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Kagan on Obama Continued

By Matthew Yglesias

"Kagan on Obama Continued"

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One of Andrew Sullivan’s readers catches Bob Kagan playing a bit fast and loose with Obama’s speech. The best part is this. Obama concludes his thoughts on nuclear proliferation thusly:

Finally, if we want the world to deemphasize the role of nuclear weapons, the United States and Russia must lead by example. President Bush once said, “The United States should remove as many weapons as possible from high-alert, hair-trigger status – another unnecessary vestige of Cold War confrontation.” Six years later, President Bush has not acted on this promise. I will. We cannot and should not accept the threat of accidental or unauthorized nuclear launch. We can maintain a strong nuclear deterrent to protect our security without rushing to produce a new generation of warheads.

From this, Kagan gleans merely that Obama “talks about . . . maintaining ‘a strong nuclear deterrent.’” Which, of course, he does talk about — in the context of cutting the nuclear weapons budget and restoring reciprocity to the global nonproliferation bargain. The proliferation stuff was the best part of the speech — an area where rhetorical rubber hit the road and he came down on the right side. I genuinely wonder why Kagan thinks it’s a good idea to portray Obama as being on his side on nuclear issues when he isn’t — I don’t really buy the notion that it’s all part of some conspiracy to discredit him with Democratic voters.

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