Robert Zarate recently noted that nuclear disarmament folks are exagerating defense spending numbers in order to appeal to fiscal hawks. Today, Eli Lake writes about the main group behind this effort, the Ploughshare Fund:
In the old days advocacy groups engaged in the rough and tumble of political debates while the foundations that bankrolled them kept a lower profile. In the arms-control world, that is changing. A foundation called the Ploughshares Fund is taking a more active role, coordinating efforts it funds to influence the current dialogue about the size and costs of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Joseph Cirincione, the president of Ploughshares, calls his more assertive approach as a funder “impact philanthropy.”
Ploughshares focused on reducing nuclear weapons and funding peaceful U.S.-Soviet exchanges when it first burst onto the scene in the 1980s, but more recently has sharpened its focus on targeted campaigns like stopping military action against Iran and supporting specific treaties to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.
Its edgier approach is getting noticed in official Washington, especially as the town debates the implications of the New START nuclear-arms-reduction treaty with Russia. The Pentagon recently challenged some of the statistics being disseminated by Ploughshares’ efforts as “curious arithmetic.” The group defends its numbers and relishes the controversy, if for no other reason than it gets people focused on its issue.