Harold Brown, an advocate of nuclear arms control who as President Jimmy Carter’s defense secretary tried but failed to win U.S. Senate approval of a key treaty with the Soviet Union, has died at age 91, the think tank where he worked said.
Brown, a native New Yorker, was the first scientist to take the helm of the large and complex U.S. military establishment. He was a physicist who received his bachelor’s degree at age 18 and his doctorate at 22. Brown spent his professional life initially developing nuclear weapons and then later striving to control them.
He died of pancreatic cancer at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, California, on Friday, according to the Santa Monica-based RAND Corporation, where Brown served on the board until his death.
“Harold Brown understood, perhaps better than any defense secretary before him, the technological complexities and unprecedented dangers of modern warfare,” RAND president and chief executive officer Michael D. Rich said. “He was also an educator and author who made tremendous contributions to the advancement of science and the security of the nation.”
Brown became Pentagon chief in 1977 and left in 1981, deeply disappointed that was unable to convince the Senate to back the nuclear arms limitation treaty reached with the Soviet Union in 1979 dubbed SALT II.
As defense secretary, he also was involved in planning the botched U.S. military mission to rescue American hostages held in Iran that ended with the deaths of eight U.S. service members in April 1980 and the diminishment of U.S. prestige.
“The world is a dangerous place. But it has always been a dangerous place,” Brown told The Washington Post in December 1980. “All we’re offered is a reasonable change to make things work. Because I’m temperamentally an optimist, I believe that’s good enough.”
At the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Brown played a key part in designing the Polaris missile warhead but arms control was fundamental to his national security thinking.
He worked in the Pentagon during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson and served during the Nixon administration as a member of an arms control delegation for talks with the Soviets.
In 1979 he strongly supported SALT II, signed by Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev after seven years of talks, and served as the Carter administration’s chief spokesman in trying to win Senate approval.
The treaty faced resistance not only from Republicans but from within Carter’s own Democratic Party.
As the Senate sharply debated it, Americans were taken hostage when militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in November 1979. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan the next month, and Carter withdrew the treaty from Senate consideration.
The treaty restricted the number of Soviet and American strategic weapons at a dangerous period of the Cold War. Before becoming president, Reagan rejected the SALT II treaty as lopsided in favor of the Soviets. But he and the Soviet Union observed its major limitations until 1986.
Reagan moved ahead with fresh arms control efforts.
Brown also decided not to produce the B-1 bomber, a move that prompted one Republican congressman to say, “They’re breaking out the vodka and caviar in Moscow.” But Brown backed the development of “stealth” technology.
After Reagan beat Carter in 1980, his Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger said his mission was “to rearm America.”
Brown served as president of one of the top universities in the United States, the California Institute of Technology, from 1969 to 1977. Before that, he served as secretary of the U.S. Air Force and director of defense research and engineering under Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.
Brown’s wife Colene died last year, the RAND Corporation said.
Internet goes wild over ‘obviously drunk’ Larry Kudlow on Fox News: ‘He’s lying while slurring his words’
Speculation was rampant on Sunday that White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow was drunk on Fox News.
"There is no economic recession in sight," Kudlow insisted to Fox News Sunday host Dana Perino.
Twitter, however, was buzzing about Kudlow's speech patterns instead of his questionable economic optimism.
"Pretty sure Larry Kudlow is drunk on my TV right now... And he is lying while slurring his words," one Twitter user noted.
"Kudlow is on fox news Sunday right now and from my 30 yrs of tending bar, I gotta say this guy appears drunk," another user observed.
Foreign diplomats preparing for the worst — another Trump win in 2020: ‘People don’t want to be stupid twice’
According to a report from Politico, foreign diplomats are not so sure Donald Trump will be beaten in the 2020 election and are making contingency plans for how they will deal with him should he be re-elected.
The report notes that the win by the New York businessman in 2016 caught foreign governments by surprise with former French ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud admitting, "In 2016, nobody believed he was going to be elected. People don’t want to be stupid twice.”
According to Politico, "There’s no known scientific survey on the topic — few foreign officials would participate in one given diplomatic norms that preclude them from commenting on another country's internal politics. But none who talked to POLITICO were willing to say that Trump will lose. Instead, they pointed to three key advantages for Trump: He’s the incumbent, the U.S. economy is strong and the Democrats have no definitive front-runner to challenge him."
Trump Twitter-rages at ‘evil propaganda machine’ New York Times
President Donald Trump kicked off his Sunday morning by going on a multi-tweet rant about the New York Times where he blamed them for his poor poll numbers and called them "an evil propaganda machine.'
Trump began with, "The Failing New York Times, in one of the most devastating portrayals of bad journalism in history, got caught by a leaker that they are shifting from their Phony Russian Collusion Narrative (the Mueller Report & his testimony were a total disaster), to a Racism Witch Hunt....., " before adding, "'Journalism' has reached a new low in the history of our Country. It is nothing more than an evil propaganda machine for the Democrat Party. The reporting is so false, biased and evil that it has now become a very sick joke...But the public is aware! #CROOKEDJOURNALISM."