By John Erath
This is an unusual entry for this blog. Most of our recent content has been on such themes as the dangers of missile proliferation, the consequences of Russian aggression in Ukraine, or North Korea’s bellicose rhetoric. For this entry, however, we will be setting aside, at least for now, our musing on the serious threats we face to focus instead on some encouraging news.
Several weeks ago, we posted an announcement for a Research Analyst position at the Center, thinking we would find perhaps a dozen or two interested candidates. We were astonished by the response. To date, more than 150 people have applied, virtually all of them well qualified. We have been impressed by the education, experience and expertise present in the applicant pool. The only downside is that we have but one job available. There is just not time available to meet more than a few of the most qualified. In other words, this is a good problem to have.
In recent years, the conventional wisdom has been that interest in arms control is waning, with the public more interested in such topics as divisive politics, climate change, inflation and COVID. These are important issues to be sure, yet each is connected in some way to what we do at the Center. Political divisions, for example, have undermined traditional bipartisan support for good arms control measures and made ratification of any new treaties unlikely. Climate change threatens to provoke conflicts in unstable areas where the danger of nuclear proliferation is high. In an increasingly interconnected world, we no longer can consider how to address nuclear dangers without regard for the broader security picture.
Our candidates get this. Many of their applications detail how they became interested in arms control following research into terrorism or climate issues. Most of them are of an age that is too often stereotyped as not caring about international security or nuclear issues – clearly an inaccurate characterization. It is clear that in the future, there will continue to be good people involved in arms control and nuclear issues having the right kind of debates about what policies will most improve global security.
Although it is unfortunate that we will not be able to hire them all, at least not in the short term, we are considering how to capitalize on the enthusiasm that is out there and provide some means for new ideas and new voices to be heard.
Watch this space in the upcoming days for details.