Arms control advocates finally felt like part of the popular group back in 2007 when 4 of the most respected former foreign policy officials made their “global zero” debut with a Wall Street Journal op-ed. It’s kind of like when the book nerd got invited to the cheerleader table – finally someone was accepting them for all they had to offer. And while the “No Nukes!” chant may still draw an image of protesting hippies for the most conservative of minds, in reality, the idea is making its way to the main stage – and with the approval of big-player Democrats and Republicans alike, including a nod from President-elect Obama.
In this recent piece from the Boston Globe, writer Drake Bennet highlights the progress that the “world free of nuclear weapons” movement has made just in the last two years.
The highlight (in my eyes) is below, or click here for the full article.
“Total nuclear disarmament – “getting to zero” in the arms-control argot – has become a mainstream cause. Voices from the heights of the American foreign policy establishment have begun to argue that, in a world of inevitably unruly globalization, increasing interest in nuclear energy, incomplete alliances, ambitious suicide terrorists, and ever-present human fallibility, it will never be enough to improve controls on the world’s nuclear weapons, or to reduce their numbers. We have to commit to eliminating them altogether.
These arguments are being made not by popes and mahatmas and Greens but by former secretaries of state and secretaries of defense, by generals and nuclear scientists, Democrats and Republicans. The leaders of the new no-nuke movement are George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, William Perry, and Sam Nunn, four of the most respected figures in American foreign policy circles. Over the past two years, they have, in speeches, at arms-control conferences and, most prominently, in two widely circulated op-ed pieces, lent their authority to an idea that is still seen as fairly radical.
And there is evidence that these arguments are being taken seriously by the people who are going to be making decisions about nuclear policy in the new administration. On the campaign trail, Barack Obama repeatedly committed himself to a nuclear-free future. One of his key foreign policy advisers, Ivo Daalder, coauthored an article in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, a leading foreign policy journal, laying out a plan for how to get there.
No one is arguing that this is a goal that will be reached in the next eight years, but there’s a sense that for the first time in a long while, real and significant movement in that direction is possible.”