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Let's Drop the Big One

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Rather than move forward, Republicans wants America to return to the fifties.  They've resurrected Cold War themes: plutocracy, patriarchy, and militarism.  Plutocracy: Today's GOP wants America to be run by the 1 percent.  Patriarchy: Republicans regard American women as second-class citizens, who should have no access to birth control.   Militarism: GOP presidential candidates want a gargantuan military and believe the United States should prepare to "drop the big one" on Iran.

In his sardonic 1972 classic "Political Science," musician and composer Randy Newman predicted the current bellicose Republican mentality:

No one likes us-I don't know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one and see what happens.

We give them money-but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us-so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them.

 

Republican presidential candidates' extreme comments about economics -- let's give the rich more tax breaks -- and culture -- women shouldn't have access to contraception or health services -- have dominated headlines, but lurking in the shadows is a hawkish Cold War mentality.  Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum want to beef up the military, take a much more aggressive stance in foreign policy, and put nuclear weapons back on the table.

For the past three plus years, President Obama has been working to reduce the number of nuclear weapons.  Obama has searched for ways to minimize conventional nuclear weapons in the arsenals of the United States and Russia, and other nuclear powers, and the "loose nukes" created by the dissolution of the USSR.  (On February 29th, North Korea announced they were prepared to roll back their nuclear weapons program in exchange for food.  This was another positive product of Obama's efforts to diminish the nuclear threat.)

Newt Gingrich opposes these efforts and has historically opposed programs to reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons.  In December of 2010 he argued that the extension of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, START, should not be signed.  A few days ago, Gingrich argued that the US needs a robust nuclear arsenal in order to stand up to a madman in Iran.

Mitt Romney is cut from the same cloth.  He also opposed the extension of START.  Romney wants to expand the US Navy and deploy additional nuclear missiles on submarines.  His presidential campaign "White Paper" on Foreign Policy says "declarations of utopian aspirations (e.g., the abolition of nuclear weapons)" undermined America's position in the world."

And then there's Rick Santorum.  In every presidential election there's one Republican who stakes out the "warrior" ground -- who delights in taking the most macho position imaginable.  In 2007, that was John McCain, who sang "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."  This year, the extreme warrior title goes to Santorum.  On February 9th Santorum accused President Obama of helping Iran obtain nuclear weapons:

" We're throwing Israel under the bus because we know we're going to be dependent upon OPEC.  We're going to say, 'Oh, Iran, we don't want you to get a nuclear weapon -- wink, wink, nod, nod -- go ahead, just give us your oil.' Folks, the president of the United States is selling the economic security of the United States down the river right now."

 

(Among the Republican presidential contenders, the most rational stance is that of Ron Paul.  Congressman Paul is the favorite of the Libertarian wing of the GOP and commands about 12 percent of the Republican faithful.  Ron Paul wants to reduce the overall military budget: " It doesn't make any sense unless you consider increasing the profits of the military-industrial complex to be in the "national interest", no matter what the cost to the rest of us may be.")

But, at this moment, the Republican presidential nominee will likely be Gingrich, Romney, or Santorum.  They all "heart" nukes and are itching to start a war with Iran.  Perhaps one of them will use Randy Newman's classic song as their campaign theme.

Boom goes London and boom Paris
More room for you and more room for me
And every city the whole world round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it will be
We'll set everybody free
You'll wear a Japanese kimono babe
And there'll be Italian shoes for me.
They all hate us anyhow

So let's drop the big one now
Let's drop the big one now.

 

Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.

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