The misguided nuclear talking points

THE MISGUIDED NUCLEAR TALKING POINTS…. Listening to the children who speak for the Republican Party in 2010 talk about nuclear policy is a truly depressing exercise. Given the importance of the issue, and the interest in this morning’s developments in Prague, it’s worth noting reality.

It is, alas, in short supply on the right. Former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin described the administration’s nuclear policy this way yesterday: “It’s kinda like getting out there on a playground, a bunch of kids, getting ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, ‘Go ahead, punch me in the face and I’m not going to retaliate.'” Fox News anchor/activist Megyn Kelly believes the U.S. policy may leave the United States “defenseless.” Former mayor Rudy Giuliani believes the president want us to “all hold hands, sing songs, and have peace symbols.”

Page van der Linden did a terrific job today detailing the talking points from the confused GOP children. The post is worth reading in full, but I wanted to highlight a couple of the arguments you’re most likely to hear.

MYTH: This treaty, and the Nuclear Posture Review, say that the United States is “unilaterally disarming” and Russia gets to keep all their nukes.

That is absolutely untrue. You’d have to have a brain more dense than uranium to think that it’s true…. [E]ven by 2020, we are not going to be free of all of our nuclear weapons. Neither will the Russians. We will have plenty left on either side, and those are just the strategic nukes. We still have tactical nuclear weapons on both sides too, which is a topic for another time. […]

MYTH: Obama’s policy is “no nukes, period”.

Well, I’ll just point you to the table above, and you’ll see that’s not true. His speech in Prague a year ago has been repeatedly misinterpreted by people on both the left and the right; in summary, yes, he, like Ronald Reagan and a number of other people, thinks the world would be better off without nuclear weapons, but he also realizes the reality of the real world, which is that there are a lot of nukes out there, and deterrence is the realistic approach and will remain so for a long time.

Military leaders, policy experts, and a variety of others who are literate on the subject have made it clear that the right-wing arguments have no foundation in reality.

But as Page concluded, “All in all, I think the hysteria from FOX News that we are somehow “less safe” even though we’re going to have thousands of nuclear weapons on hand for the near future, is pretty ridiculous, but it’s also sinister, because people start to believe it.”

Which is precisely why they pop off with such nonsense in the first place.