Bush gives qualified endorsement to nuke expansion and abolition
John, a Global Zero activst, told Jeb Bush, "Obama’s administration has released plans to overhaul our massive nuclear arsenal, which would cost us over a trillion over the next thirty years," and asked, "I was just wondering if you opposed the president’s plan which could cut funding for services like for our vets, body armor and ammunition.”
Bush responded, “I think there should be a goal of--an aspirational goal--a Reagan-esque goal if you will--of elimination of all nuclear weapons in the world. I think that is not a naive aspiration. But it would be naive aspiration if it were done unilaterally. I think we should be engaged in the world to lessen the potential for a nuclear holocaust."
The former Florida governor continued, "The new threat that exists is not the old Soviet/US mutually assured destruction threat. I mean that was clearly a threat. The new threat is the proliferation of weapons in the hands of people who aren’t going to follow the international standards that exist--all of the treaties and all of the agreements that exist. That’s the real danger. And I think one of the challenges, one of the reasons I opposed the Iranian agreement is that reason. It legitimizes the Iranian regime we’ve turned them into a nuclear threshold country. And if you’re Saudi Arabia, your greatest threat is Iran, and you see this and you have the resources, you’re going to become one of the players as well. We have Pakistan and North Korea, that are, that are certainly not, Pakistan is an ally on one level but they’re not stable, you can see there would be a threat there. You can see how North Korea- people laugh when you talk about the leadership of North Korea - that’s a serious deal when they are detonating weapons of any kind. It’s a threat to the region and it’s possibly a threat to the United States when they are building, they are trying to build, the long range missile capability to hit California."
"What we need to focus on," Bush concluded, "is how do you create a world where there is a reduction across the board. I don't think it’s the wrong thing to modernize our weaponry and modernize the triad but it ought to be done in a way- in concert- in recognition that the rest of the world needs to be a party to this and that we ultimately reduce this. And that nuclear power is used for civilian energy uses and only that."
Bush's interaction with Global Zero was noted in a story published in Foreign Policy's online magazine.