The New York Times editorial “The Nuclear ‘Implementation Study’” hit the nail on the head on the key question of the necessity to have so many nuclear weapons on alert or in storage. It called for deeper cuts and cited studies that said the U.S. could go down to 1,000 warheads in total. The options being looked at include going down to 300 – 700 warheads.
The editorial is a wake-up call for some added rationality to our and other nations’ nuclear weapons strategy, posture, and security. Clearly, the Russians can help this process if they would join the effort at reductions. It would be in the interest of all countries to move more swiftly in this direction. The Times is worried rightly about election year politics, but Obama has already started quiet talks with Russia to see how far and how fast progress on follow-up to the New START treaty is possible and to enable more rapid progress once the elections are over.
Given the actions of other states, an effort by the U.S. and Russia to reduce nuclear weapons would help give a better strategic context for others to either slow down or reduce their efforts. The time has come to make that case and to reaffirm that such a direction serves America’s fundamental security interests.
By Harry C. Blaney III.