Of course as the midterm elections are nearly upon us, there is a rising cacophony of issues bubbling up, especially as Donald Trump attempts to excite his extremist base with base fears, while trying to distract most voters from threats by GOPs in Congress to cut the social safety net. But some of the the new issues bubbling up are really more important than others.
So we are now going to have a spectacle every day from now to the election of having top stories on nearly all media focusing on this caravan of Hondurans approaching the US. Trump declares this to be a national security crisis, which his fervent followers clearly hysterically accept. But even if this entire group were allowed into the US, it would be no big deal, probably good for our economy and society.
OTOH, we have the news over the weekend that Trump is planning to withdraw the US from the INF nuclear treaty, signed in 1987 by Reagan and Gorbachev. The still living Gorby has declared that doing so is “stupid.” That is putting it mildly. This appears to be the brainchild of super-hawk John Bolton, now in Moscow, where he is also soft soaping Russian meddling in US elections. But talk is that if INF goes, so will New START, leaving almost no nuclear arms treaties in place between Russia and the US. Yes, Russia has been reportedly violating the INF treaty in some cases, but is just throwing out an arms control apparatus that took so long to negotiate the way to go? Bolton clearly thinks so, but he has also talked about how maybe we should use nuclear weapons, echoing loose similar talk coming out of some Russians earlier. There is also talk of a renewed arms race, which our military-industrial complex would love.
Really, this seems to be coming basically out of nowhere. Are we to return to a Cold War and arms race and fearing a nuclear war? It took decades for Thomas Schelling to convince world leaders with nuclear weapons to foreswear the first use of them. Now he is dead, and we are suddenly hearing all this loose talk and possible unraveling. Frankly, this is far more dangerous than this Honduran caravan, but it is back page news, and I fear most people are unaware of it, more worried about Central American immigrants than that the threat of nuclear destruction of the entire human species is suddenly increasing. We must not be so easily distracted.