Nation needs to deal with the threat of nuclear war

Nuclear war is a “real and growing danger,” former defense Secretary William Perry warned recently. There can be no reasonable argument about that.

What is open to question is what U.S. officials are doing to guard against a nuclear attack, either in a war or by a terrorist organization or nation.

As matters stand, it appears President Barack Obama’s policy on curbing nuclear proliferation can be summed up in two words: wishful thinking. Surely history has demonstrated the fallacy of that approach.

Nine countries – the United States, Russia, China, France, Great Britain, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea – possess a total of more than 15,000 nuclear warheads. The number for Russia includes some in the possession of former members of the Soviet Union, such as Ukraine and Belarus.

Even that lineup is worrisome. But add to it the countries likely to obtain nuclear weapons within the next few years, and the picture is a very grim one.

Perhaps most troubling is Iran. Yet Obama is in some ways facilitating Tehran’s arms buildup by relying on a useless agreement on which Iran will cheat.

So, again, the question is what concrete steps are being taken to limit nuclear proliferation and deal with it when it occurs. During this presidential election year, the threat deserves at least as much attention as – dare we suggest it? – climate change.