Led Astray by the Third Way
In “From the War Machine to the Green Dream,” by Peter-Christian Aigner and Michael Brenes [April 1], the authors’ description of the failed efforts to convert military production to civilian work has important lessons for current strategies to promote a Green New Deal. But they skip too lightly over Bill Clinton’s role in this bleak story. As the first post–Cold War president, he had a unique opportunity to begin transforming the world’s most advanced technologies to peaceful uses. But after promising such a conversion in his 1992 campaign, Clinton turned his back on it. When I and others pressed his new administration to fulfill that promise, we were told that government leadership wasn’t needed; the free market would motivate the arms industry to convert. Left on its own, the war machine predictably found new enemies to supplant the Soviet Union. And by Clinton’s fifth year, the military budget was again on the rise.
Economic Policy Institute
John B. Judis is right: The Koch brothers were not responsible for electing Scott Walker as governor of Wisconsin [“What Happened to Wisconsin?,” April 1]. What is not well recognized, though, is that Walker was “unelected” in 2018 because he took Grover Norquist’s “no new taxes” pledge, refused (despite his own party’s pleas) to raise the gas tax, and let the state’s roads fall into disrepair. And then, of course, there was the Foxconn boondoggle.
Re Michael T. Klare’s “Making Nuclear Weapons Menacing Again” [April 8]: North Korea has shown that only one nuclear missile capable of striking a major city is enough to deter an attack. I just don’t have words for the kind of mental illness that these so-called strategic thinkers show. When you have enough nuclear weapons to kill billions of people in the Northern Hemisphere, if not the entire human species, then what do you hope to accomplish in the name of deterrence with more of them? The notion that a massive strike can prevent a response is also delusional. There is no such thing as winning a nuclear war. It’s time to take this power of life or death away from these psychos and get rid of these weapons. If you want deterrence, one Trident submarine will more than accomplish that goal.
Making Scammers Pay
Re Katha Pollitt’s “Sailing Into College” [April 8]: There is a strong case for the use of restorative justice here. Rather than send these people to a “Club Fed”–type white-collar prison (or, rather than just sending them there), judges should order the rich parents and the people who induced them into this scam to spend an amount of funds equal to the $25 million accumulated by the scammers to pay college tuition for the thousands—or maybe tens of thousands—of qualified students who might otherwise miss college because they can’t afford to pay their way.
In Eric Alterman’s column “Of Course It’s Propaganda!” [April 1], the last name of The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik is misspelled as “Zuriwak.” We regret the error.