Friday, August 10, 2007

Jack Mendelsohn: Presidential Candidates Should Delegitimize Nuclear Weapons

Jack Mendelsohn of Arms Control Association put out an excellent op-ed in today’s Christian Science Monitor, in which he argues, “If the Democrat candidates want to distinguish themselves from their opponents, and if the Republicans want to recover from the disastrous foreign policy of this administration, the candidates should commit to delegitimizing – not stressing – nuclear weapons.”

(For a recap of the most recent debate over Obama’s statement of non-use of nuclear weapons, see my earlier post.)

Mendelsohn continues, “It is overwhelmingly in the US national interest to preserve the ‘taboo’ on nuclear weapons use and to seek to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in US security policy.” In order to accomplish this, he writes, the presidential candidates should undertake four actions:

1) Announce that they reject nuclear intimidation and the current policy of preventive war;
2) Commit to the eventual elimination of all nuclear weapons;
3) Declare that they plan to withdraw all US nuclear weapons from Europe during their term in office; and
4) Make it clear that the United States will not resume nuclear testing.

Mendelsohn properly concludes, “In the run-up to the presidential election, the candidates of both parties have a chance to indicate to the world that the next administration will forgo the policy of nuclear intimidation and actively strive to delegitimize nuclear weapons. This nation cannot become more secure by reserving for itself the right to use nuclear weapons while preaching nuclear abstinence for the rest of world.”

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