Monday, February 14


Michael Tomasky asks, What have we gotten for all the tough talk about nukes?

It’s a simple Newtonian equation: Tough-guy actions on one side mean that the other side will get tough, too. The American right loves to bash the 1994 Agreed Framework that the Clinton administration negotiated -- in direct talks -- with North Korea, and it seems clear that North Korea was violating it in crucial respects.

On the other hand, the framework accomplished some crucial goals, such as opening the country’s only plutonium reprocessing plant to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. And more importantly, it wasn’t until December 2002, after President Bush named North Korea as a member of the “axis of evil” and took steps that led to the suspension of heavy-oil shipments to North Korea -- a violation by America of the Agreed Framework, but one that you’re less likely to read about in the American press -- that the North Koreans restarted their nuclear activities at its Yongbyon plant and kicked the IAEA inspectors out. The tat earned its tit.

A recipe for spreading nukes:

Since late last year, however, America's nuclear labs have been instructed to design a new line of heavier nuclear warheads that would be more rugged and long-lasting than those now available. For now, the program is limited to design, not construction and testing. But once the designs are complete, the pressure to test the bombs is sure to mount. After that will probably come calls to spend trillions of dollars for new missiles to carry these heavier nuclear warheads.
This program sends a clear message to the rest of the world: Now that the superpower arms race has ended, Washington sees nuclear weapons as an important part of its military strategy against small and midsize states. It should be no surprise if those nations conclude that they must develop nuclear weapons of their own.

I was a little girl when the Cuban missile crisis occurred, and believe me, if you lived in Florida in a town with both an Air Force base and a Naval mine defense lab and within 100 miles of Pensacola Naval Air Base and Eglin AFB, you took the threat of nuclear weapons seriously. Some of my little friends were frightened to death. But back then, it was the Soviets who were threatening the security of the world. Now it's the USA. WHEN ARE AMERICANS GOING TO GET WISE TO THE FACT that this administration is a greater danger to our safety than the terrorists?


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