There’s an article in the Wall Street Journal today by a number of former Cold War leaders (including George Schultz, Sam Nunn and Henry Kissinger) that calls for the U.S. to rethink its M.A.D. nuclear weapons policy. Not a dove among the lot.
While you can’t access that article without a subscription, you can read the open letter at the http://www.nti.org Here are some of the key paragraphs:
“Today, the Cold War is almost 20 years behind us, but many leaders and publics cannot conceive of deterrence without a strategy of mutual assured destruction. We have written previously that reliance on this strategy is becoming increasingly hazardous. With the spread of nuclear weapons, technology, materials and know‐how, there is an increasing risk that nuclear weapons will be used.
It is not possible to replicate the high‐risk stability that prevailed between the two nuclear superpowers during the Cold War in such an environment. The growing number of nations with nuclear arms and differing motives, aims and ambitions poses very high and unpredictable risks and increased instability.
[…]Recently, the four of us met at the Hoover Institution with a group of policy experts to discuss the possibilities for establishing a safer and more comprehensive form of deterrence and prevention in a world where the roles and risks of nuclear weapons are reduced and ultimately eliminated. Our broad conclusion is that nations should move forward together with a series of conceptual and practical steps toward deterrence that do not rely primarily on nuclear weapons or nuclear threats to maintain international peace and security.”
Read the full letter here.
Having passed the renewal to the START treaty late last year, perhaps we can start to call on Congress and the President to return again to the issue of a Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB). If we sign on, we will have a great deal of moral authority to then urge the sorts of nations we’re most concerned about (Iran, North Korea, Libya(?)) to join the ban as well.
I offer a slight but important correction: the US has already signed the CTBT, we need to ratify it. It cannot be entered into force without US ratification.
The CTBT Organization reports that the detection technology that is in place for the purposes of detecting nuclear weapons tests is also helping to provide advance warnings of earthquakes and tsunamis.