Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Nukes in the neighborhood

An excellent, as usual, lead editorial from the Wall Street Journal today about the fantasy that is the President's "nuke free world."

"And I had an excellent meeting with President Medvedev of Russia to get started that process of reducing our nuclear stockpiles, which will then give us a greater moral authority to say to Iran, don't develop a nuclear weapon; to say to North Korea, don't proliferate nuclear weapons," Mr. Obama said, implying that previous American Presidents had lacked such "authority."

The President went even further in Prague, noting that "as a nuclear power -- as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon -- the United States has a moral responsibility to act." That barely concealed apology for Hiroshima is an insult to the memory of Harry Truman, who saved a million lives by ending World War II without a bloody invasion of Japan. As for the persuasive power of "moral authority," we should have learned long ago that the concept has no meaning in Pyongyang or Tehran, much less in the rocky hideouts of al Qaeda.

The truth is that Mr. Obama's nuclear vision has reality exactly backward. To the extent that the U.S. has maintained a large and credible nuclear arsenal, it has prevented war, defeated the Soviet Union, shored up our alliances and created an umbrella that persuaded other nations that they don't need a bomb to defend themselves.

I love the idea that by reducing our nuclear stockpile, which has prevented war as well as massive proliferation, will give us the moral authority to tell Tehran to not continue with their weapons program. This makes about as much sense as the crazy old man in your neighborhood getting rid of his rottweiler and shotgun from his front porch and expecting the kids to not play on his lawn. I can imagine just how shocked he would be when, surprise, they proceed to go rooting in his front yard and upturning his petunias.

The moral authority of the United States doesn't come from agreeing to get rid of our stockpile of nukes, but from our saving the world from itself on numerous occasions within the 20th century. Also, we did invent the snuggie, along with a host of other items which have made the world a better place, up to and including the Slap-Chop, the Sham-Wow as well the Big City Slider Station. Should we agree to rid the world of our consumer durables? I think we would have more authority by agreeing to send Billy Mays and Vince the Sham-Wow guy to Gitmo than we would by apologizing for our use of an atomic bomb and destroying our deterrent which has, cost benefit wise, saved more lives than any conventional weapon in modern history.

What the current administration doesn't understand, or probably won't admit, is that the world is a dangerous place. The kids that want to play in our front yard don't care about upturning our petunias as much as destroying the moral order of our garden. The rottweiler and shotgun of our yard are nuclear weapons and a missile shield. I hope my President begins to understand this point.

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