We should work to reduce nuclear arsenals all around the world, starting with our own. Forty years ago, the five declared nuclear powers came together in support of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and pledged to end the arms race and move toward nuclear disarmament. The time has come to renew that commitment. We do not need all the weapons currently in our arsenal. The United States should lead a global effort at nuclear disarmament consistent with our vital interests and the cause of peace.
Barack Obama and John Edwards earlier endorsed this same vision during the Democratic primary campaign. Hillary Clinton, somewhat distressingly, has never really managed to join Obama and Edwards in taking this important step. Instead, she offered up the idea that “Former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Defense Secretary William Perry, and former Senator Sam Nunn have called on the United States to ‘rekindle the vision,’ shared by every president from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton, of reducing reliance on nuclear weapons” when, in fact, what they called for was what McCain and Obama and Edwards have all called for — namely a move toward universal disarmament.
Unfortunately for the country and the world, other aspects of McCain’s foreign policy make it very unlikely that he could realize this vision. The sort of confrontation McCain is envisioning with Russia, and his commitments to both national missile defense and unilateral preventive war as a tool of non-proliferation policy would almost certainly undercut this appealing aspect of his vision. See, for example, this critique from Heather Hurlburt and Rand Beers for the basic reality that McCain would be a dangerous, dangerous leader for the country.
National Archives photo of Operation Ivy courtesy of PING News