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
Bethesda, Md.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and former C.I.A. intelligence analyst.

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