Friday, November 12, 2010

Touchy, Feely

Roger Cohen is usually one of the better columnists at the New York Times. His columns on Iran, for example, shine for their first-hand experience and thoughtful analysis.

But, as so often happens when a writer steps away from his expertise, Cohen stumbles badly today. I would suggest that he's the one being touchy-feely, more so than Global Zero.

Eschew nuclear weapons, President Obama, and the world (and Republicans) will think you weak! Cohen allows as to how Obama didn't really do that, but, well, it could sound that way if you selectively quote.

So it's a confused piece. One of my Facebook friends suggested that Global Zero hasn't exactly been getting its message out to the masses. That's part of the problem. Cohen, of course, should have looked more closely into the facts for any of his columns. But Global Zero could have been lobbying for its goal. Instead, they have chosen to work on convincing heads of state and foreign ministers. I've been told that by other nonproliferation NGO leaders.

A while back, Global Zero asked bloggers to link to them. I did, and sent them an e-mail. I got a polite e-mail back: Thank you very much. Period. No list at the site of blogs who support Global Zero. An NGO leader who backs the high-level only strategy was looking for young people to "get involved," clearly a call for low-paid (or unpaid?) helpers. I haven't seen his organization encouraging young people with recognition or even a particular focus. Too busy with those heads of state and foreign ministers, I guess.

Global Zero and other NGOs were ecstatic when President Obama made his speech in Prague, almost two years ago. I'll bet that a number of you reading this haven't even heard of Global Zero. We're coming up to Senate ratification of New START, a significant step toward Obama's goals. I haven't heard of MoveOn-style local potlucks in favor of ratification sponsored by Global Zero or any other of the nonproliferation NGOs. And it's possible that the "Just Say No" party will prevail.

So those proponents of lowering the numbers of nukes, of eventual abolition, haven't done anything to educate the public or even Roger Cohen, and that means they're not supporting the steps that President Obama is taking. But none of us are heads of state or foreign ministers.

Too bad.

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