President Obama has been a voice for nuclear disarmament, and his administration has taken steps toward that goal—but the White House's latest move takes the US in the opposite direction, a New York Times editorial observes. Obama is undertaking major improvements to US nuclear weapons and facilities, spending "tens of billions" in the process; at the same time, he has cut spending requests aimed at securing nuclear equipment worldwide at a time when the planet reportedly holds 16,300 nuclear weapons. "This is a shortsighted and disappointing turn," the Times notes.
In order to garner GOP support for the nuke-reducing New Start treaty with Russia, Obama agreed to add some $14 billion to the $70 billion already devoted to nuclear improvements. The real cost of the improvements, however, could reach some $355 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Other studies put the real cost at $1 trillion over 30 years, in what the Government Accountability Office finds is a "badly managed" modernization effort. "Investing in nuclear security protects Americans more than unwise investment in new nuclear weapons," the Times editors write; it's time for Congress—and the public—to engage with the issue. Click for the full piece.