We Still Need to Press Clinton on $1T Nuke Weapons Plan

Arnie Alpert on December 09, 2015
The Concord Monitor editors discussed nuclear dangers with Hillary Clinton, but her views on the $1 Trillion nuclear build-up are still unclear.

“Candidates for president should be asked how they will make sure the military-industrial-complex does not have unwarranted influence over our foreign and military policy,” I wrote two weeks ago in a column about the U.S. nuclear weapons build-up published in the Concord Monitor.  I reinforced the message yesterday in a tweet to the Monitor’s editors before their meeting with the former Secretary of State:  “Will @HillaryClinton resist push for $1T in new nuclear weapons? #WhoProfits”

We don’t know what the editors asked, but today’s front page story suggests that nuclear dangers were a big part of yesterday’s interview.

“Whenever I’m asked in a debate or in an interview what the No. 1 threat to us is, I always say, ‘Nuclear weapons,’” Clinton said.  “And now I add, ‘In the hands of terrorists.’ Because they are in a constant search to get ahold of loose material.”

The former Secretary is certainly correct that nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists is a big danger.  But most of the nukes in the world’s combined arsenal are in the possession of the United States and Russia.  If you think about the recent incident in which Turkey, a U.S. ally, shot down a Russian jet, and consider the fact that many U.S. missiles are on hair trigger alert, it should be obvious that the risk of full-scale nuclear confrontation is only a misjudgment away. 

And the plan to spend $1 Trillion on new ones over the next three decades does nothing to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists, “rogue states,” or anyone else.  To the contrary, U.S. insistence that nuclear weapons must be a central component of our “defense” puts pressure on other nations to get or upgrade their own.  

The only sane response is to fulfill our Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations and work for a world free of nuclear weapons.  That will require a president and a Congress who can stand up to the corporations like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, and the rest who will do everything they can to keep the nuclear weapons production lines humming and their profits flowing.  

The Monitor’s editorial board also discussed the militarization of the police with Clinton.  

Police departments “need to get back to community policing, being more integrated and accessible in their communities.  You can’t do that in a BearCat,” she said.

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Arnie Alpert

Arnie Alpert

Arnie Alpert is co-director of the American Friends Service Committee’s New Hampshire Program, which he has led since 1981.  In that time he has been involved in movements for economic justice and affordable housing, civil and worker rights, peace and disarmament, abolition of the death penalty, and an end to racism and homophobia.