President Obama and Russian President Medvedev signed a new Strategic Arms Reduction Talks treaty in April that would reduce both countries’ nuclear arsenals by about a third, but Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney thinks this is a bad idea.
Romney slammed the proposed treaty in a Washington Post editorial last week, describing it as “Obama’s worse foreign-policy mistake” and calling on the Senate not to ratify it.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow struck back against Romney’s pro-nuclear stance on Thursday, painting it as out-of-touch with current realities and noting, “Being against nuclear weapons isn’t just for hippies anymore.”
Maddow spoke with Lawrence Bender, producer of a new documentary, Countdown to Zero, which argues that political and military leaders worldwide are coming around to the view that a dramatic reduction in nuclear arsenals is necessary to counter the threat of nuclear terrorism.
Bender illustrated the point by recounting an anecdote from his movie about a closed Senate hearing, presided over by Joe Biden, that received the delivery of a complete nuclear weapon, lacking only the fissile material. “It’s a scary concept,” Bender chuckled. “They were doing Senate hearings and [Biden] was like, ‘Okay, I don’t believe it. Prove it.'”
Explaining that certain colleges assign their graduate students to create a nuclear bomb out of components they find on the Internet, Bender explained, “They built it — minus the fissile material, of course — and brought it into the Senate. And I think at that point, everyone goes, ‘Okay, this is a problem.'”
Bender is optimistic about the prospects for nuclear reduction and believes that if the US and Russia can dramatically reduce their arsenals, there will be increasing international pressure on countries like Iran and North Korea to do without nukes as well.
“I feel like this is an idea whose time has come,” he told Maddow enthusiastically. “This is not a liberal idea any more. … Post-Cold War, post-9/11, people started to change the way they think about nuclear weapons.”
This video is from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast July 15, 2010.