Frank Gaffney
In last Thursday?s debate, the two presidential candidates were asked what represented ?the single most serious threat to the national security of the United States.? To most observers, the Democratic and Republican contenders seemed to agree: the spread of nuclear weapons.

The seeming agreement on that point masked, however, some fundamental differences between Senator John Kerry and President Bush on the question of nuclear weapons and their proliferation ? particularly into the hands of terrorists. If this danger is indeed our most serious threat, the American people had better understand the full significance of the choice for dealing with it being presented to them a month from now.

The difference may be summarized as that between Sen. Kerry?s orthodoxy of the Left ? with its reliance on arms control treaties and ?carrots? in the form of agreements with would-be proliferators, affording them access to nuclear information and materials ? and President Bush?s post-September 11 realism. Examples of the contrasting policies that flow from these divergent attitudes include the following:

o Unilateral disarmament? A cornerstone of the Left?s nuclear non-proliferation strategy is to control America?s arsenal. Its ascendancy during the past twelve years has meant that the United States: has not introduced a new nuclear design for the better part of twenty years; has not validated the condition of any of its existing designs in the only certain way, namely with an underground nuclear test, in over a decade; and has been hobbled in conducting research and development necessary to give the Nation the means, if necessary, to attack targets of increasing concern (notably, deeply buried facilities used to produce and store weapons of mass destruction).

Sen. Kerry said in the debate that ?It doesn?t make sense? for ?the United States to pursue a new set of nuclear weapons? including ?bunker-busting? ones. He declared ?I am going to shut that program down? in order to ?make it clear to the world we?re serious about containing nuclear proliferation.?


Frank Gaffney

Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
 
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