My college newspaper recently shared an opinion piece on Obama’s recent nuclear negotiations…
President Obama signed a nuclear arms control agreement with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday to reduce the stockpiles of nuclear weapons of both nations. The agreement, called the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, builds on a previous Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that expired in December. If passed, it will cut the number of both countries’ nuclear weapons by about a third.
With policies like the START agreement, the public health care bill and charging terrorists in American civilian courts, the Obama administration is weakening the United States’ power to influence other nations. We are stepping down from our destiny instead of rising to the potential of a world leader.
Thought I’d share my response (and would be interested in yours as well):
Garrett, in your column you write, “A leader among countries can pave the way into the future for others to follow.” I must say I totally agree.
However, I believe you’re ideals of “American leadership” by force takes us down an path that is more costly than we might imagine.
I firmly believe that our countries recent actions towards nuclear disarmament will actually further our goal of becoming a leader among the nations, rather than simply causing us to “blend in with the pack.”
Following the cycles of military might and redemptive violence doesn’t set you apart as a leader. Any and every country can easily travel down that route.
It’s finding transformative non-violent solutions that sets a leader apart.
And before we try to give credit (or blame) to the Obama administration for the recent directions our country has taken, we must realize that nuclear abolishment is not some pipe dream the Obama administration simply dreamed up one day.
In America, the movement is supported by leaders on both sides of the aisle including, George Shultz, Gen. (ret.) Collin Powell, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, Chuck Colson, Richard Cizik, Ambassador (ret.) James Goodby, Ambassador Tony Hall, Ambassador (ret.) George F. Ward and others.
Even Ronald Reagan in his infamous “Evil Empire” speech urged support for negotiationg, “real and verifiable reductions in the world’s nuclear arsenals and one day, with God’s help, their total elimination.”
Our own U.S. Department of Defense, the men and women charged with protecting our “great empire,” have recommended a reduction in our nuclear arsenol, in order to “reduce nuclear risks to the United States, our allies and partners, and the international community.”
The DOD’s April 2010 National Posture Review reports, “The massive nuclear arsenal we inherited from the Cold War era of bipolar military confrontation is poorly suited to address the challenges posed by suicidal terrorists and unfriendly regimes seeking nuclear weapons. Therefore, it is essential that we better align our nuclear policies and posture to our most urgent priorities – preventing nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation.”
As a result of America’s leadership, we are working to create a peaceful world for our children and our grandchildren — promising other countries, that we are no longer simply asking you to abolish your own nuclear weapons, but we’re also leading by example and doing the same. And as a nation we vow to never use nuclear weapons against other non-nuclear powers.
You may remember, that since 1990 we’ve had several attacks on our soil.
The first World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing and the Sept. 11 bombings. That doesn’t include attacks on our military and embassies around the world.
Our vast nuclear weapons did nothing to deter the attackers — and they’ll do nothing to deter other attackers in the future.
And with 20,000 nuclear weapons worldwide, it’s not unlikely that a nuclear weapon could easily fall into the wrong hands and the next attack on America could be far deadlier.
The best prevention is not increasing or maintaining our own nuclear arsenal — it’s the absolute abolishment of nuclear weapons all together.
Do we really want to be the “leader” who leads by killing thousands (if not millions) of innocent civilians because we’ve been attacked by conventional, chemical or even biological weapons? Is nuclear retaliation really just?
Just one Hiroshima-sized nuclear bomb (15kt), if used in an attack on a major city, would kill 60,000 – 200,000 people in the immediate blast; poison 320 square miles, rendering it unlivable for a generation; require immediate medical attention for 150,000 people suffering from burns and radiation poisoning, causing the collapse of healthcare infrastructure; necessitate the evacuation of 6 million people; cause 1 trillion dollars in immediate and direct damages.
In addition, imagine the economic fallout and disproportionate suffering and death.
With this outcome in mind, can nuclear retaliation of any kind be justified?
Last week someone on Fox News claimed that Obama is “anti-American” because of his actions. Do we really want to define “American” as someone willing to kill thousands with the drop of a bomb?
Can we really claim “moral superiority” if we’re willing to consider these options?
And what of our morality and “Christian roots?”
As Rev. Tyler Wigg-Stevenson writes in a recent Washington Post column, “unfettered pursuit of strength–fearing mortal enemies more than God’s judgment–in fact leads to an ungodly arrogance and idolatry. This was the case with King Solomon, who stockpiled horses in contravention of the Deuteronomic instruction, as well as Babylon, the ancient near East superpower, which God describes as ‘guilty men, whose own might is their god!’ (Habakkuk 1:11).”
If we are to lead the world, let us lead by example. Let us lead not out of force but out of love for all mankind.
May we truly lead and pave the way towards a more peaceful tomorrow, free from the fears and threats of a nuclear holocaust.