What used to be a bipartisan goal

WHAT USED TO BE A BIPARTISAN GOAL…. Every time President Obama’s goal of reducing — and eventually, eliminating — nuclear weapons comes to the fore, some on the right see grounds for mockery.

A year ago, for example, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, with a child-like tone, equated eliminating nuclear arsenals with missiles that “can shoot dandelions,” and altering the one-dollar bill to encourage Americans to “turn their frowns upside down.” Yesterday, Rudy Giuliani followed suit, trying to once again pretend he knows what he’s talking about.

“A nuclear-free world has been a 60-year dream of the Left, just like socialized health-care. This new policy, like Obama’s government-run health program, is a big step in that direction. President Obama thinks we can all hold hands, sing songs, and have peace symbols.”

Let’s set the record straight here. JFK spoke often of eventually ridding the world of nuclear weapons. So did Truman. Ronald Reagan — someone Giuliani may have heard of — called for the abolishment of “all nuclear weapons,” which he considered to be “totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization.”

“[F]or the eight years I was president,” Reagan wrote in his memoirs, “I never let my dream of a nuclear-free world fade from my mind.”

President Obama’s approach is very much in line with the bipartisan approach outlined three years ago by George Shultz, secretary of state in the Reagan administration; Henry Kissinger, secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations; William Perry, secretary of defense in the Clinton administration; and Sam Nunn, a former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

It’s easier for clowns like Giuliani to mock than think, but there’s really nothing naive or fanciful about the president’s vision. Obama has conceded that eliminating nuclear arsenals is not likely to happen in his lifetime, but he’s said we can begin the work with a variety of short- and long-term tasks, including U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a new arms treaty with Russia, a new initiative to secure all vulnerable nuclear material, the creation of an international fuel bank as part of a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, and the approach outlined this week in the Nuclear Posture Review.

To dismiss this as an effort to have us “all hold hands, sing songs, and have peace symbols,” is a reminder that Giuliani considers national security issues with all the seriousness of a child with crayons.

Greg Sargent reminds us today that Giuliani’s resume “boasts no meaningful national security experience of any kind.” Greg added, “Someone needs to tell the bookers at the networks that the fact that Rudy Giuliani happened to get photographed walking through the smoke and dust on 9/11 does not give him any authority or credibility on foreign policy and national security issues.”