I have been hard on Senator Richard Lugar this week. To some extent, he didn’t really deserve the ignominy of losing the primary. He has been a good Senator. His career is a perfect example of why no one should spend too much time in Washington.
He has been responsible for one accomplishment, which may well have saved many lives. In 1992, the year after the Soviet Union collapsed, it occurred to Senators Lugar and Sam Nunn that in the chaos that followed the fall of the Communist government, no one was watching over the Russian nuclear arsenal. There were nuclear missiles, chemical weapons, and radioactive material effectively unguarded and waiting to fall into the hands of terrorists. So, the two Senators sponsored the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which was designed to aid Russia in decommissioning unneeded weapons of mass destruction and secure Russian bases and stockpiles. If it were not for this legislation the two Senators sponsored, it is quite possible that al-Qaeda might have been able to obtain a weapon of mass destruction, either by stealing it, or bribing unpaid security guards. The attack on 9/11 might well have involved a nuclear or chemical weapon with a death toll in the millions.
For this work, I think that Senators Nunn and Lugar should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Unlike most other recent recipients, they really have worked to promote peace. They won’t get it though. Nowadays the only people considered for the Peace Prize are people who hate America.
- The Legacy of Richard Lugar (nationalinterest.org)