After New START, More Nuclear Arms Cuts

Tuesday, April 06, 2010 at 2:46 pm

The day that the Obama administration unveiled the so-called New START nuclear arms control treaty with Russia to cut the nuclear stockpiles of the two largest nuclear-armed countries by 30 percent, Joe Cirincione, a longtime nonproliferation wonk, offered some friendly advice to the negotiating teams. “Enjoy the victory of the moment,” Joe told me, “get some R&R and come back for another tour of duty.” What, more cuts? Well, sure — this is a vision-of-a-nuke-free-world we’re talking about, something at the heart of the Obama agenda, and while you won’t get there overnight, you also won’t get there at all if you leave office with the U.S. possessing 1,550 warheads under New START.

It didn’t take two weeks for Cirincione’s urging to become part of the brand-new Nuclear Posture Review. From page eleven:

The President has directed a review of post-New START arms control objectives, to consider future reductions in nuclear weapons. Several factors will influence the magnitude and pace of future reductions in U.S. nuclear forces below New START levels. …

Conduct follow-on analysis to set goals for future nuclear reductions below the levels expected in New START, while strengthening deterrence of potential regional adversaries, strategic stability vis-à-vis Russia and China, and assurance of our allies and partners.

Address non-strategic nuclear weapons, together with the non-deployed nuclear weapons of both sides, in any post-New START negotiations with Russia.

At a briefing for reporters at the Pentagon, Ellen Tauscher, the undersecretary of state for arms control who played a crucial role in negotiating New START, said that in her dealings with the Russians, she took note of a “Russian willingness” to “talk about new things, … a new effort” for arms reductions after New START is ratified.

All this is laid out before Presidents Obama and Medvedev even sign New START in Prague on Thursday, let alone Senate ratification, which is far from a forgone conclusion. How’s that for ambition?

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Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 7:18 am

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