Joseph De Trani should be applauded for warning about the risks of a new nuclear arms race (“Nuclear arms race,”Web, Oct. 26), but his suggestions for averting such a situation are unrealistic.

Following the concepts of previous American administrations, Mr. De Trani seeks ways of reaching the denuclearization of North Korea, getting China to join a recently signed extension of the New Start Arms Reduction Treaty and persuading Iran to rejoin the JCPOA.

For the past 50 years, successive administrations seem to have forgotten that America has maintained a strong offensive nuclear capability as a deterrent to foreign hostilities. Why do officials find it so difficult to understand that others have absorbed the lesson? They seek to acquire nuclear weapons to ensure they are less likely to be attacked and can be resistant to undue diplomatic pressure to change their policies.

Rather than keep insisting that others give up a nuclear capability they have worked so hard to acquire, America and our allies should have spent our efforts on figuring out how to maintain security in a proliferated world.

Thirty-eight years ago President Reagan pointed out the way to enhance our deterrent policy by adding an effective defense to our offensive deterrent. Unfortunately, rather than investing properly in these concepts, our offensive capabilities have been allowed to decay and an unduly expensive investment in missile defense has been restricted to tactical rather than strategic.

We do have ways of maintaining our security, but not if we keep repeating the same mistakes.


Rockville, Md.

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