Sept. 21, 2019
To the Editor:
The Democratic debates have virtually ignored numerous national security issues, particularly the bloated defense budget; the overzealous tempo of military deployments; the overabundant overseas bases; the unnecessary modernization of our nuclear weapons; and the troublesome decline of arms control and disarmament. The United States has become the dominant arms merchant in the international arena and has downplayed the important instrument of diplomacy.
A manifesto signed by Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein and others warned years ago: “We have to learn to ask ourselves, not what steps can be taken to give military victory to whatever group we prefer, for there no longer are such steps; the question we have to ask ourselves is: what steps can be taken to prevent a military contest that will be disastrous to all parties?”
The Democratic debates would be a good place to start this conversation.
Melvin A. Goodman
The writer is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and former C.I.A. intelligence analyst.
Recent News and Latest Book
A Costly and Prolonged Cold War Now Seems a Certainty
No one knows how the war in Ukraine will end, but there is one post-war certainty: there will be a prolonged and costly Cold War between the United States and Russia. In an interview with David Ignatius of the Washington Post, who has been doing the bidding of the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency for several decades, Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the importance of a “long-term goal of deterrence.” Ignatius took this to mean that the Biden administration will make sure that Russia “should not be able to rest, regroup and reattack.”
Commentary: This former CIA analyst has something to say about the classified documents crisis — and it’s likely not what you think
The former involved Trump’s intentionally keeping large amounts of classified material at Mar-a-Lago; the latter led to small amounts of intelligence at Biden’s former office and his home, as well as in Pence’s home. Since I held high-level security clearances for more than four decades while in the Army, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of State and Department of Defense, I have something to offer on the issue of secrets and secrecy.