Analysis: Obama no-nukes pledge not so farfetched

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by pyromaniac, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. pyromaniac

    pyromaniac Founding Member

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    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's startling call Friday for a "world without nuclear weapons" brings to mind Ronald Reagan's idealistic, unfulfilled dream of eliminating the threat of nuclear annihilation.

    "Even with the Cold War now over, the spread of nuclear weapons or the theft of nuclear material could lead to the extermination of any city on the planet," Obama said in Strasbourg, France, in advance of laying out his ambitious goals in a speech in Prague on Sunday.

    Few experts think it's possible to completely eradicate nuclear weapons, and many say it wouldn't be a good idea even if it could be done. But a full-throated program to drastically cut the world atomic arsenal carries support from scientists and even such realpolitik lions of foreign policy and arms control as George Schultz and Henry Kissinger.

    "This idea of a nuclear weapons-free world isn't sort of pie in the sky," said Peter Crail, a nonproliferation analyst at the private Arms Control Association. "There is a national security rationale behind it, and there are people who are very steeped in these national security issues who are promoting it."

    Reagan spoke frequently of his dream of eliminating nuclear weapons. He advanced the idea at a 1986 summit with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and the two leaders agreed to pursue that goal. But before their meeting ended, the idea died when Gorbachev insisted on limits on Reagan's "Star Wars" program, known formally as the Strategic Defense Initiative, intended to develop a defense against nuclear attack.

    Reagan's proposal caught the Pentagon and Congress by surprise. U.S. allies in Europe were aghast to learn that Reagan and Gorbachev had come close to a deal to abolish nuclear weapons, which NATO regarded as vital to deter Soviet attack.

    Obama's version of "global zero," as the goal of a nuclear-free future is now called, will build on a promising agreement this week to renew arms control discussions with Russia. And, based on Obama's previous comments on arms control and those of his advisers, it is likely to follow several basic premises:

    • Nuclear weapons have become more trouble than they are worth, an expensive luxury for superpowers and a threat for the rest of the world.

    • The size of the U.S. and Russian arsenals inspires nuclear starter-states such as China to add to their stockpiles and give non-nuclear states a reason to join the club.

    • Getting serious about eliminating nuclear weapons makes the United States more credible when it argues that states such as Iran should not be able to build their own arsenals.

    During the presidential campaign, Obama talked repeatedly about securing all nuclear weapons material within four years. He promised to "make the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons worldwide a central element of U.S. nuclear policy" and said he would not authorize development of new nuclear weapons.

    He said he would not drop U.S. weapons unless other nations agreed to do the same, a tenet of old-school arms control, and promised to "maintain a nuclear deterrent that is strong, safe, secure and reliable."

    Obama has hired a coterie of advisers and aides with extensive arms control and nonproliferation pedigrees.

    An architect of his new war strategy in Afghanistan, Defense Undersecretary Michele Flournoy, joined the Obama administration from a Washington policy shop that houses a program to build a policy "base camp" on the way to the summit of weapons eradication.

    And Ashton B. Carter, Obama's nominee as the Pentagon's chief weapons acquisition official, is a Harvard professor who is a leading authority on arms control and an occasional critic of past defense policy.

    In addition to Obama's own growing circle of advisers, he also can draw upon support from several foreign policy eminences in his quest for a nuclear-free future.

    Former secretaries of state Kissinger and Schultz and two others, former Defense Secretary William Perry and former Sen. Sam Nunn, have jointly written opinion pieces outlining a goal of total eradication.

    "When Bill Perry and Henry Kissinger say that this is a good idea, he's got some cover," said John Nagl, now head of the Center for a New American Security co-founded by Flournoy.

    Nagl said he would like to see eventual stockpiles reduced to the few hundreds, rather than the thousands.

    "Global zero is hard to swallow," Nagl said, adding: "Moving toward global zero, getting a whole lot closer than we are right now, most serious students of this agree will increase our security."


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/obama_nuclear_future_analysis


    This is one thing we are never gonna see in our lifetime
     
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  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Obama I don't think Iran and N.korea care.
     
  4. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    This is will not happen even if sun sets in the east.
     
  5. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Politicians will spend a lot of time and money on this nonsense knowing full well it will never happen, so the public believes they are doing something when in reality they are doing nothing.
     
  6. pyromaniac

    pyromaniac Founding Member

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    Eliminating Nuclear Weapons: Giving the Obvious a Chance in 2009

    This year could be a turning point for nuclear disarmament. That sounds like the kind of thing that might be said by disarmament enthusiasts each January, but it could not have been credibly uttered by even the most congenital of optimists at the start of any of the last eight years – make that 16.

    George Bush the elder, presiding, as he did, over the end of the Cold War, had some genuine turning point opportunities and in fact managed to set in motion, along with Russia’s Michail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, a period of significant decline in US and Russian nuclear arsenals. The Presidency of Bill Clinton supported the momentum, but his failure to get the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty through the Senate and the rapid expansion of NATO were among factors leading to a souring of Russian-American disarmament efforts. Then George Bush the junior, while continuing reductions in nuclear arsenals, embarked on a series of policies and actions designed to re-entrench nuclear weapons in US security policy and to ensure that the United States would not be constrained by any serious or permanent international disarmament laws or obligations.

    But at the dawn of 2009 it is a whole new world of possibility.

    To begin with, some simple truths are getting harder and harder to avoid:

    · As long as some States insist on indefinitely retaining, and brandishing, nuclear weapons, others will insist on acquiring them as well.
    · The greater the number of States with nuclear weapons, the greater the likelihood that they will be used.[ii]
    · Nuclear knowledge, technology, materials, and weapons will inevitably be accessible to any state with a developing industrial base and advanced educational and scientific institutions – and that’s a long and growing list of potential proliferators. Thus, successful non-proliferation depends on creating a political/legal climate that sees nuclear weapons as sources of insecurity and vigorously eschews them.
    · It is impossible to rationally construct a scenario in which the world would be better off if nuclear weapons were used in combat, than if they were not used.

    Accordingly, indeed obviously, the consensus in favor of nuclear disarmament down to zero is reaching global proportions. A survey of 21 key states around the world found that 76 percent of people questioned favor a global agreement that “all countries with nuclear weapons would be required to eliminate them according to a timetable” while “all other countries would be required not to develop them.”[iii] Public support for the total elimination of nuclear weapons is higher than the global average in China, France, the UK, and the US, but lower than the average in Russia and India (but still 69 percent and 62 percent respectively). In Pakistan support is only at 46 percent, but even there more favor total nuclear disarmament than oppose it.

    Given that overall support, it is not simply a coincidence that as of January 20, 2009 the White House will be occupied by an American Commander in Chief genuinely committed to the pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons. Furthermore, he will have allies among the elites of the American and international security community, ranging from Henry Kissinger to Ban Ki-Moon.[iv]

    In December a group of 100-plus political, military, business, religious, and civic leaders met in Paris to mobilize efforts toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. A unique contribution of this group, which Canada’s Simons Foundation was instrumental in assembling, is to insist on a definite timeline, 25 years, in which to accomplish the goal. The group refers to its effort as “Global Zero” and includes an impressive list of major figures among its supporters: former US President Jimmy Carter; former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger; former Defence Secretary Frank Carlucci; former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev; Shaharyar Khan, a former Pakistani foreign minister; retired Air Chief Marshal Shashindra Pal Tyagi of India; and Malcolm Rifkind, a former British foreign secretary.[v]

    It’s also worth remembering that under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) all states (except India, Israel, and Pakisatan which have never signed it) are already committed to the elimination of their nuclear arsenals (but without a required timeline) and in the 2000 NPT Review Conference the nuclear weapon states made “an unequivocal undertaking…to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all States parties are committed under Article VI.”

    There are still plenty of skeptics out there, some of them in high places. But the concrete steps needed for progress toward fulfilling that promise are already known and broadly agreed.

    Analyst Gwynne Dyer has it about right: “It sounds like a pipe dream, but in fact the conditions have never been as promising as they are now. If Obama takes the lead, it could happen – and even in the depths of a recession, it wouldn’t cost anything.”[vi] The only thing to add is that this “pipe dream” is now the only realist option in the nonproliferation mission.

    Over the course of 2009 there will be many occasions to assess progress, or lack of it, on the specifics, and, of course, to hear further from both the skeptics and the enthusiasts.




    http://disarmingconflict.blogspot.com/2009/01/eliminating-nuclear-weapons-giving.html
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Obama why would Russia give up their nukes when NATO has and is continuing to encircle them?
     
  8. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Why not Obama sets example first ? Charity begins at home.
     
  9. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    They are just daydreaming.
     
  10. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Barak Obama's dream for a 'Nuclear Free World'

    This is from BBC on US President Barak Obama's dream for a 'Nuclear Free World'

    The link and the Analysis from BBC follows:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7984149.stm


    Many obstacles to Obama nuclear dream

    By Paul Reynolds
    World affairs correspondent BBC News website

    Barack Obama speaks in Strasbourg on 4 April 2009
    The US president wants to discuss ways to reduce nuclear weapons

    President Obama's hopes for a world free of nuclear weapons may just be a dream.

    Despite his rousing rhetoric in Prague that "we can do it", huge obstacles are in the way and even he gave himself two escape clauses.

    The first was that he did not necessarily expect this to happen in his lifetime. He is 47 years old, so, given that the life expectancy in the US is about 78, that means another thirty years or more in which the goal might not be realised.

    And nobody knows what might happen in that time.


    Sceptics might also argue that President Obama is trying to head off criticism of the US in advance of the five-yearly review conference of the NPT which comes next year

    The second, and more important get-out, was his statement that so long as these weapons exist, the US will maintain a "safe, secure and effective" arsenal.

    So if just one country maintains nuclear weapons, so will the US. Otherwise that country could dominate the world. And if the US does, so will Russia and China. And the French will not want to rely on the Americans so they will keep them and the British will not want the French to be the only ones in Europe with them, so the British will keep them too.

    And those are just the ones whose weapons are allowed under the Non Proliferation Treaty. Those countries outside the treaty - India, Israel and Pakistan - will take a lot of persuading that they should give up what they regard as their weapons of last resort.

    And North Korea is also going to be hard to get on board. The Security Council has not even deterred it from launching a rocket today.

    Click here to see a diagram of nuclear warheads around the world

    Sceptics might also argue that President Obama is trying to head off criticism of the US in advance of the five-yearly review conference of the NPT which comes next year.

    There have been many calls for the nuclear-weapons states to fulfil their obligations under Article Vi of the treaty. Anti-nuclear activists say this commits these states to eventual nuclear disarmament, though the states themselves say it commits them only to meaningful negotiations in the first instance and to disarmament only under a general, worldwide agreement.

    This is the article: "Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."

    Significance

    Nevertheless, the president's speech is significant for the ways in which he seeks to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons. He wants to change the current attitude of despair, the sense that nothing can be done.

    Trident missile launch
    Britain recently announced the start of a new nuclear weapons programme

    It will also make it easier for the US to argue for measures against states expanding or potentialy seeking nuclear weapons.

    Even before he came to Europe, he had stopped funding for America's own nuclear weapons development, the so-called "reliable, replacement warhead." This was designed to replace current warheads which have been around for so long that scientists are getting nervous about their reliability.

    He has now pledged that he will try to get the Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty which has been observed only informally up til now.

    He has also announced, after his meeting in London with Russian President Medvedev, that the US and Russia aim to agree a new treaty to reduce warheads and possibly delivery systems by the end of this year.

    He wants stronger action against states that undermine or even leave the NPT (Iran take note here).

    He wants better control of fissile material (ie material that is designed to cause a nuclear explosion) in case they fall into terrorist hands.

    And he is calling a special conference on all this in the US.

    Pressure

    The new US position will put pressure on America's partners or competitors either to make a gesture or justify their current policies.

    Britain has recently announced not an end to its nuclear weapons programme but the start of a new one. It has hinted though that further reductions of its already reduced stockpile might be possible.

    Both Russia and China are engaged in the modernisation of their strategic forces. But the idea that they will turn about and aim for zero is not, at the moment, realistic.

    President Obama will also face opposition from his domestic critics who argue, as the Bush administration did, that it is only through strength that the US and its allies can be safe.

    The Wall Street Journal said last week: "The thinking here is that somehow the American example will get Russia, as well as North Korea, Pakistan and perhaps Iran, to reject nuclear weapons.

    "In fact, a US nuclear arsenal that is diminished in both quantity and quality would be an incentive for these countries to increase their nuclear inventories, since the door would suddenly be opened to reach strategic parity with the last superpower."

    It is not going to be easy.

    STRATEGIC NUCLEAR WARHEADS AROUND THE WORLD
    Nuclear warheads around the world
    All numbers are estimates because exact numbers are top secret.
    Strategic nuclear warheads are designed to target cities, missile locations and military headquarters as part of a strategic plan.
    Israel
    Israeli authorities have never confirmed or denied the country has nuclear weapons.
    North Korea
    The highly secretive state claims it has nuclear weapons, but there is no information in the public domain that proves this.
    Iran
    The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in 2003 there had been covert nuclear activity to make fissile material and continues to monitor Tehran's nuclear program.
    Syria
    US officials have claimed it is covertly seeking nuclear weapons.
     
  11. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    His popularity is dipping lately in the polls conducted by the American News agencies... so, he has to make some speeches to keep it upto a certain level...

    The day there are no nukes in the world is the day I'll have a toilet seat made out of solid gold.... :sharabi:
     
  12. Shiny Capstar

    Shiny Capstar Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Never going to happen, no country is going to give up their nukes unless everyone else gives up theirs first.

    Besides regardless of the danger that they pose in the hands of mad men like Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong-il or non-state terrorists, nukes have prevented a lot of wars (wars that would have made WW2 seem like a minor skirmish) from happening. They have also stopped wars from growing into global conflicts in the way that they used to. That and cut short the worst conflict mankind has yet seen. Saving lord knows how many lives.
    I am thankful for that.
     
  13. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    For the US, the world is The US. So good for them. Let them eliminate them. We will keep it for the next 60 years and see if we want to eliminate them later.
     
  14. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    this might be a friendly way to prevent other nuclear countries after Iran, it is opposite of GWB hardball war threats which failed to prevent iran going nuclear.
     
  15. Soham

    Soham DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    Mr. Obama is living in a lalaland...
    Knowing well enough that no-one is so "peace-loving" that they would give up what the USA had begun.
     
  16. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    You are right Soham, Mr. Barak Obama is leaving in a 'Dreamland' , Nuclearization has started by The USA itself, so any N-Free world should be started at their home, since all we know that Charity Begins at Home.
     

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