By now you know that Ellen Tauscher has been nominated to become undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. She may have been a conservative Democrat on domestic issues, but on arms control she has a pretty solid progressive record. I’m very late on this piece — it should have been up Wednesday evening, but that’s AIG-scheduling for you — but here’s my Washington Independent overview:

“She is universally respected as one of the best thinkers on strategic and nonproliferation policies in the Congress,” said Andrew Grotto, a proliferation expert at the Center for American Progress. Jessica Tuchman Mathews, the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that Tauscher’s appointment and the political climate that generated it indicate that the administration is “absolutely” prepared to cut the United States’ stockpile of nuclear weapons. “The shift in emphasis” away from the Bush administration’s disdain for negotiated arms-control agreements, she said, will be “enormous.”

As ranking Democrat and later chair of the strategic forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, Tauscher has pushed for a thorough review of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, creating a commission, chaired by two respected former secretaries of defense, that has advocated “dismantl[ing] the deadly nuclear legacy of the Cold War,” as one of its chairmen recently said. Tauscher told an international security conference in Munich last month that the United States needed to recommit itself to — and in some cases rewrite — international treaties and compacts to strengthen global nonproliferation regimes. “The debate is therefore not about how nuclear powers can position themselves in a world indefinitely held captive nuclear weapons, but how we here can lead the world in a realistic effort to eliminate them,” she said.

In other news, I have not paid my Verizon broadband-card bill in two months and while I looked at my bill this morning before I left for work I forgot to put it in my bag so I can’t pay it today and at 10 I have to use my laptop for a speech that the undersecretary of defense for policy is giving. On top of that my BlackBerry has begun reserving the right to decide when I can use it. There’s a collapse on the horizon, either for my gear or for me. [Update: the Flournoy speech is actually next Friday. I’m falling apart here.]

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

1 Comment