the best choices in a complex world.
However, this opportunity to make the world safer from nuclear weapons is worth a major “preventive diplomatic” effort not only by the US but also by other nuclear and non-nuclear nations in consort. With the changing political landscape in Europe, perhaps that effort will gain wider support. Clearly, Mr. Obama with his brave goal of eliminating nuclear weapons has set a new direction and perhaps even Russia, if the deal is comprehensive enough, might see the logic of such an effort after the US elections. Other key initiatives would be to get rid of the much too numerous tactical nuclear warheads and to find some agreement on the missile defense issue.
Copyright 2012 Financial Times. Original Article available here