That President Obama made reducing the U.S. nuclear stockpile even further the centerpiece of his Berlin speech is strange on a number of fronts.
First of all, as Charles Krauthammer notes below, who cares? The world is faced with so many much more pressing problems than some throwback issue to the Eighties.
But worse, how does it make us more secure to shed hundreds more warheads from the stockpile of around 1,500 that will remain after the New START treaty is implemented? It doesn’t make the world any less likely to blow up or reduce our ability to do it.
What it does, however, is decrease our allies’ assurance that they are protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella and will continue to be shielded in the future.
Rather than move us closer to a nuclear-free planet, further reductions in the U.S. stockpile give allies cause to beef up their own caches of nuclear weapons, or start a program in the first place. And it suggests to enemies that they may be able to move ahead of us one day, a triumph that would give them an aura of parity with or even superiority to the United States.
The latest proposal ultimately stems from ideas Obama probably hatched while listening to Bob Dylan in his dorm room back when the Nuclear Freeze was the big thing. And it makes as much sense as some of Dylan’s lyrics.
Sorry, I’m a Dylan fan myself. But you have to admit you often have no idea what he’s talking about.