Tuesday, July 07, 2009

US and Russia agree nuclear disarmament road map.

Obama has had his "reset" summit with Russia, where he has attempted to undo some of the damage which the Bush presidency, in all it's arrogance, had brought to the relationship between the two countries.

And there have been some tangible results, most welcome of all, the agreement of both countries to cut their nuclear arsenals.

The US and Russia today agreed a nuclear disarmament road map that would see them cut their arsenals by up to a third, in a preliminary agreement signed by Barack Obama during his Russia trip.

Pledging to reverse a "sense of drift" in Washington's relations with Moscow, the US president said he hoped a new nuclear arms reduction treaty to replace the Start-1 pact, which expires this December, would be ready by the end of the year. "We must lead by example and that is what we are doing here today," he said in Moscow.

However, I note that Obama continues to refuse to rule out implementing Bush's nuclear shield, which would render any achievement made here worse than useless.
The Kremlin has made it clear that a deal is impossible if the US administration goes ahead with its missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Obama said today that a review of that shield would be completed as early as this summer. But he gave no indication whether he was willing to dump it – instead merely predicting that the diametrically opposed positions of the two nations on the shield "could be reconciled".

Obama also insisted the purpose of the shield was to intercept missiles from Iran or North Korea or other states rather than from Russia. But he conceded that convincing Moscow of this would be hard work. "It's going to take time to break down existing suspicions," he noted.

However, Obama has agreed to convene a nuclear security summit next year to tackle proliferation, with a follow up in Moscow soon after. Obama is, at least, slowly thawing the frost which developed during the latter stages of the Bush era.

The neo-cons had always proceeded as if the US had no need to co-operate with any other country, that they would state their will and that other nations had no choice other than to comply. It's nice to see Obama acknowledge the fact that Russia is a nuclear giant and to give them their place when it comes to any discussion of nuclear proliferation.

Analysts said the nuclear deal at the very least revived the notion of disarmament, which had been lost amid the hostilities of recent years, and was realistic.

"The negotiations are going to be tense," said Paul Ingram, the executive director of the British American Security Information Council. "The Russians will be playing hardball but the Americans know Moscow has a strong interest in getting a treaty signed. Both sides have too much invested in reaching an agreement."

Once the treaty is signed, the next question will be how much further the US and Russia have to go. Obama has dedicated himself to a world free of nuclear weapons, but that remains a theoretical target.

I can't help but think that Obama would be better off abandoning plans for a nuclear shield. As I remember the arguments of the eighties, MAD - mutually assured destruction - was the thing which prevented nuclear bombs from ever being used. Or so the right wingers used to say at dinner parties.

Surely, if one side has a shield, then that balance shifts and nuclear war becomes - however fractionally - more likely.

It's an insane idea as, shield or no shield, a nuclear war would destroy the planet. The shield merely gives the false comfort that it might be possible to survive such an event.

But, perhaps Obama is merely holding on to the idea of a shield until the Russians give him something else. Perhaps this is just a negotiating tool. Because I find it very hard to believe that a man of Obama's intellect actually thinks a nuclear shield would work.

Click title for full article.


daveawayfromhome said...

The nuclear shield was just a boondoggle, a way of handing billions of dollars in warfare welfare to the military-industrial complex.

Kel said...

Warfare welfare! I love it, Dave. That's exactly what it is.