In a major speech yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke forcefully about the need to reduce nuclear weapons and to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. “We can’t afford to continue relying on recycled Cold War thinking,” Clinton stated. “And the nuclear status quo is neither desirable nor sustainable.”
Clinton reiterated President Obama’s pledge to negotiate a treaty reducing U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and secure nuclear materials that terrorists could use to make a nuclear bomb, while confronting countries like Iran and North Korea that wish to develop their own nuclear arsenals.
As Clinton put it, “Pursuing these goals is not an act of starry-eyed idealism or blind allegiance to principle. It is about taking responsibility to prevent the use of the world’s most dangerous weapons, and holding others accountable as well.”
In an intentional effort to draw attention away from Secretary Clinton’s speech, Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) published an op-ed yesterday in the Wall Street Journal titled “Why We Need to Test Nuclear Weapons.”
Kyl is not the only nuclear hawk bent on obstructing the Obama administration. Neoconservative William Kristol – a leading cheerleader for war against both Iraq and Iran – and Liz Cheney – the daughter of the former Vice President – have joined forces to start a group called Keep America Safe.
As it demonstrated in its first advertisement, this organization exists for only one purpose: to sabotage the Obama administration’s effort to restore sanity to U.S. national security policy. The ad portrays Obama’s diplomatic outreach to the rest of the world as making Americans less safe and claims Obama is more interested in playing golf than protecting America.
President Obama and Secretary Clinton are energetic and persuasive leaders, but they cannot do it alone. If members of Congress do not end their sounds of silence, the right wing ideologues will prevail and the greatest opportunity to reduce nuclear dangers since the dawn of the Atomic Age will pass us by.