“Congressional hearings happen all the time. If you inadvertently stumble across a C-SPAN channel, you will find any number of relatively unexciting discussions of public policy minutiae. These necessary, but often dull, proceedings end up like trees falling in a forest. If no one is watching, did they even happen?
Every so often, however, a congressional hearing makes a bigger impact. Such was the case with the Nov. 14 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the authority to order the use of nuclear weapons. It was the first time in 41 years that Congress had discussed such matters, and it may have never happened if not for the alarming nature of the 298 days that preceded the hearing.
Since the end of the Cold War, congressional attention to nuclear weapons policy has waned. The bulk of the conversation about the most powerful weapons ever invented now occurs between an increasingly small group of members and staff, many of whom seem to have no interest in engaging the public. This problem is not restricted to the legislative branch. Inside the executive branch, the focus on weapons of mass destruction has dwindled as other pressing security threats have taken center stage.
For better or for worse, President Donald Trump’s views and behaviors have thrust nuclear weapons back into the public spotlight.” Read more