Former G.W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen somehow finds a way to argue that U.S. unilateral reductions of nuclear weapons are better than talks with Russia to reduce both of our arsenals. He seems to think that a policy of simply requesting Russia to eliminate nuclear warheads is more effective than what he sees as overly complicated negotiations toward the decidedly uncomplicated goal (yes, that’s sarcasm) of achieving nuclear disarmament. Apparently, all it took to reduce nuclear weapons was a little soul-staring.
What nonproliferation steps would Thiessen have us take, then? Why, build more nukes, of course!
Instead of pressing the Senate to act on the [Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty], the administration should be calling on Congress to restore the funding it eliminated last year for the Reliable Replacement Warhead program, which would allow us to develop new warheads without the need for nuclear testing and thus ensure the reliability of America’s nuclear deterrent.
To argue that developing nuclear weapons is a necessary component of American defense is one thing; to employ this paragraph as part of an arms control strategy is completely nonsensical. Achieving reductions in nuclear weapons will require negotiations; sometimes these will be complicated, and they will also require treaties. Ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and fully implementing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty — let alone actually meeting with other nuclear states, which I thought was a no-brainer even for Russophobes — are two of the simplest steps the Obama Administration can take toward a sane and effective non-proliferation policy. Even dinosaurs should be able to understand that.
UPDATE: Perhaps unsurprisingly, S-G Ban agrees: multilateralism is the only way to go.