Money well spent

For $500 million a year, the Nunn-Lugar programme has done great things for the cause of counter-proliferation. Particularly the kind of proliferation that most worries governments: stateless terrorists or networks getting their hands on apocalyptic weapons.

Pleasingly, this programme has identified, locked down or destroyed nuclear materials left over from the bygone Soviet Union:

The Nunn-Lugar program has dismantled 7,514 nuclear warheads, destroyed 768 intercontinental ballistic missiles and 32 nuclear submarines. It has eliminated more weapons than the arsenals of France, Britain and China combined.

This is smart and economical counter-proliferation. It destroys stockpiles, but without antagonising or radicalising other states, without creating refugee crises or civil war, and without emptying the treasury. Rather than expensive and dodgy missile shields, or stationing troops in 9 out of 10 countries, this isthe kind of active foreign policy that delivers for a vastly lower price. Its probably worth a few more dollars.

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