Kyl’s ‘loopy’ nuclear policy

KYL’S ‘LOOPY’ NUCLEAR POLICY…. The last time Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) tried to work on nuclear and national security policy, it was a bit of a disaster for him. Kyl invested heavily in derailing New START, negotiated in bad faith, presented arguments that didn’t make any sense, and soon found many in his own party refused to go along with his efforts.

It quickly became apparent that the Arizona Republican was more interested in playing partisan games than advancing national interests. If denying President Obama a victory meant blowing off the collective judgment of the U.S. military and Republican foreign policy establishment, so be it.

Kyl’s uninformed interest in the subject apparently hasn’t gone away.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) called President Obama’s goal of a nuclear weapon-free world “loopy” on Tuesday while charging the administration with allowing Moscow too much sway over America’s atomic arsenal and missile defense plans.

In a breakfast speech on Capitol Hill, Kyl slammed the administration for basing its nuclear-weapons and missile-defense plans on “trying not to offend the Russians.”

Hey, Jon, maybe you can let us know now whether any of this was intended as factual statements?

On nuclear policy, Kyl has never demonstrated any meaningful, working understanding of the subject matter, but so long as he wants to characterize the vision of a world free of nuclear weapon as “loopy,” it’s worth taking a moment to add some historical context.

JFK spoke often of eventually ridding the world of nuclear weapons. So did Truman. Ronald Reagan — someone Kyl 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 a few 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.

As easy as it is for confused politicians like Kyl to mock, 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 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 in the Nuclear Posture Review.

Kyl thinks he’s taking a shot at Obama by calling this “loopy,” but the senator is only embarrassing himself.