David Cortright is director of the Global Policy Initiative at Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. His books include Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and Ending Obama’s War: Responsible Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan (Paradigm Publishers, 2011).
Posts By This Author
Bin Laden's Gone -- Now Let's End the War
Finding the Way Out: Why It's Time to End the War in Afghanistan
Finding the Way Out
Why it's time to end the war in Afghanistan, and how to do it.
Iran's Nuclear Deal: A Success for Sanctions Diplomacy
How to Rid the World of Nuclear Weapons
As the nations of the world review the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in May at the United Nations, they gather at a time of unprecedented hope for genuine progress toward disarmament. The new receptivity to nuclear abolition is reflected in the “New START” treaty between the United States and Russia, and was sparked by private initiatives led by former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and other senior security experts and officials in many countries.
What Our New Nuclear Policy Really Means
'Winning' in Afghanistan
Sanctions Can Work in Burma
International solidarity and support for the Burmese democracy movement is growing, as evidenced in the imposition of new economic sanctions against the military regime. The European Union and the U.S. government have announced additional measures to isolate the dictators. The democracy movement has supported the imposition of these international sanctions as an effective means of pressuring the Burmese government, as
Back From The Brink?
Official rhetoric has helped fuel an escalation of tension between the United States and Iran. Do recent negotiations mark a change in direction, or just a temporary detour from the highway to military attack?
Time to Leave
'War on Terror' or Real Security?
A just and viable alternative to the Bush doctrine.
Weapons of Mass Deception
The failure to discover weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has exposed the lie at the heart of the Bush administration's case for war.
Why Not Attack Iraq?
Bush administration officials are making plans for a major air war and ground invasion of Iraq that could come as early as this fall but more likely will occur in early 2003. The advocates of attacking Iraq say that the military overthrow of Saddam Hussein is part of the campaign against terrorism and is needed to prevent Iraq's development of weapons of mass destruction.
There are viable alternatives to war. The most effective means of addressing the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction is to resume U.N. weapons inspections. Previous U.N. disarmament efforts were successful in eliminating Iraq's nuclear weapons program and destroying most of its long- range ballistic missiles and chemical weapons. Because of these efforts, according to a 1999 U.N. report, "the bulk of Iraq's proscribed weapons programmes has been eliminated."
To assure the return of inspectors and the completion of the U.N. disarmament mandate, the United States must drop the goal of armed regime change. Washington must also abide by the terms of Security Council resolutions, which promise the lifting of sanctions in exchange for Iraqi compliance with weapons dismantlement. The disarmament of Iraq must then lead to a Middle East "zone free from weapons of mass destruction," as specified in the original Gulf war cease-fire resolution.
A Stark Vision of the World
The bin Laden organization and other terrorist networks are obviously fired by an intense hatred of the United States.
Dr. Strangelove, I Presume?
National missile defense is only the latest version of "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb." Our best protection from nuclear war? A global ban on nuclear weapons.
Seeking an Iraqi Endgame
A Rush to Failure
Like the Titanic speeding toward that fateful iceberg, the United States is heading toward disaster. The impending decision to deploy national missile defenses could significantly increase nuclear dangers, undermining the foundations of arms control and provoking military countermeasures from Russia and China.
Building a defense against ballistic missiles has been a chimera of Republican orthodoxy since Ronald Reagan proposed a Star Wars shield during the 1980s to render nuclear weapons "impotent and obsolete." The current missile defense plan has a more limited design: to parry missiles from so-called rogue nations. The goal is no longer to fend off thousands of Russian warheads but to counter limited attack from North Korea, Iran, or other imagined foes. The Clinton administration has endorsed the Republican plan and has vowed to make a deployment decision this summer.
Despite the expenditure of more than $60 billion over the past 15 years (spending in 2000 will total $4 billion), the missile defense establishment has yet to produce a single piece of hardware with a proven ability to knock out long range missiles. All the tests for the system have been either complete failures or partial successes that were performed under highly controlled conditions unlikely to exist in the event of an actual missile attack. Even the Pentagon’s own review panel, headed by retired Air Force Gen. Lawrence Welch, has admitted that the technology for national missile defense does not yet exist and termed the drive for rapid development a "rush to failure."
Flawed tests are no obstacle to missile defense zealots in Congress, however. When the latest interceptor missed its target over the Pacific in January 2000, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott blithely brushed aside the failure and ruled out any delay.