Republican Radicalization, Part 1 of ?: Nuclear Arms

RedState denounces partial Republican accession to a new START treaty, as “send[ing] an unmistakable signal of weakness to the rest of the world.” In recent years, this same sentiment hasn’t been confined to internet tabloids, but has been echoed Giuliani, and Sarah Palin.

Compare this with President Reagan, the putative mythological founder of conservatism, who executed the Intermediate Nuclear Force (INF) treaty, laid the groundwork for START I & II (later signed by George H. W. Bush, although the latter never entered into force), and dreamed of a world without nuclear weapons, which he regarded as “totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization.” His words:

[F]or the eight years I was president, I never let my dream of a nuclear-free world fade from my mind.

Query whether the myth of Reagan has so completely replaced the reality that we can forget these things, or whether the GOP has simply descended into belligerent jingoism with such alacrity that abstract civilizational goals are no longer within contemplation.


  1. Now, now. When senior Republican senators (presumably the ones who understand the issues involved) have in fact supported the treaty, it hardly seems fair to criticise the entire GOP.

    That said, this Russ Vought individual from Red State appears to be very poorly informed about what New START is actually about. In this earlier piece of his, he argues that START limits the deployment of defensive arms, which is nonsense – the treaty is explicitly about offensive arms, and defenses are only mentioned in the preamble which has no legal effect in itself.

    He also falls into the old, but serious fallacy that “more nukes = more security”. That’s not correct, because diminishing returns start kicking in the moment a state gets its first nuclear weapon. After that, there’s really not that much effective difference between 500 and 5000 weapons – except for the maintenance and security expenses, of course.


  2. Lanfranc beat me to the punch. I can’t imagine opposition to nuclear disarmament is a majority opinion even among Tea Party whackos. Stop generalizing Ames.

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