In today’s National Interest, I suggest the “rule of opposites,” in which only conservatives can really take on reforms in defense policy, and only liberals can really approach reforms in domestic policy.
The 2014 midterms are over…but when it comes to the future of America’s nuclear deterrent, will it matter? The answer is almost certainly “no.” And that’s unfortunate, because the Republican takeover of the Senate, ironically, means there might be room for significant progress on nuclear issues.
“There is an old Vulcan proverb,” Star Trek’s Spock told his captain when advising him to make peace with an adversary. “Only Nixon can go to China.” As it is in the interstellar Federation, so it is in American politics. This is the rule of opposites, in which only conservative politicians can tackle the reform of national defense (think of George H.W. Bush unilaterally slashing nuclear inventories in 1992), while liberal politicians have the edge in reforming domestic programs and entitlements (such as Bill Clinton’s efforts at welfare reform in 1994).
Where nuclear weapons are concerned, a Republican Congress and a Democratic president are likely to leave things right where they are: without a clear direction, without a strategy and without any budgetary logic.
I suggest three areas where the GOP and the White House can work together:
1. A test ban treaty.
2. A “no first use” policy.
3. Dumping the last of our tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.
For more, read the entire piece here.