Obama may tonight announce a reductio...

Obama may tonight announce a reduction of nuclear warheads to 1,000

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum

Full Truth

Saint Paul, MN

#1 Feb 12, 2013
Obama may tonight announce a reduction of nuclear warheads to 1,000, but the goal is still zero

It's been reported that President Barack Obama will announce further reductions in the U.S. nuclear arsenal in his State of the Union address tonight. It's unlikely that North Korea's claim that it has successfully carried out another nuclear test will affect the president's announcement.

The plan is to extend reductions mandated in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty —the bilateral U.S.-Russia pact that came into force two years ago last week. New START sets the number of operational warheads on planes, missiles and ships of each nation at 1,550 by 2018. Obama is expected to announce a proposed reduction to around 1,000. Enough, still, if a full-bore nuclear exchange occurred, to blow us all to kingdom come or kill us in the fallout-saturated aftermath. But the ultimate goal is to reach zero by 2030, not just eliminating the operational warheads but all 19,000 of them, including those stockpiled in reserve.

Despite the reality of our era, the practical fact that nuclear weapons are simply not needed as a crucial element of U.S. foreign policy with Russia and China, getting the Senate to agree to such cuts is unlikely in its current configuration. But the administration is said to be examining the possibilities of coming to an agreement with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin to make mutual cuts under New START, something that would not require Senate ratification. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon is said to be headed to Moscow in March to start laying the groundwork for face-to-face meetings over nukes and other security issues between the two presidents next summer.

A half century ago, the United States, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United Kingdom signed and ratified the Limited Test Ban Treaty, pledging to stop exploding nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, outer space and underwater. Even though it would be another three years, until 1966, before the world reached the peak of stockpiled nuclear warheads, the treaty was a tenuous first step in ratcheting down nuclear tensions of the Cold War. But for decades afterward, Cold War bellicosity and false alarms put us perilously close to frying the planet.

At least part of the reason we didn't can be ascribed to luck, part to the dissolution of the Soviet Union two decades ago and part to a series of nuclear arms reductions treaties that emerged after the test-ban treaty in 1963. Such treaties have been signed by Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Not all these treaties were ratified. In 1999, the Senate rejected the follow-up to the 1963 pact, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that would have barred underground nuclear weapons tests.

But other treaties have led to vast reductions in the nuclear arsenals of the two adversaries ready and able to annihilate billions of people. Some 40,000 nuclear warheads have been dismantled since 1989.

Getting the ball rolling on ridding the world of the rest of them is a task President Obama set for himself before he came to the presidency even though it was obvious to him from the outset that he would be just another in that string of presidents who have participated in the always difficult negotiations that mandate mutual nuclear cutbacks.

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