Thursday, August 2, 2007

Richardson and Kucinich Quotes on Nuclear Weapons

Back in June I promised to post the nuclear weapons stances of candidates for political office whenever quotes are available. I previously posted quotes from John Edwards, Barack Obama, the Republican debates, and a video mash-up of the Republican debates.

As I was perusing the blogosphere this morning, I stumbled across a post at Just World News with quotes from presidential hopefuls Governor Bill Richardson and Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).

Richardson strongly opposes the development of new nuclear weapons. This position is particularly significant coming from Richardson considering that he oversaw the bureacrcy responsible for the nuclear weapons complex less than a decade ago as Secretary of Energy under Bill Clinton. His comments are from a speech he gave in March 2007, of which I have bolded what I consider to be the juicy stuff:

Getting all nations to agree to a stronger nonproliferation regime will require skillful diplomacy and new thinking. Which brings me to the second task: the nuclear states must stop making new weapons and must reduce the size of their existing arsenals.

The Non-Proliferation Treaty commits non-nuclear states to forego nuclear weapons, and it also commits the nuclear weapons states to the goal of nuclear disarmament. To get others to take the NPT seriously, we need to take it seriously ourselves. We should re-affirm our commitment to the long-term goal of global nuclear disarmament, and we should invite the Russians to join us in a moratorium on all new nuclear weapons. And we should negotiate further staged reductions in our arsenals, beyond what has already been agreed, over the next decade.

In a world in which nuclear terrorism rather than war with Russia is the main threat, reducing all nuclear arsenals, in a careful, orderly way, makes everyone safer.

Negotiations to reduce our arsenal also are our diplomatic ace-in-the-hole. We can leverage our own proposed reductions to get the other nuclear powers to do the same -- and simultaneously get the non-nuclear powers to forego both weapons and nuclear fuel enrichment, and to agree to rigorous global safeguards and verification procedures.

The United States also should ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, not only because it is good policy, but also to send a signal to the world that America has turned a corner, and once again will be a global leader, not a unilateralist loner.

Kucinich’s quote comes from a 2002 editorial he posted in Truthout, before the Iraq invasion. The editorial focused on the need to have a change of mindset about the role of nuclear weapons in the United States. The highlight from Kucinich regarding disarmament was this little nugget:

It is practical to work for peace. I speak of peace and diplomacy not just for the sake of peace itself. But, for practical reasons, we must work for peace as a means of achieving permanent security. It is similarly practical to work for total nuclear disarmament, particularly when nuclear arms do not even come close to addressing the real security problems which confront our nation, witness the events of September 11, 2001.


Russ Wellen said...

The latest from Hillary, August 2 from ABC News:

"Regarding terrorist targets in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region, Obama told The Associated Press Thursday: 'I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance.' He then added: 'Involving civilians.'

"Seeming to think twice about his response, Obama then said, 'Let me scratch that. There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table.'

"Clinton, asked about his remarks Thursday afternoon, took issue with them.

"'Presidents should be very careful at all times in discussing the use or nonuse of nuclear weapons,' Clinton said. 'Presidents since the Cold War have used nuclear deterrence to keep the peace. And I don't believe that any president should make any blanket statements with respect to the use or nonuse of nuclear weapons.'"

It sounds to me like she's on board with this administration's policy of reserving the right to use nuclear weapons preemptively.

Jeff Lindemyer said...

This story certainly has sprouted its own legs. Check out my recent post on this ("Political Fall-Out Over Obama’s Statement of Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons Against al Qaeda in Pakistan") at