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Granoff writes: "The current Republicans running for offices, both high and low, have forgotten this legacy of success in making America and the world safer."

Ronald Reagan once said that nuclear weapons were 'totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization.' (photo: Bettmann/Corbis)
Ronald Reagan once said that nuclear weapons were 'totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization.' (photo: Bettmann/Corbis)


Ronald Reagan, Republicans, and Nuclear Weapons

By Jonathan Granoff, Reader Supported News

01 October 12

 

istening to today's candidates --at any level -- one would not know that, historically, Republicans have been instrumental in advancing arms control, nonproliferation, and nuclear disarmament. That is, until the recent Bush administration. In fact, active Republican leadership was essential in obtaining the Biological Weapons Convention, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and the Chemical Weapons Convention, to name but a few. However, the current Republicans running for offices, both high and low, have forgotten this legacy of success in making America and the world safer based on the US value of the rule of law.

Of serious concern is that the men who brought us the eight-year anomaly of consistent failure now comprise Romney's foreign policy team. Out of 24 advisers, 17 played significant roles in the Bush administration and contributed to an unmatched history of unprecedented catastrophes. These guys include Max Boot, John Bolton, Elliot Cohen, and Cofer Black. They constructed an era defined by lies to justify a war in Iraq, a distortion of American values that rationalized torture, the execution of an aggressive war of choice rather than necessity, degradation of the international legal order which the United States had spent decades to establish, and the execution of costly military ventures based on money borrowed from China.

Perhaps the most audacious whopper is that of many Republican candidates who claim the legacy of President Ronald Reagan and do not espouse his policies. In order to set the record straight, and in the hopes that some Republicans will indeed take up the Reagan mantle, or that some "mainstream" media will challenge candidates who claim Reagan as their model, I have gathered some quotes of his on the abolition of nuclear weapons. It should be clear that he was not just concerned that bad people or countries should have the weapon, but that the weapon itself is bad.

"We seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth." -- Ronald Reagan, Inaugural Address, 1985

"Our moral imperative is to work with all our powers for that day when the children of the world grow up without the fear of nuclear war." -- Ronald Reagan, from "Reagan's Secret War" by Martin and Annelise Anderson

"A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. The only value in our two nations possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they will never be used. But then would it not be better to do away with them entirely?" -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 State of the Union

"I know that there are a great many people who are pointing to the unimaginable horror of nuclear war... To those who protest against nuclear war, I can only say, 'I'm with you.'" Lettow also quotes Reagan as stating, "My dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the Earth." -- Ronald Reagan, from "Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Weapons," by Paul Lettow

"I can't believe that this world can go on beyond our generation and on down to succeeding generations with this kind of weapon on both sides poised at each other without someday, some fool, or some maniac, or some accident triggering the kind of war that is the end of the line for all of us. And I just think of what a sigh of relief would go up from everyone on this Earth if someday-- and this is what I have-- my hope, way in the back of my head-- is that if we start down the road to reduction, maybe one day in doing that, somebody will say, 'Why not all the way? Let's get rid of all these things'." -- Ronald Reagan, May 16, 1983

"My central arms control objective has been to reduce substantially and ultimately to eliminate nuclear weapons and rid the world of the nuclear threat. The prevention of the spread of nuclear explosives is to additional countries is an indispensable part of our efforts to meet this objective. I intend to continue my pursuit of this goal with untiring determination and a profound sense of personal commitment." -- Ronald Reagan, March 25, 1988, Message to Congress on the NPT

"It is my fervent goal and hope... that we will someday no longer have to rely on nuclear weapons to deter aggression and assure world peace. To that end the United States is now engaged in a serious and sustained effort to negotiate major reductions in levels of offensive nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal of eliminating these weapons from the face of the earth." -- Ronald Reagan, Oct. 20, 1986

Ronald Reagan once said that nuclear weapons were "totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization." -- Ronald Reagan as quoted by "A World Free of Nuclear Weapons," By George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam Nunn

"Most of the people have been hearing in political dialog from one side, since we've been here in the three-and-a-half years, that I somehow have an itchy finger and am going to blow up the world. And that has all been duly reported by so many of you that that is the tone that the people have been getting. And it doesn't do me any good to tell you that, having seen four wars in my lifetime, I don't know of anyone, in or out of government, that is more determinedly seeking peace than I am. And my goal is the total elimination of nuclear weapons. If we can get those fellows back to the table and get them to start down that road of mutual reduction, then they might find out what common sense it would mean to eliminate them." -- Ronald Reagan, Press Conference, May 22, 1984

"As I have indicated in previous statements to the Congress, my central arms control objective has been to reduce substantially and ultimately to eliminate nuclear weapons and rid the world of the nuclear threat. The prevention of the spread of nuclear explosives to additional countries is an indispensable part of our efforts to meet this objective. I intend to continue my pursuit of this goal with untiring determination and a profound sense of personal commitment." -- Ronald Reagan, March 25, 1988

"For the eight years I was president I never let my dream of a nuclear-free world fade from my mind." -- Ronald Reagan's memoirs, "An American Life"

As these quotations make abundantly clear, President Ronald Reagan was for the total global elimination of nuclear weapons and not for their improvement and indefinite retention by any country. He saw this as a moral imperative and a U.S. and international security necessity. Those who claim otherwise are misrepresenting him and what he passionately advocated.



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-5 # dbriz 2012-10-01 18:55
Jaysus Jonathon!

Couldn't you have leavened this piece with a few requisite denunciations of Old "Dutch"?

You write a column like this on a left wing site and expect comments?

You're leaving folks speechless.

Surely you could have thrown in a little Iran/Contra?

Oh yeah, nukes, well what the hell, we got lots more than anyone else, so why abolish them when we don't have to?

Besides, Bibi's pissed enough at us, why stir him up about those 200 or 300 nukes he doesn't admit to having?

My God, where are all those left wing peace devotees who were so ready to impeach Bush/Cheney? (A move I wholeheartedly supported BTW).

Strangely muted with Obama in charge. Gotta love those drones.
 
 
+5 # AndreM5 2012-10-01 22:46
Hey there; relax a bit. We all know the R-Raygun routine all too well. It's one thing to claim he hated the nucs since it was documented that RRaygun had no idea how they worked or what the USA had done with them in Japan (wasn't that just a movie?).

But it's another thing to expect him to hate weapons of mass destruction and subversion. Witness R-Raygun's approval and expansion of bioweapons production, his total confidence in useless but intolerably expensive space weapons for ruling the universe, his lust for arming and training psychopaths in Central America in the name of "democracy" and "freedom fighters," his willingness to sell out our electoral process to delay hostages' release in Tehran but assure his election, his blatant hatred of Viet Nam war dissenters on the UC campuses (it got personal in my family), his own deliberate confusion about the value of democratic unions and anti-union republican reactionaries, his laziness or simple physical incapability to perform the duties of his office... It goes on for volumes.

My opinion: R-Raygun is one of the worst Presidents we have ever endured but he was followed by much worse. At least we have the chance to destroy the "Saint Ronnie R" movement funded by the same suspects such as Karl "Hiel H" Rove.
 
 
+4 # X Dane 2012-10-01 22:24
You remember a Reagan VERY, very different than the one I disliked intensely for 8 years. The opposite of Robin Hood. In true republican style, he took from the old and the poor and lavished it on the rich.

He always despised big government, Yet during his presidency, government GREW enormously/ And so many now hail him as a great president. HE WAS NOT
 
 
+5 # freeportguy 2012-10-02 06:50
Republicans are now way too paranoid to even remotely consider the mere viability of those Reagan quoted ideals.

They foam at the mouth and keep wishing to bomb anyone that is not in total agreement and surrendering to the US.

And as they do with their guns, they want to be allowed to kill every time they simply feel threatened...wh ether that feeling is imaginary or not. And God knows it doesn't take much for them to feel threatened... I'm telling you, totally paranoid.
 
 
+7 # 666 2012-10-02 07:38
yah, all the negatives about raygun are right (no pun intended), BUT the implied point of this article is to show how FAR to the radical, fascist right today's (neocon) GOP has moved. similar things could and have been said about both clinton and obama and the dem move into the right-wing vacuum created by the gop exodus -- whence come today's "progressives". hell, for that matter, the last real "progressive" president we had would be FDR (and there's serious reservations on the left about him :)
 
 
+1 # X Dane 2012-10-02 15:07
666.
Sure we realize that the article points out HOW much the repub have gone insane. They are totally against so MANY things they once stood for.

Imagine it was NIXON, who started the EPA ?? Now all the repub want to eliminate it. They don't care one whit about all the havoc that will be unleashed on our people.

When air and water quality goes down the drain because EPA is gone, disease will get so much worse. And these crazy repub in congress want to eliminate health care too. They really are out to destroy the country.

And...Reagan started a lot of the misery.
He was so far removed from the saint some people want us to believe.
 
 
-3 # RobertMStahl 2012-10-02 08:21
"In the beginning was the word" is the most serious mistake ever made. Look at B Obummer. As a protestant atheist, may I quote the Bible? "In the beginning all was mush and without form." There is a difference that makes a difference (Gregory Bateson). Have you heard Amy Goodman's interview with Seth Rosenfeld about Reagan's never terminated relationship with the FBI from the 60s on or earlier? All this article points to is Paul Craig Roberts, the man involved with discovering the power of supply-side economics. Anyone care what has happened to Roberts from that time forward?
 
 
-2 # RobertMStahl 2012-10-02 10:33
See this about Ronald Reagan and note, also, what Norman Dodd found out about 1909 w/r the Reese Commission. Religion doesn't 'just win' against religious, which is timely, always. Please keep a step in time. Remember Mario Savio. Particularly, remember the double bind.

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/8/24/book_reveals_extensive_effort_by_reagan
 
 
-1 # RobertMStahl 2012-10-02 16:35
Hatred is beauty?
 
 
0 # dregstudios 2012-10-02 17:59
Reagan has a legacy so distorted by the Conservative idolization of him that we may never have a clear picture of the real man behind the television set beyond the elaborate myth now concocted around him. Did he really rid the world of commie scum? Did destroy or save our economy? Check out my portrait of The Gipper and help me figure it out on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/02/happy-100th-gipper.html with some Cold War Hollywood!
 
 
0 # WolfTotem 2012-10-02 18:13
Many commenters are just so damn manichean. For them, a man's either all bad or all good - such utter crap.

I, who am saying this, always found it difficult to perceive anything very positive about Ronald Reagan, either before or after he became president. I just kept wondering, was there anyone there behind that smooth facade? Despite Star Wars and that shadowy hulk of a Grey Eminence called Edward Teller, all these words strongly suggest something distinctly more positive about the Gipper.

Before Nixon came to power, I'd always thought of him as a disaster in the making, to be kept well away from the Presidency. But while we can't forget the man's dark side or how the saga ended, Nixon's positive achievements are historic landmarks and his qualities were such that there'd be no place for him in today's GOP.

Surely that's the whole point. It seemed hard to imagine an administration worse than the Bush/Cheney undertaking; but now there's far worse creeping up on us. Not the wallpaper thin lay figures Romney and Ryan, but the utterly inhuman power that lurks just behind the admen's billboards, waiting to burst through.
 
 
0 # Kauai John 2012-10-02 19:17
Are we talking about the man who kept the hostages in Iran until the minute he was inaugurated?

Or is this the Reagan who stationed troops in Beirut only to see them blown up, so he had to invade Grenada to re-establish is macho image.

Or the Reagan who bombed Libya leading to the retaliation of a bomb on PanAm 103?

Or perhaps the Reagan who let Oliver North sell weapons to Iran so he could finance the Contras in Nicaragua. And when that money ran out, North imported Crack into LA to continue the war in Central America.

Reagan said a lot of stuff. Who cares, he had lost his mind.
 
 
0 # dkonstruction 2012-10-03 09:13
while i'm certainly not going to say anything positive about reagan it was pretty amazing how close he came to agreeing to do away with all nukes (the story was that him and gorbie just got along and hit it off on a personal level and so one of them, i forget which, proposed getting rid of all nukes and they both agreed...as the story goes, reagan's 'advisors' were horrified and told him he at least had to keep 'star wars' which is what reagan told gorbie and that's what killed the deal...close, but no cigar.

amazing how far the repubs have moved to the right so that with reagan and then bush some looked back "fondly" on the days of richard nixon
 

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