Zenpundit on Nuclear Weapons Policy

Mark Safranski has posted on nuclear weapons policy, adding extremely valuable historical perspective to the multi-blog discussion of nuclear weapons policy instigated by Cheryl Rofer as he traces the evolution of American nuclear weapons policy from its beginnings to the present. He concludes with a set of prescriptions that parallel my own pretty closely. I think that only one of them is controversial:

A diplomatic “Come in from the Cold” option for *all* rogue states enmeshed with terrorism and WMD proliferation threats to follow the path of Libya, receiving diplomatic and economic normalization and security from “regime change” in return for transparently divesting themselves of threatening or injurious activities.

This isn’t too far from measures I’ve been suggesting in my discussions of our policy towards Iran but I believe that it cuts to the heart of the controversy on what our foreign policy should be. Is our policy realistic or idealistic? Do we support oppressive regimes for reasons of realpolitik or do we swear “eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man”? I recognize that those are the extreme positions but by its very nature our system oscillates through both of those positions and all points in between, searching for an optimum,. That’s one of the causes of our success and something people in our countries find most baffling about us.

2 comments… add one
  • Hi Dave,

    Much thanks for your kind remarks!

    I realize that might be controversial at first blush but it’s really a “win-win” scenario for the United States. It’s far cheaper for the U.S. to have our adversaries voluntarily disarm than for us to invade or bomb and try to root out nuke facilities and terror camps ourselves and we leave them effectively de-fanged. Those states that refuse – well – then there’s little doubt whom our serious enemies are and they have declared themselves to be so before the world.

  • My point was not that we shouldn’t do it (I think we should). It was that we should disabuse ourselves of the notion that we can achieve moral purity or make friends by following such a course.

Leave a Comment