The horrible events in Boston have pushed terrorism back into the public’s consciousness once again. We are asking ourselves and our elected officials if we are doing all we can to protect ourselves against today’s threats.
As far as nuclear danger is concerned the answer is no.
The old concerns about the Cold War seem very far back in the rear view mirror. Talk of nuclear parity, the throw-weight of missiles and cherry picking reports for fights over Russian compliance are old history, even among the nuclear cognoscenti.
Today we worry about the threat of nuclear terrorism, the spread of nuclear know-how, proliferation of nuclear components – none of which can be countered by huge nuclear arsenals.
This year’s Administration’s budget request for nuclear weapons budget is up 17% – considering the tight budget environment we face this is big commitment to maintaining a safe and responsible nuclear stockpile.
Yet this comes at a cost for countering the real nuclear problems we face – funds to clean out of dangerous stocks of nuclear material around the world have been slashed.
The Administration is requesting millions for a new nuclear tipped cruise missile and refurbished weapons for the Europe. At the same time New START is over two years old and the President has not made a move to go beyond the relatively high US- Russian strategic levels in New START.
The Prague agenda may have been a dream but the Administration’s realistic nonproliferation and arms control agenda appears to have stalled out as well.
It’s time for the Administration to reinvigorate its effort and negotiate a new agreement that includes greater reductions in our already bloated nuclear arsenal.
This will demonstrate real world leadership and allow us to focus on more urgent threats.