Governor Bush, you should not allow yourself to be drawn into a
debate with Vice President Gore over which anti-ballistic missile system
we should, or should not, build. If their ballistic missiles do not
have nuke warheads atop them, they are no threat to us and so there is
nothing to debate.
You should insist that the debate be about loose nukes, themselves —
not about delivery systems. You should insistently demand to know
whether the United States is more at risk of a nuke attack, today, than
it was when Clinton-Gore came to power. The consensus — from all parts
of the political spectrum — is that we are.
Before Clinton-Gore began, there were five acknowledged nuke powers:
U.S., UK, France, Russia and the People’s Republic of China (Israel and
India were suspects).
Now, after eight years of highly publicized Clinton-Gore efforts to
— a) get everyone to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, b) get the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) extended indefinitely, c) get
Russia to agree to stop making weapons-grade plutonium, d) safely and
security dispose of tons of existing Russian weapons-grade plutonium, e)
get the North Koreans to accept a multibillion dollar bribe to not
develop nukes and last, but not least, f) get the Indians and the
Pakistanis to sign on to the CTBT and NPT — after eight years of all
that Clinton-Gore activity, how many states and terrorist organizations
now have nukes?
The answer is “no one knows” (except perhaps the Clinton
administration, which appears to be running scared), but the list of
suspects just grows and grows.
How could the threat be worse, as a consequence of Clinton-Gore
efforts, than it was when they began? It’s because Clinton-Gore has
concentrated on getting agreements on paper, rather than actually doing
what they have agreed to do.
In particular, Clinton-Gore did not aggressively pursue the
congressional mandate to assist Russia safely and securely dispose of
the real threat — the hundreds of tons of Russian excess
weapons-grade uranium and plutonium. Clinton-Gore signed agreement
after agreement promising to assist the Russians and then never did
anything. The Russians fully intend to burn-up their excess
weapons-grade materials in power reactors. The Clinton administration
doesn’t want them to do that, so more than seven years later every ton
of it remains unsafe and unsecure.
Helping the Russians dispose of the biggest threat, their highly
enriched weapons-grade uranium, or HEU, ought to have been a slam-dunk
but, on June 22, 2000, President Clinton made this declaration:
I hereby report (to Congress) that I have exercised my
authority to declare a national emergency to deal with the threat posed
to the United States by the risk of nuclear proliferation created by the
accumulation in the Russian Federation of a large volume of
weapons-usable fissile material.
The weapons-usable fissile material the president is referring to are
the 500 tons of HEU — enough to make about 20,000 terrorist nukes —
that the Russians had agreed in 1993 to sell to the United States to be
turned into reactor fuel. Clinton-Gore had turned over — without
informing Congress — the responsibility for honoring this U.S.
commitment to buy the Russian HEU to the newly privatized Uranium
Enrichment Corporation, which then essentially reneged on the deal,
causing the Russians to suspend not only the HEU program, but other
“loose nuke” programs as well, thereby triggering the national emergency
declared by President Clinton.
Vice President Gore is particularly vulnerable on the Russian
loose-nuke fiasco because all the loose-nuke problems were relegated at
the beginning of the Clinton administration to low-priority agenda items
of the so-called Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, created by Presidents
Clinton and Yeltsin at the Vancouver Summit in April 1993.
The mission of the commission was essentially to convert a communist
state into a capitalist state. However, the commission and its mission
was never formally recognized by Congress; there never was an official
“budget request” for the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission. But all
U.S.-Russian programs have been handled during the administration by the
commission and its several committees. Hence, Congress has been
effectively prevented from exercising oversight over all Russian
programs throughout the Clinton administration.
Absent congressional oversight, Al Gore, Hazel O’Leary and Ron Brown
ran the commission like one huge fat-cat Clinton-Gore trade mission to
Russia. Most public attention has been heretofore focused on the way
the administration “engaged” the PRC during the 1996 election cycle. But
the Clinton-Gore PRC engagement mistakes were minor in comparison to the
monumental failures of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission.
Now that Yeltsin and his Gore-O’Leary-Brown counterpart officials
(and the oligarchs) are out of power, it is beginning to appear that the
principal accomplishment of the commission was to cause a Russian
financial “meltdown,” perhaps ending the prospect for Russian
free-market capitalism, while the Russian oligarchs funneled hundreds of
billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars down numerous rat-holes and into
off-shore bank accounts.
As Chris Cox, Chairman of the House Policy Committee, has observed,
“Seldom has so much U.S. taxpayer money been spent so recklessly — and
produced such tragic consequences for so many millions.”
Bummer! How to take everyone’s mind off the failure of the
commission to — among other things — effectively deal with loose
nukes? Why, let’s suddenly discover an urgent need to build the ABM
system the Republicans have been demanding be built — but propose to
build it way the hell up in Alaska to counter the North Korean missile
threat — and then offer to debate it.
But didn’t Clinton-Gore give North Korea a multibillion-dollar bribe
about five years ago not to develop nukes? If the North Koreans don’t
have nukes atop those missiles, why do we care?
Never mind, the vice president wants you, governor, to debate him on
his terms. Don’t do it. Demand to know, instead, why the loose-nuke
threat now is worse than it was when they took office. We all know how
good Bill Clinton is at shucking and jiving; it’s high time we checked
out Al Gore.