Monday, October 25, 2010

Santa Fe Council of International Relations – Responding to a Steve Clemons Challenge

This post was written partially in accepting a challenge by Steve Clemons in his post

where he stated:

Complaining and whining about government and spending and better leadership is easy -- but actually developing sensible, workable policy frameworks and alternatives is hard. But it's what we have to do.

So what I suggest to Larry Wilkerson in his upcoming SFCIR event (and to Richard Rhodes in future book promotion events):

Be clear and honest in terms of describing what attendees can expect by attending.

And to the SFCIR I suggest:

How about hosting an event where the topic of "eliminating nuclear weapons" is actually discussed, by those that see their elimination as a serious alternative? That have actually worked to eliminate, rather than promote, nuclear weapons? An obvious participant would be Greg Mello, of the Los Alamos Study Group, whose group has filed a lawsuit against DOE, NNSA to force compliance with NEPA, and stop construction of the CMRR until an EIS has actually been performed. I would also like to be on that panel. And unlike the last panel’s insistence on a one sided viewpoint, I would even be willing to include one of the SFCIR panelists, Steve Younger. Other nuclear abolitionists in the Santa Fe area might include Scott Kovacs and Joni Arends.

The person [Nicholas Thompson, the grandson of Paul Nitze] who wrote the NYTimes review of Twilight wrote:

Though subtitled “Recent Challenges, New Dangers, and the Prospects for a World Without Nuclear Weapons,” Rhodes’s new book doesn’t really deliver on that last phrase…


How do we reduce the number of nuclear states? Will the United States ever commit to unilateral reductions and hope that Russia, and then everyone else, follows? Will weapons eventually have to be handed over to the United Nations? Should the international community centralize authority over all civilian nuclear power, since that is the habitual cover for bomb makers? There are unfortunately few people working on these questions, and the world’s shunning of the topic means that “The Twilight of the Bombs” probably doesn’t actually describe a real twilight.

BTW, Paul Nitze (the Hawk in Nicholas Thompson’s book “The Hawk and the Dove” ) wrote the famous NYTimes OpEd “ A Danger Mostly to Ourselves” where he advocated:

The fact is, I see no compelling reason why we should not unilaterally get rid of our nuclear weapons. To maintain them is costly and adds nothing to our security.”

Strange that the panel could not find the path to eliminating nuclear weapons that the once super hawk saw so clearly.

But the composition of the panel and Upton Sinclair’s observation- “"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it” – clears that up.

We should have expected an effort to “sell” a vested interest product- the CMRR- to the public and try to counter the LASG lawsuit.

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