The START ratification blackmail gets more blatant. In the NYT yesterday Senator Kyl was demanding first year nuclear “modernization” money, second year money, and long-range money.
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker wants an “appropriate and thoughtful modernization program.” (thoughtful - that’s sweet)
Administration officials, reported the Times, say they will pay the price,.
The House of Representatives does not vote on ratification but appropriates money.. So Kyl and the rest want to control House votes. Vice President Biden lobbied House members to produce the first year modernization money, only to see a House Subcommittee cut it back $99 million.
The frantic rush for nuclear arms race billions, when the United States is leagues ahead of all the rest of the world, and when Republicans and Democrats are screaming deficit, deficit, has to be measured against two probable motives on the part of Kyl, Corker and the others:
- to facilitate squeezing money for health, conservation, climate control, recreation, and education out of the budget, the tactic brazenly admitted by Reagan’s Budget Director David Stockman.
- to keep weapons profits bubbling.
These two ever-present motives have disabled rational discourse on security for a half century.
In Britain a parallel weapons modernization battle is raging, at the moment over Trident missile submarines. Do they need modernization? Might there be a cheaper deterrent? And so on.
Just what do our supposedly moldering warheads (that an independent scientists’ group called JASON say have years of remaining shelf life), these rusty, musty derelicts of outmoded warfare point to, these Twentieth Century counterparts of spears, cross-bows, muskets, and cannon? At you and me, of course. Over a thousand around the world, on hair trigger alert, programmed for the downtowns, the malls and city halls, hospitals, and schools.
Anthropologists one day will ask why human evolution weakened our survival instinct just as humans invented the ultimate killing machinery and needed a survival instinct as never before.
The answer, seems to me, is that evolution gave us more and more brain power to make up for our increasingly awkward inability to dodge and weave. Question is, can democracy mobilize modern humans’ undoubted intelligence, or does our disuse of brainpower consign democracy and other hallmarks of progress to defeat?