Jonathan Schell's excellent piece underscores the importance of having bold leaders willing to address the menace posed by nuclear weapons. Indeed, the past seven years have shown that lesson in reverse.
Instead of finally dumping the successor programs to President Reagan's "Star Wars" initiative that limped through two subsequent presidencies, the current Bush Administration revived them with zeal. Its decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and push ahead with ballistic missile defenses has brought US-Russian relations to their lowest point since the end of the cold war.
The Bush Administration has similarly refused to extend a treaty made under his father's presidency that verifiably reduced US and Russian nuclear arsenals, or to de-alert the thousands of nuclear warheads that still stand ready to be launched at a moment's notice. To the contrary, it has actually moved in the opposite direction and is pushing for the development of a new generation of nuclear warheads.
Schell's call for nuclear abolition is an urgent one that needs to be heard. The question now is whether current and future leaders are listening.
Mar 4 2008 - 9:54pm