An indispensable insurance policy

Forty-four nations are now in Washington, the biggest international gathering since the Second World War to talk turkey on nuclear weapons.  

This comes on the heels of the president’s signing a new nuclear arms pact with the Russians and an announcement last week that he was engaging in a new nuclear posture review, which is a fancy way of saying he wants a new nuclear strategy. 

He wants to get rid of them.

I get that President Obama really doesn’t like nuclear weapons. And I understand that we have to be vigilant in keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists.  

But my guess is that you don’t need a big summit to get most of the civilized world on board with the idea that we should keep nuclear devices away from the bad guys.  

I am not an expert on nuclear strategy. I took a few classes on it back in college, when we all thought that a nuclear war could come at any time. But what I do remember about the history of the weapon leads me to believe that it is not necessarily in our national strategic interest to scrap our nuclear weapons.  

Since we first used the bomb in 1945, there haven’t been any total wars of the kind that shook the world in 1914 and 1940. The wars have been limited in scope, and fairly limited in cost, and I think that is because we have what used to be called the A-bomb.  

We have the world’s most feared nuclear arsenal. As Teddy Roosevelt used to say, speak softly, but carry a big stick. Well, we have had the world’s biggest stick since we first developed the big stick in the mid-’40s.  

If someone else gets that big stick first, say the Nazis or the Soviets, well, then, we have a different world out there today, a much meaner, nastier world, with much less freedom, much less prosperity, much less English being spoken. 

So now the president wants us to eventually get rid of our big stick. 

And replace it with what? A smaller, more efficient conventional force, I guess. 

Since the president signed the healthcare bill, the writing is on the wall. More money to be spent on healthcare, bigger domestic government, higher payments to poor people and less money spent (on a percentage basis) on the military. 

And with less money spent on the military, the president also wants to get rid of our nuclear arsenal, which is our big stick. I don’t think I like where this is going. 

The president, obviously, is not particularly comfortable with the idea of American power. He thinks that America all too often acts as a bully. And at times, maybe we do. But there are bullies and then there are bullies. The Russians are real bullies. The Chinese are real bullies. The Americans? Well, not so much. 

I guess the problem that I have about this nuclear freeze summit (or whatever you want to call it) is that it gathers a bunch of countries together that either want our big stick or want us to get rid of our big stick. 

The Russians, who live in this fantasy world that we are somehow their chief rival for world domination (sorry, guys, you have already lost out to the Chinese, the Indians and the Brazilians), want to put Obama in a strategic box. They want him to agree to get rid of our nuclear weapons so they have an excuse to get rid of some of theirs, because, well, they can’t afford to keep them up anymore. 

But our nuclear weapons play the same role that all the gold plays in Fort Knox and in the New York Fed. The weapons are an insurance policy, just in case the whole world decides to collapse into chaos.

We shouldn’t seek to get rid of that insurance policy. We should keep up the premiums and make certain we do everything we can to ensure that we don’t have to use them in an emergency.  


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