Senior Policy Director Alexandra Bell spoke with Responsible Statecraft about lessons a pandemic can teach the United States about defense spending.
Alexandra Bell, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said the coronavirus pandemic lays bare mismanaged national security priorities that assume a strong, well-equipped military is the key to security.
“The real problems we’ve faced over the last decade have been natural disaster related to climate change [and] economic upheaval. It’s been attacks on democracy and the rise of populism, it’s been pandemics. Nothing in the nuclear budget is helping any of those problems,” Bell said.
The pandemic, Bell hopes, will illustrate how capable, resilient responses require expert, non-partisan experts and threat assessments, and a government that hasn’t been winnowed down to a state of ineffectiveness.
She sees the need to reassess spending priorities, a more vigorous Congressional debate over nuclear weapons, and a renewed commitment to the hard, tedious work of reducing nuclear threats.
“I hope that people see a $750 billion defense budget did nothing to stop the spread of this deadly virus across the country,” Bell said.
What’s more, Bell argues that no country is prepared for the aftermath of a nuclear conflict. “The panic, the absolute political and economic chaos that would follow such an exchange — there’s no way to prepare for that.” The fact that it hasn’t happened in 75 years is largely a matter of luck. “The longer we go, the more likely is that our luck will run out,” Bell said. Read more