March 24th, 2012
08:26 AM ET

Letters to the President #1160: 'No nukes? Hmmm'

Reporter's Note: The president is on the road. I’m at home, still writing a letter a day to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

I certainly hope your visit to South Korea goes well this weekend! Heaven knows it has to be interesting, and you’d better enjoy it all you can. I suspect when you get home you’ll be looking at most of the rest of the year on the campaign trail here, and no offense to all those cafes and country fairs, but they might pale a bit compared to state dinners surrounded by foreign dignitaries. (Hmm. Actually, when I put it that way, the county fairs sound considerably more attractive.)

Anyway, I wish I could say that I am as enthused about your mission.

No, wait a minute. That’s not what I mean. I’m plenty enthused about the idea of containing nuclear weapons; I’m just not very optimistic about the prospects. Yes, that’s it.

Generally I am an optimist. I don’t count on the sky falling. When I pull out from my house, I don’t fear a car crash just around the corner. Hey, I’ve been a Saints fan for 30 years and I remain one despite their recent troubles, so…you get the point…I’m willing to look for and hope for the best even in difficult circumstances.

But when it comes to nuclear weapons, despite all the progress on nonproliferation treaties and the like, I can’t help but feel that we…as a planet…remain on a long march toward one day when every Tom, Dick and Harry will have a nuke. (Well, maybe not Dick…he’s never been too ambitious.) So it just seems futile to imagine that somehow all of our maneuvers will do anything but slow down the progress; never stop it.

Maybe that’s enough. Maybe if we can just make it hard for people to get a hold on these things, that will give our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren a better shot at avoiding that big bang we all fear. But our great, great grandchildren? I think eventually the idea of a fully armed nuclear world is not that terribly far off no matter what we do.

Still, good luck with your efforts. Prove me wrong if you can. That would, after all, be a good thing, wouldn’t it?