Published August 13, 2010
Nuclear treaty hard to criticize because no one wins nuclear warChris Chau, Contributing writer
Back in April, President Barack Obama and Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) to reduce the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia by about one-third. In an ideal world, nobody would have nukes. That is obviously not the case in the world we live in, but you have to learn how to walk before you run, right? The big hand on the doomsday clock can go back a couple minutes away from midnight. However, the signing of this landmark treaty did not receive a warm reception from everyone. Last month, in an op-ed in the Washington Post, Mitt Romney had some strong words about this foreign policy move by Obama. “…the president’s New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia could be his worst foreign policy mistake yet.” The main argument by opponents to the START agreement is that it leaves the United States vulnerable to hard-line countries such as Iran and North Korea due to the idea that since our nuclear cache has been reduced, the threat of our nuclear weapons is no longer a deterrent to these countries. However, the fact remains that we have enough nuclear warheads to level thousands of cities in a matter of seconds. The idea that the United States and Russian militaries have lost their ability to use nuclear weapons as a deterrent as a result of this treaty is preposterous. Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience is what makes him great at foreign policy. Although I may not completely agree with how he is handling the economic situation here in the states, you must ask yourself: How many wars has the United States entered since he took office? Although the sinking of the South Korean warship the Cheonan was an unfortunate tragedy, our president showed tremendous restraint in avoiding war. All of the evidence uncovered by the multi-national forensics team at the site of the sunken ship pointed toward North Korea. A total war in the Korean Peninsula however, would only worsen the situation by furthering the loss of life and taking a large toll on an already battered world economy. Getting support from other nations in the region, as well as economic sanctions against North Korea, was the right move. How many former leaders of our country may have already pushed the red button and pushed another generation of our brave young men and women into another conflict? When the rich decide to go to war, it’s the lower and the middle class that pay. Here is my case for signing the START treaty. If in responsible hands, nuclear weapons are much like handguns in an urban environment, if used only for self-defense, i.e., the preservation of life or deterrent to would-be attackers. However, the more guns that are out on the streets, the higher the chances of their falling into the wrong hands. With terrorists plotting to harm us, the proliferation rather than the reduction of nuclear weapons is a scary variable. In other words, the more nukes there are in the world, the higher probability that these weapons will be used against us. Let us assume however that the United States has an air tight lid on every nuclear warhead and has full accountability for each and every single one of them (let’s not forget about the B-52 Bomber armed with six nukes that accidentally flew over seven states back in 2007). Do we feel that way about other nations that are nuclear capable? That access to their nuclear weapons is impervious to terrorist attack? This becomes dangerous to both our own national security as well as our allies. Is it a liberal idea to not want the world to end by our own hands? The reality is that no one wins a nuclear war. This treaty is a step in the right direction. Einstein once said, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Chris Chau, a graduate of the University of Washington, is an assistant records officer with the Employment Security Department. A member of The Olympian’s Diversity Panel, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.