- The Washington Times - Monday, May 11, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

I share Robert R. Monroe’s concern about proliferation of nuclear weapons (“Decision time on deterrence,” Opinion, Thursday), but his proposed solution is dangerous nonsense that will make the problem worse.

According to Mr. Monroe’s shrill narrative, the United States has “observed a nuclear freeze for two long decades,” showing restraint while several other nuclear-armed nations have improved their arsenals. Restraint? Hardly. Starting from a position of vast superiority, the United States has spent $30 to 40 billion per year to keep a fleet of Trident submarines on continual patrol, field squadrons of B-2 bombers and retrofit the Trident missiles with new, more accurate and much more powerful warheads.

Mr. Monroe tells us that advocates of a nuclear-weapons-free world “ask the United States to prostrate itself in fear.” Tell that to cold-eyed realists such as former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who urge current U.S. leaders to provide for our long-term security with a push to eliminate nuclear arsenals worldwide. Well-respected statesmen and women from around the globe recognize that the world cannot continue to embrace nuclear weapons without eventual catastrophic results. In one fell swoop, Mr. Monroe ignores this wisdom, impugns the patriotism of millions of Americans and defies the vision of President Reagan. Mr. Reagan, it must be remembered, once said, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” His aim at the Reykjavik summit was to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely.

That’s not all. Mr. Monroe gives us his revision of the 1968 Nonproliferation Treaty, which he says “established two tiers: five nuclear-weapons states and some 183 non-nuclear-weapons states.” Hardly static, the real-world NPT acknowledges these two tiers but requires the non-nuclear-weapons states to forgo nuclear weapons, obliges the nuclear-weapons states to dismantle their weapons and promises an eventual nuclear-weapons-free world. I encourage readers to read the text for themselves.

Yes, the world is a very dangerous place. As he strives to address the nuclear-weapons threat head on - while keeping America strong and vigilant - President Obama should steer clear of the naysayers nipping at his heels.

MARTIN FLECK

Merrifield

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