Magazine October 17, 2011, Issue

Second to One

President Barack Obama comments on the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 26, 2010. (Jim Young/Reuters)
America’s dangerous loss of nuclear parity

Since the start of the atomic age, from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, the United States has sought to maintain, in the words of John F. Kennedy, a nuclear-weapons capability “second to none.” Each of these eleven successive administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, described its commitment to that principle differently, some insisting on superiority and others on parity or essential equivalence. But all — including those that took large and unilateral steps to reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal following the Cold War — believed that it was vital for the United States not to concede nuclear preeminence to any

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Obama is ready to take on the Republicans — or at least a handful of boors in the audience at Republican debates.

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