My dad used to say, about someone with inferior intelligence, that the person was "powerfully dumb."
That's certainly the case with George W.
Perhaps the most powerfully dumb thing Bush has done so far is to show his willingness to start a nuclear arms race.
First, he's insisted on charging ahead with missile defense. This is likely to make Russia put multiple warheads on its missiles, as Putin has already threatened. And it's likely to make China greatly increase its nuclear stockpile from its modest twenty of today to perhaps hundreds in the future.
That won't make us any safer now, will it?
The Bush Administration also wants to deep-six the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which is one of the primary tools for clamping down on the arms race. If a nation can't test a nuclear device, it's unlikely to use it, because it would have no assurance that it would work. And if the nation launched it during a conflict and it was a dud, the nation would expose itself to massive retaliation.
The treaty, unratified by Congress but ratified by 77 other nations, "does not help our nonproliferation goals," said a Bush official.
But why is that?
Surely, the Administration doesn't want other countries to be able to test with impunity, does it?
Maybe the Administration thinks it can counter any other nuclear nation with the mythic missile defense system.
Or maybe it just doesn't care.
What seems to be driving the Administration is its own narrow and reckless unilateralism. It wants to be able to test its own nuclear weapons, and it has asked the nuclear labs to examine how urgently testing is needed. You can bet they'll say it's very urgent.
And that'll suit the Bush Administration just fine, because it wants to build new nuclear weapons.
In the latest issue of The Progressive, Alistair Millar of the Fourth Freedom Forum shows how the Bush Administration is gung-ho on a so-called "bunker buster" nuclear weapon that would burrow deep into the ground, ostensibly to attack some rogue dictator like Saddam Hussein.
But Saddam Hussein would not be the only victim. Twenty thousand Iraqis would go down with him, Millar says, and the environment would turn radioactive.
Bush's reckless unilateralism reminds me just how dangerous it is to couple ignorance with power.