Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The long, hot summer is underway

John McCain gave a speech on nuclear proliferation today at the University of Denver and was heckled by protesters of the Iraq war. (Video below the jump)

He was interrupted three times.

His support of a hugely unpopular war, coupled with his fealty to a feckless, officious, draft-dodging, coke-snorting deserter who punked him hard in 2000 is hanging around his skinny, aged wattle and even the media can't, tho they try with all their might, foist him upon us.

We hate this war, and we hate George Bush and John McCain is too closely allied with both, and he is, inexplicably, on the wrong side of veterans issues.

And then there is the fact that he is either senile of deliberately lying his ass off about efforts to stop the spread of nuclear armaments.

“Many believe all we need to do to end the nuclear programs of hostile governments is have our president talk with leaders in Pyongyang and Tehran, as if we haven’t tried talking to these governments repeatedly over the past two decades.”
Say what?

They didn't get anywhere with North Korea until the let Christopher Hill go to Pyongyang and start talking.

And I have no idea where he got the notion that we have "tried to talk to" Iran! We have not had diplomatic relations with Iran since April of 1980!

Now, I could deconstruct his speech, but I don't have to. Jon Woflsthal, an actual non-proliferation expert (I'm just a cold war Brat) already has, and he did a better job than I could.

John McCain’s speech on nuclear weapons seems to adopt the narrowest of lenses in dealing with nuclear weapons. Moreover, his proposals – many of which might sound good – don’t match up with other things he has said on nuclear weapons, on Russia, on Iran and suggests he doesn’t really get the complexity of these issues. Lastly, the tone may be better, but many of the proposals—not to mention his language choices—are right out of George W. Bush’s play book. This may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but it is still a wolf.

  1. He wants to work with Russia on arms control and tactical nuclear weapons, but he also wants to kick Russia out of the G-8. Not sure how you get them to play nice on nukes after you kick them in the teeth. Also, Bush adopted a loose standard on counting nuclear weapons and verification. Will McCain (who is now working with John Bolton – father of Bush arms control dogma) be any better?
  2. I applaud his desire to get tactical nuclear weapons out of Europe, but if we pull nuclear weapons out of Turkey as Iran advances its nuclear program, they are not going to have increased confidence in NATO and the US. This speech, and the references to it, will send shock waves through Europe and and a McCain Administration would start in a hole.
  3. He does not walk away from the new “reliable replacement warhead” being pitched by the Bush administration. Lots of wiggle room for him, left there on purpose, I would guess.
  4. Why is only the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) going to review nuclear policy? Where are the experts on nonproliferation, diplomacy, history, etc? This is the same line the Bush administration gave. In May of 2000, standing in front of Secretary Kissinger and other republican heavy-weights, then-candidate Bush said he would reduce nuclear weapons to the lowest number consistent with U.S. security. Sound familiar? McCain’s statement is almost an exact quote. The JCS has set the current floor on reductions. The President sets the war guidance for the level of nuclear weapons, and leaving it to the JCS is a recipe for the status quo.
  5. Did anyone else notice that McCain did not repudiate the policy of regime change? I know why Iran and North Korea want nuclear weapons. Reducing ours will not get them to change their course. Of course, singing “bomb bomb Iran” to the tune of “Barbara Ann” won’t do it either. Is McCain really suggesting cutting our nukes will lead others to reduce theirs? It’s the broader policy that needs changing, not just the number of nukes.
  6. Coming out of left field (or from pander-ville) is the remark about international nuclear storage. It is possible that Russia might build a storage facility for countries in East Asia, but McCain seems to be suggesting some other country is going to accept our huge (the world’s largest) stock of spent fuel and that this might be a way to avoid opening the spent fuel repository in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Talk about pandering. Who does he think is going to take our nuclear waste? Even if someone would take it off our hands, the stuff contains about 100,000 weapons worth of plutonium that must be dealt with. Does McCain really want to export that to a country poor enough to want into the nuclear waste storage business?
  7. Either you are for the ban on nuclear testing or you are not. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is the most studied arms control agreement in history. It has been verifiable since the 1960s. McCain voted against it. To play the “let’s study it again” dance is too cute by half. If the President does not support it, it is not going to happen. Also, McCain seems to be suggesting we should re-open the agreement for new modifications. That is the fastest way to kill it. He also talks about limiting testing. We want to ban testing. We have more nuclear expertise than anyone – why we would want to make the world safe for others to test nuclear weapons is unclear. Obama and Clinton have said they are for the CTBT and plan to fight for its ratification. McCain has not. The rest of the world – including the states we need on our side to deal with Iran and North Korea – are embarrassed that we have not ratified it.

McCain’s speech is a feeble attempt to try to tie all Republicans and Democrats into the failures of the Bush administration nuclear policies. Before 2000, the US was on the right track. The regime needed work, but was sound – more states had given up nuclear weapons and weapon programs in the 1980s and 90s than had begun them. Now that track record lies in ashes – because of the Bush Administration approach, backed by a Republican Congress that killed the CTBT and sought to restrict funding for nuclear security efforts during 2000-2004. McCain is promising more of the same.

I admit that what I heard sent me to the same place - his speech was an attempt to spread the malicious, craven disregard for policy and process that define this administration over every administration from the advent of the cold war forward!

If he is lacking cognitive ability to process and analyze the reality, that is bad enough. If he is deliberately lying, that is worse. And can I just say that the spectacle of McCain, floundering desperately, is heartbreaking. I don't think I have winced this much in 20 years - since I watched my late grandfather trying to get the VCR to stop flashing 12:00.

Here is that video I promised. If this is what is in store for him on a regular basis, his famous temper is going to erupt sooner or later...probably sooner.

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