Wrong Direction on Nuclear Weapons

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Walter Pincus performed a worthy public service with his Oct. 6 Fine Print column, reporting on a Bush administration policy paper that calls for developing the Reliable Replacement Warhead and modernizing the U.S. nuclear weapons production complex. Both proposals are being reviewed by government panels.

However, the real priority for the next president should not be making new nuclear weapons or rebuilding the capacity to manufacture them; it should be eliminating such weapons globally.

Former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz and other national security officials in past Democratic and Republican administrations have expressed support for the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. So have Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, although Mr. McCain's track record on nuclear arms control and nonproliferation issues is weak.

While the next president will have much to do, moving toward the abolition of nuclear weapons cannot wait. In 2010, 189 countries that have signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will gather for a review conference, and if the United States is seeking new nuclear weapons instead of disarmament as the treaty requires, the global nonproliferation regime could be in grave danger.

What better way to reengage the world than for a new administration to provide leadership toward ridding the Earth of nuclear weapons?

KEVIN MARTIN

Executive Director

Peace Action

and Peace Action Education Fund

Silver Spring


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