by Kingston Reif Published by Foreign Policy in Focus on October 26, 2009 On September 17th, President Barack Obama announced changes in the American missile defense program seeking a more proven and cost-effective system than that introduced by the Bush administration. Such changes are part of Obama’s new comprehensive foreign policy based on an assessment […]
Last week, former Assistant Secretary of State Stephen Rademaker published an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal lambasting the trajectory of President Obama’s arms control agenda.
To get a better idea of where Rademaker is coming from, check out this interview he did with Arms Control Today back in 2005. In the category of “You can’t make this stuff up”, Rademaker refers to the U.S. record of compliance with Article VI as “unassailable” and describes the START I counting rules as “just sophistry”.
Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr., a special representative for arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament under President Clinton and a member of the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation’s National Advisory Board, penned the following letter to the editor in response…
Arms Control Has Been Bipartisan
In “Why Democrats Fail at Arms Control” (op-ed, Sept. 24), Stephen Rademaker argues that Democratic presidents have failed with Russia on strategic arms control agreements because of “their excessive enthusiasm and ambition.” I disagree. In fact, at least until 2001, the conduct of the strategic arms control process in the U.S. was remarkably bipartisan.
As for the current negotiations, Mr. Rademaker claims that President Barack Obama overreached in trying to achieve deeper reductions in U.S. and Russian arsenals rather than simply “replacing the START verification regime.” However, neither side favored a simple extension. Simply extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty without deeper reductions in U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, fails to address the fact that the outdated START limits of 6,000 deployed strategic nuclear weapons are simply too high to be acceptable in today’s world.
Reductions require other changes and will be consistent with the now world-wide consensus to move toward the elimination of nuclear weapons, expressed by the recent United Nations Security Council resolution. Such reductions are also a partial implementation of one of the key U.S. promises—to reduce nuclear arsenals—made in exchange for most countries giving up forever their right to acquire nuclear weapons when the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was indefinitely extended in 1995, a historic diplomatic and strategic success of the Clinton administration.
Mr. Rademaker also claims that the president should not have sought to limit both deployed warheads and delivery systems. Limits on delivery vehicles, which were central to START, facilitate verification and reduce the risk of quickly increasing deployed forces.
Finally, contrary to Mr. Rademaker’s characterization of President Obama’s negotiating position on missile defense and strategic conventional weapons, both the U.S. and Russia have stated repeatedly that the new START treaty will address only strategic offensive forces.
Legally binding and verifiable arms reductions remain vital tools to strengthen U.S. security.
Ambassador Graham was special representative for arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament under President Clinton.
by Travis Sharp Published in The Register Citizen (Connecticut) on September 21, 2009 While media elites and professional pundits love to frame public policy debates as epic battles of conservative and liberal worldviews, judgments about national security rarely boil down to two stark alternatives. The president typically considers at least a handful of distinct options […]
by Robert G. Gard On January 22, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that closes the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay within one year. The order also ends the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret overseas prison program and bans torture. Joining Obama at the Oval Office signing ceremony was Lt. General Robert Gard, chairman of […]