Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Obama should be much more like George H W Bush

Yes, the comparison would probably make him cringe, but Freeman Dyson makes an interesting and accurate observation in an interview. He notes that the two presidents most responsible for dramatic arms reductions were both Republican; Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush.

HW especially reduced nuclear weapons stockpiles by a greater percentage than any other president. He was responsible for negotiating the START treaty with the Soviet Union which remains the largest and most complex arms control treaty in history; its final implementation in late 2001 resulted in the removal of about 80 percent of all strategic nuclear weapons then in existence.

As Dyson notes, for all the enthusiasm on the left, Obama is actually doing much less than both Reagan and Bush and needs to do much more to reduce nukes. Maybe, as Dyson wryly says, one needs to be a right wing Republican to get rid of nuclear weapons.
"Dyson: Well he should be doing much more. I mean this is… I like Obama and I like what he is doing, but this is not at all impressive. George Bush, Sr., did far more. I mean George Bush, Sr., got rid of more than half of our nuclear weapons just like that. He was the one who really got rid of nuclear weapons on a big scale, but George Bush, Sr., was careful because he was a Republican. He did it very quietly. He didn’t want to have his name associated with that, but he got it done. Of course with Obama it’s sort of the opposite that he would like to get the credit for it, but he is not really doing it, and so it’s, I think he should be doing far more and I hope he will, but he is in a much more difficult position. It helps to be a right-wing Republican if you want to disarm..."

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Anonymous Aniruddha said...


I would not be very hasty in believing all the numeric victories that Arms Control treaties claim. Many times they manipulate the universal set to be much smaller than the actual number of arms and then decide to reduce X% out of that smaller set.

2:28 PM  

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