Obama: No More Nukes

This post, written by Steve Benen, originally appeared on The Carpetbagger Report

Kevin Drum recently suggested Barack Obama is doing far too little to go beyond conventional policy prescriptions: "His big foreign policy speech was fine, but cautious and mainstream. His big healthcare speech was fine, but cautious and mainstream. And now his big tax speech is....just cautious and mainstream. I really want to hear something big and controversial from Obama, something that demonstrates a desire to shake up the status quo. But he just doesn't seem to be willing to take any chances."

In general, I find that hard to disagree with. Perhaps it doesn't matter that Obama's policies are conventional -- candidates don't necessarily need bold proposals to excel -- but given the expectations and Obama's goals of shaking up the status quo, some outside-the-box thinking would be helpful.

With that in mind, this seems like a step in the right direction.
Senator Barack Obama will propose on Tuesday setting a goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons in the world, saying the United States should greatly reduce its stockpiles to lower the threat of nuclear terrorism, aides say.
In a speech at DePaul University in Chicago, Mr. Obama will add his voice to a plan endorsed earlier this year by a bipartisan group of former government officials from the cold war era who say the United States must begin building a global consensus to reverse a reliance on nuclear weapons that have become "increasingly hazardous and decreasingly effective."
Mr. Obama, according to details provided by his campaign Monday, also will call for pursuing vigorous diplomatic efforts aimed at a global ban on the development, production and deployment of intermediate-range missiles.
In some ways, this isn't too unconventional, given that plenty of respected foreign policy leaders have already expressed similar sentiments, but I think it's fair to say that Obama will be the first presidential candidate in a long while to make such a public pronouncement. It is not, given the context, "cautious and mainstream."

The usual suspects are already offering the predictable attacks.

John Hawkins, for example, offered these words of wisdom.
It's almost like the Obama is a child's toy, who has been programmed with nothing but Hallmark Card greetings and random snippets from All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
You pull the string once and it's, "I love puppies and warm milk!" You pull it again and, "I want to be the candidate of change and hope!" Pull it for a 3rd time and it's, "Let's get rid of all the world's nuclear weapons because we can't hug each other with nuclear arms!"
Even in a party full of unserious people, Barack is notable for how unseriousness. [sic].
Hawkins may or may not realize it, but Obama's proposal is very much in line with the bipartisan approach taken earlier this year by George Shultz, secretary of state in the Reagan administration; Henry Kissinger, secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations; William Perry, secretary of defense in the Clinton administration; and Sam Nunn, a former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
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