Those who know me know that I have tried to stay fairly neutral (note how that word shares a root with ‘neutered’…) on the Democratic Presidential Primary. I have preferences, but I’ve tried to avoid picking sides among the Democratic camps. In part, this was due to my now increasingly forlorn hope that Al Gore would join the field. The window for that to happen realistically is rapidly closing.
It really doesn’t matter to anyone but me (and the candidate, in the same way that it matters to a beach when a new grain of sand is deposited upon it) who I decide to support for the nomination. But because I’m a blogger, solipsism comes naturally, so I’ll do my thinking aloud.
I’ve decided that I will not support any candidate that does not hold the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons. It is not a peacenik, pie-in-the-sky position; it is a goal shared by the likes of Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Sam Nunn, and in his more lucid moments, even Ronald Reagan. It is a position that offers a real alternative to our reckless acts of aggression and bellicosity in the face of nuclear aspirations by poorer, weaker nations. It is the promise made by nuclear nations to the as-yet non-nuclear nations underpining the Non-Proliferation Treaty; it is the betrayal of that promise that is causing the NPT’s progressive collapse.
The world-altering project of abolishment is a Democratic alternative to the vision of world order offered by the Republicans, where we rule by force and fear, until the oppressed inevitably rise against our hegemony. After the sheer disaster brought about by the GOP’s Project for a New American Century, Democrats must lay out a vision for America’s role in the world that isn’t merely a more humane version of the GOP’s dystopia. An American commitment to lead the world based on a truly ethical vision of international relations is the only thing that can truly reunite us with persons of goodwill the world round to overcome the many globalized challenges we face in this new century, including terrorism, man-made ecological disasters, and global poverty.
So far, this abolitionist criteria currently gives three, possibly four, qualified candidates. This evening, at the fifth anniversary of his speech condemning the Iraq war, Obama laid out his vision for a world free of nuclear weapons. He joins John Edwards in pursuit of abolition, who advocated that position in May in an address to the Council on Foreign Relations. Dennis Kucinich has also espoused this goal, even introducing legislation on the subject. Mike Gravel seems likely to support nuclear abolition, but I am not aware of any statements by him about it.
Any Democrat who wants my vote should make the same commitment to rid the world of an insanity we’ve lived with for so long that it seems normal. At this point in history, there is really nothing standing between any nation on earth and possessing nuclear weapons other than that nation’s will to have them. This was never more clearly demonstrated than when little, impoverished, backward, isolated, starving pariah state North Korea was able to successfully acquire the keys to the nuclear club.
Nuclear weapons are no longer a guarantor of a stable world order – if they ever truly were – now every new member of the club simply makes disaster more likely. To safeguard the future of our species, it is swiftly becoming mandatory to exert the vast political will and effort needed to eliminate such weapons everywhere – especially from our own silos, bombers and subs.
I encourage you to take the same stand for nuclear abolition. And if you feel you can’t, I encourage you to tell me why in the comments.