On Tuesday, May 18th, President Obama will formally begin one of the greatest bait-and-switch operations since the fabled "Emperor's New Clothes." With high-profile appearances before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by his Secretaries of State and Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he will try to persuade Senators to vote for the defective New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).
The real agenda is different, and worse, however: It is about getting buy-in from legislators for the President's policy of global denuclearization - for which New START is said to be an important building block.Mr. Obama has good reason to try to obfuscate his true purposes. A debate I had last week with two of the premier champions of the President's pursuit of a "world without nuclear weapons" made clear how ill-advised and actually counterproductive is the effort now being made by the United States to advance this objective.
The debate was sponsored by the American Society of International Lawyers and the United Nations Association and represented, to my knowledge, the first time the proposition had been squarely joined in a public setting. It was supposed to involve just retired Career Ambassador Thomas Pickering and me, but wound up featuring as well comments from one of the prime-movers behind the denuclearization initiative, former Reagan strategic arms negotiator Max Kampelman.
It turned out that the proponents of a world free of nuclear arms were long on aspiration and short on credible responses to my contention that common sense dictates such an end state would not be desirable, even if it somehow could be achieved. Hard experience suggests that such an international environment would be prone to renewed cataclysms of the kind that afflicted the planet twice in the last century, at the cost of tens of millions of lives.
Messrs. Pickering and Kampelman were no more convincing on the mechanics of eliminating all nuclear weapons, given the widespread availability of the relevant technology and know-how and the ease with which small arsenals could be concealed by dictators ruling closed societies.
Such are, in a manner of speaking, "the President's new clothes."
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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