In the 1994 movie “Maverick,” there is a huge, climactic poker tournament. James Garner’s character Cooper is charged with security – he is to ensure every player turns in their weapons prior to play.
Play ensues and tensions rise, and suddenly nigh every player draws guns they aren’t supposed to have – and a massive shootout ensues. After which James Coburn’s character The Commodore disgustedly shouts “Your security didn’t work a damn Coop – everybody’s got a gun.”
And so it is with the “global community”’s decades-long efforts to prevent the global proliferation of nuclear weapons. We have a long, proven track record – of being utterly incapable of stopping any nation that wants nuclear weapons from obtaining them.
In the 1990s, then-Democrat President Bill Clinton took a titanic victory lap celebrating the deal he cut to prevent North Korea from going nuclear. Here he is back in the day, describing its incredible effectiveness – doing his best Neville Chamberlain impersonation:
“North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. South Korea and our other allies will be better protected. The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons….The United States and international inspectors will carefully monitor North Korea to make sure it keeps its commitments.”
Except, of course, North Korea kept right on going. And has now had nukes for years. And is now working on adding range to their delivery missiles – completely unfettered by Clinton’s magical deal.
Flash forward about a decade, and then-Democrat President Barack Obama cut an absolutely atrocious deal – that was to allegedly stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. He, like Clinton, was – publicly, anyway – just as sure that his Neville Chamberlain-esque deal would be devastatingly effective:
“The agreement now reached between the international community and the Islamic Republic of Iran builds on this tradition of strong, principled diplomacy….We have achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It cuts off all of Iran’s paths to a bomb.”
Except Iran didn’t even slow down as it blew past Obama’s deal – fueled further by the $150 billion Obama handed them. Iran didn’t even bother to ease off the accelerator…during their negotiations with Obama.
Going way back – the international community decades ago didn’t want Pakistan to go nuclear. In the late 1960s – they of course did.
And back to today – I’m sure you’re as confident as am I that ISIS won’t use nukes (or major missiles of any sort) as soon as they can obtain and deliver them.
The global community – can’t prevent anyone from doing whatever they want. As “Maverick”’s Commodore would note – everybody’s got a nuke.
Since we obviously can’t control what we can’t control – we should concentrate our efforts on what we can.
We should bulk up and maintain the world’s largest, most state-of-the-art nuclear arsenal. So huge and overwhelmingly devastating – that any and all other nations and rogue actors know that their total obliteration would immediately follow any (nuclear) attack on us. You may not like Mutually Assured Destruction’s acronym – but you have to like its half-century-plus of Cold-War-and-beyond success.
And we should build and maintain the world’s best, most state-of-the-art missile defense system. Which doesn’t and won’t discriminate – it will block all missiles, not just nuclear ones. Because a foreign actor doesn’t have to be nuclear – to be a missile-launching threat.
We’re a little behind on our nuclear arsenal – we are WAY behind on our missile defense.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a serious, no-nonsense Washington, D.C. think tank. And when it comes to missile defense – they want to ramp way up. And have issued a study and report that backs their perspective.
Missile Defense: Time to Go Big: “Nations around the world continue to develop a growing range of ballistic and cruise missiles to asymmetrically threaten U.S. forces, allies, and the American homeland. Missile defenses have now become an essential part of U.S. defense policy and strategy, and their importance shows no sign of diminishing….
“One especially pressing threat is posed by North Korea. Pyongyang has accelerated the pace of its provocations to unprecedented levels, with 22 missile tests and two nuclear detonations in 2016 alone.
“Iran is also bolstering its missile capabilities, with a steady testing program and the apparent aim of improving accuracy to better threaten military targets.
“Russia and China continue to advance their already sophisticated missile arsenals at both the strategic and tactical level….
“Besides the ‘increasingly complex ballistic missile threat,’ non-ballistic missiles are also a problem.”
Sounds like an multi-national/non-national (Hello, ISIS) troupe of actors – deeply desirous of being maximumly capable of us harm. We need to get deeply serious about a system designed to stop their missile missives.
Thankfully: “During the campaign, President-elect Donald Trump pledged to ‘develop a state of the art missile defense system.’”
He absolutely should. As rapidly as humanly possible.
In a world full of things we can’t control – we should maximize the countermeasure things we can.
In a world where everybody’s got a nuke – and increasingly the missiles to deliver them – a missile defense system is an unquestionably necessary, obviously reasoned and reasonable response.
Let’s get to it.