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President Obama ready to make policy changes to reduce role of nuclear weapons

Obama White House govObama plans major nuclear policy changes in his final months, WP  By Josh Rogin July 10 The Obama administration is determined to use its final six months in office to take a series of executive actions to advance the nuclear [disarmament] agenda the president has advocated since his college days. It’s part of Obama’s late push to polish a foreign policy legacy that is plagued by challenges on several other fronts.

President Obama announced his drive to reduce the role of nuclear weapons and eventually rid the world of them in his first major foreign policy speech, in Prague in 2009. In his first years, he achieved some successes, such as the New START treaty with Russia, the Nuclear Security Summits and the controversial Iran deal. But progress waned in the past year as more pressing crises commanded the White House’s attention. Now, the president is considering using the freedom afforded a departing administration to cross off several remaining items on his nuclear wish list.

In recent weeks, the national security Cabinet members known as the Principals Committee held two meetings to review options for executive actions on nuclear policy. Many of the options on the table are controversial, but by design none of them require formal congressional approval. No final decisions have been made, but Obama is expected to weigh in personally soon.

“As we enter the homestretch of the Obama presidency, it’s worth remembering that he came into office with a personal commitment to pursuing diplomacy and arms control,” deputy national security adviserBen Rhodes told the Arms Control Association on June 6. “I can promise you today that President Obama is continuing to review a number of ways he can advance the Prague agenda over the course of the next seven months. Put simply, our work is not finished on these issues.”

Several U.S. officials briefed on the options told me they include declaring a “no first use” policy for the United States’ nuclear arsenal, which would be a landmark change in the country’s nuclear posture. Another option under consideration is seeking a U.N. Security Council resolution affirming a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons. This would be a way to enshrine the United States’ pledge not to test without having to seek unlikely Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

The administration is also considering offering Russia a five-year extension of the New START treaty’s limits on deployed nuclear weapons, even though those limits don’t expire until 2021. This way, Obama could ensure that the next administration doesn’t let the treaty lapse. Some administration officials want to cancel or delay development of a new nuclear cruise missile, called the Long-Range Stand-Off weapon, because it is designed for a limited nuclear strike, a capability Obama doesn’t believe the United States needs. Some officials want to take most deployed nukes off of “hair trigger” alert.

The administration also wants to cut back long-term plans for modernizing the nation’s nuclear arsenal, which the Congressional Budget Office reports will cost about $350 billion over the next decade. Obama may establish a blue-ribbon panel of experts to examine the long-term budget for these efforts and find ways to scale it back…….. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/obama-plans-major-nuclear-policy-changes-in-his-final-months/2016/07/10/fef3d5ca-4521-11e6-88d0-6adee48be8bc_story.html

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July 13, 2016 - Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war

1 Comment »

  1. I will give Obama a point when he sees this.

    Comment by artiewhitefox | July 13, 2016 | Reply


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