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Nuclear Nonsense

A misguided policy.

9:43 AM, Mar 24, 2010 • By GABRIEL SCHOENFELD
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Pressing for a world without nuclear weapons, the State Department has been flacking the president’s upcoming Nuclear Security Summit, scheduled for April 12–13: "President Obama has invited over 40 nations to participate, representing a diverse set of regions and various levels of nuclear materials, energy, and expertise."  

Does "a diverse set of regions" mean that affirmative action has become part of arms control?  Does "various levels of expertise"  mean there will be representatives with little expertise as well as great expertise? Is the State Department being run by diplomats or clowns?

One country that will take part in the summit—itself a highly diverse nation with considerable expertise in nuclear affairs—will be India. The world’s largest democracy seems to have a rather more sober view of nuclear weapons than that put forward by a White House heedless of the security dilemmas wrapped up in the zero nuclear option.

Reports the Press Trust of India:

Nuclear weapons are "weapons of peace" which act as a deterrent, says former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar.. . ."The philosophical aspect of nuclear weapons can be peaceful and they act as a deterrent. So, I call them weapons of peace," he said replying to questions.

If our ally India is not particularly enthusiastic about giving up its “weapons of peace,” the American people are also strikingly ambivalent about the idea. Drawing on an Internet survey of 1,754 participants, opinion research conducted by the Center for Applied Social Research makes this plain. 

Question: How important are nuclear weapons for maintaining US influence and status as a world leader?

Response: 7.14 mean (where 0 is "not at all important" and 10 is "extremely important")

Question:  How important are nuclear weapons for maintaining US military superiority?

Response: 7.32 mean (where 0 is "not at all important" and 10 is "extremely important")

Question:  Is it desirable to eliminate all nuclear weapons worldwide within the next 25 years?

Response: 5.46 mean (where 1 is "strongly disagree" and 7 is "strongly agree")

Question:  Is it feasible to eliminate all nuclear weapons worldwide within the next 25 years?

Response: 3.45 mean (where 1 is "strongly disagree" and 7 is "strongly agree")

Question: Having large numbers of US nuclear weapons is no longer necessary. As long as we have a few dozen nuclear weapons, we can prevent others from using nuclear weapons against us and our key allies.

Response: 3.33 mean (where 1 is "strongly disagree" and 7 is "strongly agree").

Question: Using a scale from zero to ten, where zero means not at all important and ten means extremely important, how important is it for the US to retain nuclear weapons today? 

Response:  7.55 mean.

Health care is not the only policy arena in which the Obama administration has been running roughshod against public opinion. The consequences of a screwed-up health care system might, over the long term, become visible in mortality statistics. The consequences of a screwed-up nuclear policy might also become visible in mortality statistics—not over the long term but in a blinding flash.

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