What would Reagan do? Republicans and the Iran nuclear deal.

As someone who worked under President Ronald Reagan as an assistant secretary of defense—and as someone who witnessed firsthand Reagan’s evolution on the efficacy of arms control efforts—watching the unremitting hostility of so many Republican officials toward the Iran nuclear agreement has been nothing short of a remarkable experience. If the accord is “one of the worst deals America ever made”—as Rudy Giuliani recently claimed—how are we to account for the fact that the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, recently remarked, “The deal has actually removed the most serious danger to Israel’s existence for the foreseeable future … and greatly reduced the threat over the longer term”?

The answer, of course, is that for many conservatives going back generations, arms control efforts are utter anathema—as President Reagan found out by the end of his presidency.

This article was originally published in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.