BASIC staff and consultants are available for comment on President Obama’s speech today at the Brandenburg Gate, 2pm London time, in which he is expected to lay out his agenda on strategic nuclear deterrence, disarmament and arms control for the rest of his Presidency.
Paul Ingram, BASIC’s Executive Director said this morning: “We expect him to announce his intention to further reduce the US nuclear arsenal by a third, inviting Russia to join him. This is a modest goal to achieve, and he could have gone further. The US nuclear arsenal and targeting strategy is more an expensive and dangerous legacy of the past than a response to today’s security priorities. Unfortunately, much of the debate within Washington is dominated by interest-groups and shallow accusations of weakness that miss the bigger picture.”
The President will also likely raise the issue of non-strategic nuclear warheads, of which the United States has about 200 deployed in five NATO countries, including in Germany. So far, Russia has been sceptical of the benefits of engaging with the United States on this issue. Ted Seay, recent US diplomat in the lead on arms control issues at the US mission to NATO and now consultant at BASIC, said, “It is high time the United States bit the bullet and pulled these weapons back to the United States. Waiting for Russia is a recipe for inaction, and directly harms US security.”
The President is also expected to cover nuclear security, announcing a continuation of the summit process beyond next year’s meeting in The Hague, support for a verifiable treaty to ban the production of fissile material (a Fissile Material (Cut-off) Treaty), and for U.S. Senators to support the ratification of a treaty to ban nuclear testing.
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