It is encouraging to see that the presidential candidates have both correctly determined that our nuclear weapons policy deserves significant attention. Both candidates have spent time articulating a vision of what our nuclear weapons policy would look like, and while there are concerns from both candidates, we can be assured that even “McBush” recognizes that we need to move in a new direction.
Our friends at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation have put together a comprehensive comparison of Obama and McCain’s positions on many aspects of nuclear weapons policy. Click here to read it.
If that isn’t enough information for you, you can watch video of the Arms Control Association’s Annual meeting, where representatives of each campaign discussed how the next president can strengthen global nuclear nonproliferation.
While it is encouraging to hear Sen. McCain move away from the Bush administration’s incredibly aggressive nuclear policy, there are still many concerns about his position (including how he expects to kick Russia out of the G8 and then have friendly negotiations to reduce our nuclear stockpiles). In the midst of all the policy debates, it can be easy to lose sight of the human cost of nuclear weapons, which is truly horrifying. That is why, despite the progress in his position, I have to say I was disturbed by McCain’s contention in this video that dropping bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the right decision. As historian Howard Zinn notes here, military and civilian leaders knew that Japan was on the verge of surrender. The idea that lives were saved by dropping the bomb is an explanation that has been created to justify one of the worst tragedies in US foreign policy. Perhaps someone needs to remind John McCain that there are other lives at stake besides American ones, and the use of nuclear weapons on anyone is unjustifiable.