gt;gt; Chapter One gt; I dont think anybody would accuse these four gentlemen of being dreamers.gt; President Barack Obamagt; World leaders, including the president of the United States, gt; were gathering in New York in 2009 for the annual gt; autumn meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. gt; Vehicles cleared to enter the area around the United Nations complex gt; were channeled into barricaded lanes to be searched before they gt; could move on. Security agents manning barriers at the corner of gt; Second Avenue and Forty-Fourth Street sealed off the sidewalks gt; around the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel, a half block away.gt; It was an eerily familiar scene for Henry Kissinger, George gt; Shultz, Bill Perry, and Sam Nunn as they entered the polished gt; lobby of the hotel. Each of them had helped shape American historygt; during some of the most tumultuous decades of the Cold gt; War. In their heyday, they lived in the white light of high intensity gt; diplomacy and politics, surrounded by aides and blanketed in gt; multiple levels of security. Each played a pivotal role in building, gt; maintaining, and managing Americas mammoth arsenal of nu-gt; clear weapons.gt; gt; Now they were back at center stage, animated by an improbablegt; causethe eradication of nuclear weapons. Though gt; grayer, and in some cases rounder, than during their years in gt; Washington, they were instantly recognizable to anyone familiar gt; with postwar American history.gt; There was Kissinger, age eighty-five, short, rumpled, enveloped gt; by the gravelly German accent that is his calling card, still turninggt; heads and cutting a power swath across the room. As Richard gt; Nixons national security adviser, secretary of state, and courtier, gt; the precociously brilliant Harvard professor had bedazzled Washingtongt; with high-wire diplomacy and won a Nobel Peace Prize gt; but lost his bearings in the jungles of Southeast Asia and the vengefulgt; paranoia of the Nixon White House. He had immigrated to the gt; United States from Germany at age fifteen and rocketed through gt; the academic world, propelled by a richly textured intellect, high gt; ambition, and a disarming, some would say solicitous, charm that gt; endeared him to powerful members of the eastern establishment gt; like Nelson and David Rockefeller. His partnership with Nixon gt; produced strategic breakthroughs like Nixons 1972 trip to China gt; and foreign policy debacles like the expansion of American militarygt; operations in Southeast Asia. After leaving Washington at the gt; end of the Ford administration, he built a profitable and influential gt; business as a consultant to American and foreign clients and cgt; circulated easily in the tony precincts of New York and Washington gt; society.gt; gt; He was joined at the hotel by Shultz, age eighty-eight, his posture still gt; as erect as that of the Marine he had been during the gt; bloody Pacific landings of World War II. Moving more slowly gt; than he once did, the former secretary of state still commanded gt; attention in an elegant suit, bow tie, and colorful handkerchief gt; tucked neatly in his breast pocket. The holder of four cabinet posts gt; under two presidents, he was a supremely confident, self-contained gt; economist and academician who as a newcomer to defense policy gt; helped Ronald Reagan redirect relations with the Soviet Union and gt; imagine a world without nuclear weapons. Shultz didnt need to gt; win his way into the world of Wall Street and the Ivy Leaguehe gt; grew up in it, the son of a well-respected New York expert on the gt; securities markets. Shultz was a prep school and Princeton graduategt; with a Ph. D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of gt; Technology; he seemed equally at home in the academy and in gt; Washington, a man who radiated probity, pragmatism, and gt; Republicanism. So much so that Richard Nixon, angered by Shultzsgt; refusal to sic the Internal Revenue Service on White House critics, gt; once called him a candy ass.gt; gt; Perry followed, age eighty-two, almost lost in the shadows, his gt; slight frame and quiet demeanor over matched by the star power gt; of Kissinger and Shultz. A high-tech wizard and mastermind of gt; inventive Cold War weapons systems, including stealth aircraft, gt; he had played a pivotal role as Bill Clintons defense secretary in gt; dismantling the nuclear arsenals of Ukraine and two other former gt; Soviet republics after the disintegration of the Soviet empire. Born gt; into a blue collar family in western Pennsylvania, he had parlayed gt; a gift for technological ingenuity and management into a successfulgt; defense business and high powered Washington career. A man gt; of uncommon competence and modesty, he commanded the gt; respect of Democrats and Republicans alike. In 1996, Osama bin gt; Laden addressed a threatening poem to Perry, then secretary of gt; defense, shortly after calling for a jihad, or war, against American gt; troops stationed in Saudi Arabia.gt; gt; Last came Nunn, at age seventy-two the kid of the group, his gt; round face accented by large, owlish spectacles, looking as if he gt; had just stepped off the Senate floor. A courtly, canny, gregariousgt; Georgia lawyer, he had became a Senate baron in the 1980s, gt; a putative presidential candidate and an oft-mentioned but never gt; appointed prospect for defense secretary or secretary of state. gt; Born in rural Georgia, he had followed the path of Representativegt; Carl Vinson, his great-uncle and political mentor, to become gt; an expert on military affairs and chairman of the Senate Armed gt; Services Committee. Thoughtful, hardworking, and inherently gt; conservative, he had played a vital role in just about every defense gt; issue for twenty-five years, until his retirement from the Senate in gt; 1997. After a brief hiatus, he became co-chairman of the Nuclear gt; Threat Initiative (NTI), a well-funded, nonprofit organization gt; dedicated to reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction. gt; NTI, over time, became the secretariat for the nuclear disarmament.gt; campaign launched by Nunn, Shultz, Kissinger, and Perry.gt; gt; They formed an unlikely quartet. Two Republicans, two Democrats,gt; four men who had made their way to Washington from gt; very different hometowns and backgrounds but shared a yen for gt; power and public service and a common interest in keeping America'sgt; defenses strong. Their paths had intersected often over more gt; than five decades, sometimes in collaboration, sometimes in conflict.gt; As presidencies passed, the direct and indirect links between gt; the men grew as they, in effect, handed critical levers of American gt; foreign and defense policy back and forth across administrations.gt; Each in his way had played a starring role in the Cold War. gt; All held power at a time when American security was based on gt; an overpowering array of nuclear weapons designed to keep the gt; Soviet Union at bay and guarantee that any attack on the United gt; States or its allies would be met with a devastating response.gt; But with the end of the Cold War, the appearance of failed gt; states, the rise of terrorism, and the spread of nuclear know-how gt; and materials, Kissinger, Shultz, Perry, and Nunn grew wary of gt; the nuclear gospel. They stunned the world on January 4, 2007, gt; by calling for the elimination of nuclear arms, in a brilliantly gt; subversive op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal. The language was gt; cautious and precise, the product of days of drafting and painstakinglygt; negotiated revisions, but the message was unmistakable: four gt; eminent Cold Warriors, setting aside ideological and political gt; differences, favored a radical break with postwar defense strategy. Itgt; was roughly equivalent to John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, gt; J. P. Morgan, and Jay Gould calling for the demise of capitalism, or gt; Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Peyton Manning, and Tom gt; Brady saying the time had come to rid football of the forward pass.gt; Their reasoning was sound and, by the stolid standards of gt; defense patois, direct about the rising threat of nuclear terrorism.gt; Nuclear weapons today present tremendous dangers, but also gt; an historic opportunity. U.S. leadership will be required to take gt; the world to the next stageto a solid consensus for reversing gt; reliance on nuclear weapons globally as a vital contribution to gt; preventing their proliferation into potentially dangerous hands, and gt; ultimately ending them as a threat to the world.gt; The men warned that with North Korea already armed with gt; nuclear weapons and Iran not far behind, the world is now on gt; the precipice of a new and dangerous nuclear era. They cautioned gt; that terrorists with nuclear weapons, operating outside the bounds gt; of traditional defense theory, would not be deterred from using gt; them by fear of nuclear retaliation.gt; The article called for specific steps to decrease nuclear dangersgt; in the near term, including reductions in nuclear arms, eliminatinggt; short-range nuclear weapons like nuclear-tipped artillery gt; shells, securing stocks of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium gt; and plutonium, and ending the production of fissile materials for gt; weapons.gt; gt; As the four men greeted diplomats from more than a dozen gt; countries in the Landmark View Conference Room on the gt; twenty-ninth floor of the Millennium Hotel, they were pressing gt; ahead with their quest to rid the world of nuclear weapons.gt; The idea itself is not new. Almost from the moment the first gt; atom bomb was tested in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945, gt; scientists, statesmen, theologians, philosophers, and concerned gt; citizens have questioned the legitimacy of nuclear weapons as instrumentsgt; of war and politics. Albert Einstein, who alerted President gt; Franklin D. Roosevelt to the potential military uses of the atom gt; in 1939, pressed for nuclear disarmament after the destruction of gt; Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many of the Manhattan Project scientists gt; who built the first bombs banded together in 1945 to establish the gt; Federation of Atomic Scientists in hopes of preventing a nuclear gt; arms race. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who directed the gt; scientific work of the Manhattan Project, opposed development of gt; the hydrogen bomb.gt; gt; The atmospheric testing of absurdly powerful hydrogen bombs gt; in the 1950s and early 60sthe largest a Soviet monster equivalentgt; to 50 million tons of TNT, more than three thousand times gt; greater than the Hiroshima bombspread radioactive fallout gt; around the planet, fueling public opposition to the weapons. gt; Anti-nuclear groups sprang up around the world. Hollywood abetted the gt; cause with pithy films like On the Beach and Dr. Strangelove or: How gt; I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The nuclear freeze gt; campaign, an effort to get the United States and Soviet Union not gt; to build any more weapons, inspired mass demonstrations in the gt; early 1980s, including a rally of some one million people in New gt; Yorks Central Park in 1982. The next year, the National Conferencegt; of Catholic Bishops issued a Pastoral Letter on War and Peace gt; intended, it said, to provide hope for people in our day and directiongt; toward a world freed of the nuclear threat.gt; gt; Starting with Harry Truman, every president has talked in gt; one way or another about ridding the world of nuclear weapons. gt; The first major effort to control the weapons came on Trumansgt; watch in early 1946 when Dean Acheson, undersecretary of state,gt; and David Lilienthal, chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority,gt; produced a report recommending that nuclear weapons be put gt; under international control. The plan died aborning in the United gt; Nations. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was so concerned about gt; nuclear war that he wrote in his diary toward the end of 1953, Asgt; of now the world is racing toward catastrophe.gt; In an eloquent address to the United Nations General Assembly gt; in 1961, President John F. Kennedy said, Today, every inhabitant gt; of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no gt; longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a gt; nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, gt; capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation gt; or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they gt; abolish us.gt; Lyndon Johnson signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty gt; (NPT) in 1968. It is an enlightened accord that, among other gt; things, committed the United States and other nuclear weapons gt; states to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures gt; relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and gt; to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete gt; disarmament under strict and effective international control. Ingt; return, nations that had not already developed nuclear weapons gt; agreed not to do so. After signing the agreement, Johnson said, gt; This is a very reassuring and hopeful moment in the relations gt; among nations. He described the treaty as the most important gt; international agreement since the beginning of the nuclear age.gt; In his 1977 inaugural address, Jimmy Carter called for the gt; elimination of all nuclear weapons from this Earth. Ronald gt; Reagan prized the idea and momentarily put it on the negotiating gt; table with Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader.gt; The NPT treaty remains in effect today, but progress toward gt; disarmament has been fitful. In 1963, John Kennedy predicted that gt; by the 1970s, 15 or 20 or 25 nations would own nuclear weapons.gt; He said, I regard that as the greatest possible danger and gt; hazard. He was wrong about the number, thanks in part to the gt; treaty. Over the decades, a number of nations that started down gt; the path to developing nuclear weapons gave up their programs or gt; plans to start one, including South Africa, Libya, Brazil, Sweden, gt; Norway, and South Korea.gt; gt; But as this book went to press, there were still more than gt; 22,000 nuclear warheads in nuclear arsenals around the world, gt; better than 90 percent of them American or Russian. And the roll gt; call of nuclear weapons states has grown since 1968. In addition to gt; the United States, Russia, Britain, France, and China, all of which gt; are party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the roster now includes gt; Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea, none a signatory to the gt; treaty. Iran appears to be next in line to join the club. gt; gt; gt; gt;(Continues...)gt; gt; gt; gt;gt; gt;gt;gt; Excerpted from gt;The Partnershipgt; by gt;Philip Taubmangt; Copyright © 2012 by Philip Taubman. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved. 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