Saturday, July 31, 2004

A really bad idea

The Bush administration has just announced that the US no longer wants an inspection requirement to be part of a new treaty banning the production of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium. Is it just me, or is this a really bad idea? In 18 months, we've gone from citing non-cooperation with inspectors as a justification for war to abandoning inspections completely.

In the eighties, the Reagan administration fought for the principle of "Trust but verify," against people on the left who believed we could trust the Soviets without verification, and against people on the right who thought arms control was a waste of time and impossible to enforce. It disturbs me greatly to think that the people who opposed Reagan's foreign policy from the right are now winning policy battles in the Bush administration.

OTH, it is also possible that some other major countries told the US they would never sign the treaty if it included inspections, and the US has wisely decided to compromise as a sign of our multilateralism and humility. Which of these explanations do you think is more likely?