I have returned from a four day weekend trip back to Amherst, MA, which Susie and I left almost exactly one year ago. When we arrived at our motel, I turned on the tv and stumbled on the live feed of Sarah Palin's resignation speech. For the next seventy two hours, when we weren't seeing friends or attending a splendid early music concert in Great Barrington, I was glued to the coverage, both on television and on the web. There are two questions that need answering: Why did she resign?, and Why did she choose to resign in such a hurried, incoherent, bizarre fashion? I don't know the answer to either question, of course, but the only speculation that makes any sense is that something really bad is about to surface that she had to get out in front of immediately. If three or four days pass and nothing surfaces, then we will all be left to meditate on one of the truly strange episodes of recent American politics.
HOWEVER: While we were yet again enjoying a full helping of schadenfreude, something genuinely important happened. Obama and Medvedev [which is to say Putin] agreed to reduce their holdings of nuclear weapons by twenty-five percent. If this agreement is carried out, it will be the most important thing Obama has done with his presidency thus far.
Nuclear arms reduction has been one of Obama's central concerns since he arrived in the Senate, of course, so it is not surprising that he should have pursued this issue in his 'summit' with Medvedev. But it is welcome news, nonetheless. I have been deeply concerned for fifty years about the dangers of accidental nuclear war, and more recently about the promiscuous spread of nuclear weapons. Indeed, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was my introduction to politics. So, while we all enjoy the further disintegration of the Republican Party, let us pause to offer up a silent prayer of thanksgiving for this significant step toward the control of nuclear weapons.