Among the many heresies imputed to Chuck Hagel is the belief that we can greatly reduce our nuclear arsenal. The former Nebraska senator's views, however, are hardly radical -- in fact, they are downright boring. They represent the consensus of such a long list of security experts from both political parties that it is hard to list them and still keep this article interesting.
Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma and several other key GOP leaders base their opposition to Hagel's nomination as secretary of defense in large part on the supposedly extreme policies he advanced. Inhofe said that while Hagel's military service was commendable, he has been "an outspoken supporter of nuclear disarmament" and "seeks a world free of nuclear weapons."
In particular, Inhofe singled out Hagel's participation in recent study:
Hagel was a commissioner on a May 2012 Global Zero report on modernizing U.S. nuclear strategy, force structure and posture. Not only does that report not fully support the president's commitment to nuclear modernization but it also advocates the assumption of extreme risk to our national security, including possible unilateral nuclear disarmament. Given the premises and conclusions of the Global Zero report, how can we in Congress be confident that he will carry out the modernization efforts required to maintain the effectiveness of our nuclear deterrent?
In other words, we need more nuclear weapons, not fewer. Hagel will elaborate his views at his confirmation hearing (and likely show how they track very closely with the president he hopes to serve). But the basic premise -- that reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons is a wild, left-wing position -- is unquestionably false.