THE U.S. STILL PREPARING FOR NUCLEAR WAR
As you know, President Obama used his recent speech in Berlin to outline his nuclear arms control – not abolition – goals. In his speech and related documents, he did nothing to advance nuclear disarmament. His words were a retreat from the inspiring 2009 oratory in Prague, where he committed the U.S. to work for a nuclear weapons-free world. Tellingly, Japan’s Foreign Minister commended the Berlin speech for its reaffirmation of Washington’s nuclear umbrella.[vi]
While acknowledging the truism that “so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not safe,” Obama reiterated that as long as nuclear weapons exist, the U.S. will remain the world’s dominant nuclear power. The core element of his speech, which has been broadcast uncritically by the media, was the offer to build on the New START Treaty by negotiating limited strategic and tactical nuclear weapons reductions with Russia.
There was less to Obama’s speech than met the eye. It was a rehash of long-standing policies and is best understood as a public relations gambit and soft power diplomacy. Senior Russian officials have been telling us for months that they will only participate in multilateral nuclear weapons negotiations, the very forums that the Obama Administration has refused to join. This past year, with Israel, Washington sabotaged the convening of the Middle East WMD Free Zone conference mandated by the 2010 NPT Review Conference, and it boycotted the Oslo conference on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons and the U.N.’s Open Ended Working Group.
Cynically, President Obama failed to address the reality that, resulting from the expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders, as well as U.S. conventional, high-tech and space superiority, Moscow relies increasingly on its nuclear arsenal and is no hurry to negotiate nuclear weapons reductions.
For more on this story, visit: Speech: In the Footsteps of Yamaguchi Senji: Achieving a Nuclear Free World | American Friends Service Committee.