From The Grio — President Obama’s new Nuclear Policy Review has been met with both pronounced applause and the seemingly rehearsed disapproval from the conservative right. Beginning with his agreement with Russia, signed alongside the Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in Prague this morning, Obama plans to cut the American arsenal by thousands of weapons, and has outlined more conservative guidelines for when to deploy nukes. His policy calls for no new development of nuclear arms, a greater dependence on missile defense and investment in the development of non-nuclear options. The approach is sound and measured, methodical and progressive.
In an age where the Cold War has been replaced by terrorist extremism, President Obama is seeking greater cooperation with nations like Russia and China, in order to defend ourselves against the possible threats posed by the nuclear ambitions of states like North Korea and Iran. What, therefore, are the loopholes he has been accused of over-looking? Or is any attempt at diplomacy by Obama’s White House always to be met with unreasonable accusations that his approach is naïve and ultimately counter-productive, making America less safe? It seems the latter is true.
The U.S. and Russia currently hold 90 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenal between them. Naturally, with such a clear monopoly on the market they are leaders, uniquely positioned to shape both attitudes and policy. PresidentObama’s aim is to encourage the other nuclear states to follow suit. These include our allies the United Kingdom, France and Israel as well as China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Iran. And herein lays the ultimate dilemma: what about everyone else? Many small states that have no realistic prospect of ever having nuclear weapons resent a world order in which they must embrace abstinence while the more powerful or more daring do not. This is the double standard Obama is seeking to address, while maintaining the pragmatic recognition that the USAmust remain the premiere nuclear power in order to provide the ultimate deterrent in the face of an increasingly dangerous world. Naturally, there is sensitivity about sovereignty among our UN member states, but this can never be fully alleviated. In a world where terrorists seek nuclear capability both in the fictitious realm of 24’s Jack Bauer, as well as the real modern day Iran, we can lead toward the ideal whilst maintaining our military prominence.