Issue No. 90, Spring 2009
Towards a new US Nuclear Posture
The election of Barack Obama as US President has been greeted
positively throughout the whole world. From climate change to
nuclear disarmament, there is a hope and belief that he 'gets' what
security needs to be about and can combine the right ideals with
the political skills to achieve positive change. At the same time,
it is important to remember that Obama is a politician, and does
not have the capabilities of a magician or a god to solve all the
world's problems overnight!
So far, we only have a few indications of what to expect, and
four key issues will demonstrate the Obama administration's real
mettle: the next US nuclear posture review; US-Russian talks on
nuclear arms reductions; the 2010 NPT Review Conference; and
reducing the role of nuclear weapons in NATO. To assist in this
debate, Disarmament Diplomacy has reproduced the joint
Medvedev-Obama statement of 1 April, President Obama's speech in
Prague, 5 April, and the verbatim summaries and conclusions of two
recently published reports in which eminent US scientists and NGOs
spell out what they think should be in the 2009 Nuclear Posture
Review, and why.
Joint Statement by President Dmitriy
Medvedev of the Russian Federation and President Barack Obama of
the United States of America, London, April 1, 2009
Reaffirming that the era when our countries viewed each other as
enemies is long over, and recognizing our many common interests, we
today established a substantive agenda for Russia and the United
States to be developed over the coming months and years. We are
resolved to work together to strengthen strategic stability,
international security, and jointly meet contemporary global
challenges, while also addressing disagreements openly and honestly
in a spirit of mutual respect and acknowledgement of each other's
We discussed measures to overcome the effects of the global
economic crisis, strengthen the international monetary and
financial system, restore economic growth, and advance regulatory
efforts to ensure that such a crisis does not happen again.
We also discussed nuclear arms control and reduction. As leaders
of the two largest nuclear weapons states, we agreed to work
together to fulfill our obligations under Article VI of the Treaty
on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and demonstrate
leadership in reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the world.
We committed our two countries to achieving a nuclear free world,
while recognizing that this long-term goal will require a new
emphasis on arms control and conflict resolution measures, and
their full implementation by all concerned nations.
We agreed to pursue new and verifiable reductions in our
strategic offensive arsenals in a step-by-step process, beginning
by replacing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with a new,
legally-binding treaty. We are instructing our negotiators to start
talks immediately on this new treaty and to report on results
achieved in working out the new agreement by July.
While acknowledging that differences remain over the purposes of
deployment of missile defense assets in Europe, we discussed new
possibilities for mutual international cooperation in the field of
missile defense, taking into account joint assessments of missile
challenges and threats, aimed at enhancing the security of our
countries, and that of our allies and partners.
The relationship between offensive and defensive arms will be
discussed by the two governments.
We intend to carry out joint efforts to strengthen the
international regime for nonproliferation of weapons of mass
destruction and their means of delivery. In this regard we strongly
support the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
(NPT), and are committed to its further strengthening. Together, we
seek to secure nuclear weapons and materials, while promoting the
safe use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
We support the activities of the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) and stress the importance of the IAEA Safeguards
system. We seek universal adherence to IAEA comprehensive
safeguards, as provided for in Article III of the NPT, and to the
Additional Protocol and urge the ratification and implementation of
these agreements. We will deepen cooperation to combat nuclear
terrorism. We will seek to further promote the Global Initiative to
Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which now unites 75 countries.
We also support international negotiations for a verifiable
treaty to end the production of fissile materials for nuclear
weapons. As a key measure of nuclear nonproliferation and
disarmament, we underscored the importance of the entering into
force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In this respect,
President Obama confirmed his commitment to work for American
ratification of this Treaty.
We applaud the achievements made through the Nuclear Security
Initiative launched in Bratislava in 2005, including to minimize
the civilian use of Highly Enriched Uranium, and we seek to
continue bilateral collaboration to improve and sustain nuclear
security. We agreed to examine possible new initiatives to promote
international cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy
while strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
We welcome the work of the IAEA on multilateral approaches to
the nuclear fuel cycle and encourage efforts to develop mutually
beneficial approaches with states considering nuclear energy or
considering expansion of existing nuclear energy programs in
conformity with their rights and obligations under the NPT. To
facilitate cooperation in the safe use of nuclear energy for
peaceful purposes, both sides will work to bring into force the
bilateral Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses
of Nuclear Energy. To strengthen non-proliferation efforts, we also
declare our intent to give new impetus to implementation of U.N.
Security Council Resolution 1540 on preventing non-state actors
from obtaining WMD-related materials and technologies.
We agreed to work on a bilateral basis and at international
forums to resolve regional conflicts.
We agreed that al-Qaida and other terrorist and insurgent groups
operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan pose a common threat to many
nations, including the United States and Russia. We agreed to work
toward and support a coordinated international response with the UN
playing a key role. We also agreed that a similar coordinated and
international approach should be applied to counter the flow of
narcotics from Afghanistan, as well as illegal supplies of
precursors to this country. Both sides agreed to work out new ways
of cooperation to facilitate international efforts of
stabilization, reconstruction and development in Afghanistan,
including in the regional context.
We support the continuation of the Six-Party Talks at an early
date and agreed to continue to pursue the verifiable
denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in accordance with
purposes and principles of the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement
and subsequent consensus documents. We also expressed concern that
a North Korean ballistic missile launch would be damaging to peace
and stability in the region and agreed to urge the DPRK to exercise
restraint and observe relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
While we recognize that under the NPT Iran has the right to a
civilian nuclear program, Iran needs to restore confidence in its
exclusively peaceful nature. We underline that Iran, as any other
Non-Nuclear-Weapons State Party to the NPT, has assumed the
obligation under Article II of that Treaty in relation to its
non-nuclear weapon status. We call on Iran to fully implement the
relevant U.N. Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors
resolutions including provision of required cooperation with the
IAEA. We reiterated their commitment to pursue a comprehensive
diplomatic solution, including direct diplomacy and through P5+1
negotiations, and urged Iran to seize this opportunity to address
the international community's concerns.
We also started a dialogue on security and stability in Europe.
Although we disagree about the causes and sequence of the military
actions of last August, we agreed that we must continue efforts
toward a peaceful and lasting solution to the unstable situation
today. Bearing in mind that significant differences remain between
us, we nonetheless stress the importance of last year's six-point
accord of August 12, the September 8 agreement, and other relevant
agreements, and pursuing effective cooperation in the Geneva
discussions to bring stability to the region.
We agreed that the resumption of activities of the NATO-Russia
Council is a positive step. We welcomed the participation of an
American delegation at the special Conference on Afghanistan
convened under the auspices of Shanghai Cooperation Organization
We discussed our interest in exploring a comprehensive dialogue
on strengthening Euro-Atlantic and European security, including
existing commitments and President Medvedev's June 2008 proposals
on these issues. The OSCE is one of the key multilateral venues for
this dialogue, as is the NATO-Russia Council.
We also agreed that our future meetings must include discussions
of transnational threats such as terrorism, organized crime,
corruption and narcotics, with the aim of enhancing our cooperation
in countering these threats and strengthening international efforts
in these fields, including through joint actions and
We will strive to give rise to a new dynamic in our economic
links including the launch of an intergovernmental commission on
trade and economic cooperation and the intensification of our
business dialogue. Especially during these difficult economic
times, our business leaders must pursue all opportunities for
generating economic activity. We both pledged to instruct our
governments to make efforts to finalize as soon as possible
Russia's accession into the World Trade Organization and continue
working towards the creation of favorable conditions for the
development of Russia-U.S. economic ties.
We also pledge to promote cooperation in implementing Global
Energy Security Principles, adopted at the G-8 summit in St.
Petersburg in 2006, including improving energy efficiency and the
development of clean energy technologies.
Today we have outlined a comprehensive and ambitious work plan
for our two governments. We both affirmed a mutual desire to
organize contacts between our two governments in a more structured
and regular way. Greater institutionalized interactions between our
ministries and departments make success more likely in meeting the
ambitious goals that we have established today.
At the same time, we also discussed the desire for greater
cooperation not only between our governments, but also between our
societies - more scientific cooperation, more students studying in
each other's country, more cultural exchanges, and more cooperation
between our nongovernmental organizations. In our relations with
each other, we also seek to be guided by the rule of law, respect
for fundamental freedoms and human rights, and tolerance for
We, the leaders of Russia and the United States, are ready to
move beyond Cold War mentalities and chart a fresh start in
relations between our two countries. In just a few months we have
worked hard to establish a new tone in our relations. Now it is
time to get down to business and translate our warm words into
actual achievements of benefit to Russia, the United States, and
all those around the world interested in peace and prosperity.
Source: The White House, www.whitehouse.gov.
Barack Obama, President of the United
States of America
Speech at Hradcany Square, Prague, 5 April, 2009
Thank you so much.... ...
I've learned over many years to appreciate the good company and
the good humor of the Czech people in my hometown of Chicago.
Behind me is a statue of a hero of the Czech people - Tomas
Masaryk. In 1918, after America had pledged its support for Czech
independence, Masaryk spoke to a crowd in Chicago that was
estimated to be over 100,000. I don't think I can match his record
- but I am honored to follow his footsteps from Chicago to
For over a thousand years, Prague has set itself apart from any
other city in any other place. You've known war and peace. You've
seen empires rise and fall. You've led revolutions in the arts and
science, in politics and in poetry. Through it all, the people of
Prague have insisted on pursuing their own path, and defining their
own destiny. And this city - this Golden City which is both ancient
and youthful - stands as a living monument to your unconquerable
When I was born, the world was divided, and our nations were
faced with very different circumstances. Few people would have
predicted that someone like me would one day become the President
of the United States. Few people would have predicted that an
American President would one day be permitted to speak to an
audience like this in Prague. Few would have imagined that the
Czech Republic would become a free nation, a member of NATO, a
leader of a united Europe. Those ideas would have been dismissed as
We are here today because enough people ignored the voices who
told them that the world could not change.
We're here today because of the courage of those who stood up
and took risks to say that freedom is a right for all people, no
matter what side of a wall they live on, and no matter what they
We are here today because of the Prague Spring - because the
simple and principled pursuit of liberty and opportunity shamed
those who relied on the power of tanks and arms to put down the
will of a people.
We are here today because 20 years ago, the people of this city
took to the streets to claim the promise of a new day, and the
fundamental human rights that had been denied them for far too
long. Sametová Revoluce - the Velvet Revolution -
taught us many things. It showed us that peaceful protest could
shake the foundations of an empire, and expose the emptiness of an
ideology. It showed us that small countries can play a pivotal role
in world events, and that young people can lead the way in
overcoming old conflicts. And it proved that moral leadership is
more powerful than any weapon.
That's why I'm speaking to you in the center of a Europe that is
peaceful, united and free - because ordinary people believed that
divisions could be bridged, even when their leaders did not. They
believed that walls could come down; that peace could prevail.
We are here today because Americans and Czechs believed against
all odds that today could be possible.
Now, we share this common history. But now this generation - our
generation - cannot stand still. We, too, have a choice to make. As
the world has become less divided, it has become more
interconnected. And we've seen events move faster than our ability
to control them - a global economy in crisis, a changing climate,
the persistent dangers of old conflicts, new threats and the spread
of catastrophic weapons.
None of these challenges can be solved quickly or easily. But
all of them demand that we listen to one another and work together;
that we focus on our common interests, not on occasional
differences; and that we reaffirm our shared values, which are
stronger than any force that could drive us apart. That is the work
that we must carry on. That is the work that I have come to Europe
To renew our prosperity, we need action coordinated across
borders. That means investments to create new jobs. That means
resisting the walls of protectionism that stand in the way of
growth. That means a change in our financial system, with new rules
to prevent abuse and future crisis.
And we have an obligation to our common prosperity and our
common humanity to extend a hand to those emerging markets and
impoverished people who are suffering the most, even though they
may have had very little to do with financial crises, which is why
we set aside over a trillion dollars for the International Monetary
Fund earlier this week, to make sure that everybody - everybody -
receives some assistance.
Now, to protect our planet, now is the time to change the way
that we use energy. Together, we must confront climate change by
ending the world's dependence on fossil fuels, by tapping the power
of new sources of energy like the wind and sun, and calling upon
all nations to do their part. And I pledge to you that in this
global effort, the United States is now ready to lead.
To provide for our common security, we must strengthen our
alliance. NATO was founded 60 years ago, after Communism took over
Czechoslovakia. That was when the free world learned too late that
it could not afford division. So we came together to forge the
strongest alliance that the world has ever known. And we stood
shoulder to shoulder - year after year, decade after decade - until
an Iron Curtain was lifted, and freedom spread like flowing
This marks the 10th year of NATO membership for the Czech
Republic. And I know that many times in the 20th century, decisions
were made without you at the table. Great powers let you down, or
determined your destiny without your voice being heard. I am here
to say that the United States will never turn its back on the
people of this nation. We are bound by shared values, shared
history, and the enduring promise of our alliance. NATO's Article V
states it clearly: An attack on one is an attack on all. That is a
promise for our time, and for all time.
The people of the Czech Republic kept that promise after America
was attacked; thousands were killed on our soil, and NATO
responded. NATO's mission in Afghanistan is fundamental to the
safety of people on both sides of the Atlantic. We are targeting
the same Al Qaeda terrorists who have struck from New York to
London, and helping the Afghan people take responsibility for their
future. We are demonstrating that free nations can make common
cause on behalf of our common security. And I want you to know that
we honor the sacrifices of the Czech people in this endeavor, and
mourn the loss of those you've lost.
But no alliance can afford to stand still. We must work together
as NATO members so that we have contingency plans in place to deal
with new threats, wherever they may come from. We must strengthen
our cooperation with one another, and with other nations and
institutions around the world, to confront dangers that recognize
no borders. And we must pursue constructive relations with Russia
on issues of common concern.
Now, one of those issues that I'll focus on today is fundamental
to the security of our nations and to the peace of the world -
that's the future of nuclear weapons in the 21st century.
The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most
dangerous legacy of the Cold War. No nuclear war was fought between
the United States and the Soviet Union, but generations lived with
the knowledge that their world could be erased in a single flash of
light. Cities like Prague that existed for centuries, that embodied
the beauty and the talent of so much of humanity, would have ceased
Today, the Cold War has disappeared but thousands of those
weapons have not. In a strange turn of history, the threat of
global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack
has gone up. More nations have acquired these weapons. Testing has
continued. Black markets trade in nuclear secrets and nuclear
materials. The technology to build a bomb has spread. Terrorists
are determined to buy, build or steal one. Our efforts to contain
these dangers are centered on a global non-proliferation regime,
but as more people and nations break the rules, we could reach the
point where the center cannot hold.
Now, understand, this matters to people everywhere. One nuclear
weapon exploded in one city - be it New York or Moscow, Islamabad
or Mumbai, Tokyo or Tel Aviv, Paris or Prague - could kill hundreds
of thousands of people. And no matter where it happens, there is no
end to what the consequences might be - for our global safety, our
security, our society, our economy, to our ultimate survival.
Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be stopped,
cannot be checked - that we are destined to live in a world where
more nations and more people possess the ultimate tools of
destruction. Such fatalism is a deadly adversary, for if we believe
that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then in some way
we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is
Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand
together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear
in the 21st century. And as a nuclear power - as the only nuclear
power to have used a nuclear weapon - the United States has a moral
responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone,
but we can lead it, we can start it.
So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's
commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without
nuclear weapons. I'm not naive. This goal will not be reached
quickly - perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and
persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us
that the world cannot change. We have to insist, "Yes, we can."
Now, let me describe to you the trajectory we need to be on.
First, the United States will take concrete steps towards a world
without nuclear weapons. To put an end to Cold War thinking, we
will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security
strategy, and urge others to do the same. Make no mistake: As long
as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe,
secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee
that defense to our allies - including the Czech Republic. But we
will begin the work of reducing our arsenal.
To reduce our warheads and stockpiles, we will negotiate a new
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russians this year.
President Medvedev and I began this process in London, and will
seek a new agreement by the end of this year that is legally
binding and sufficiently bold. And this will set the stage for
further cuts, and we will seek to include all nuclear weapons
states in this endeavor.
To achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration
will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. After more than five decades of
talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be
And to cut off the building blocks needed for a bomb, the United
States will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production
of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons. If
we are serious about stopping the spread of these weapons, then we
should put an end to the dedicated production of weapons-grade
materials that create them. That's the first step.
Second, together we will strengthen the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty as a basis for cooperation.
The basic bargain is sound: Countries with nuclear weapons will
move towards disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will
not acquire them, and all countries can access peaceful nuclear
energy. To strengthen the treaty, we should embrace several
principles. We need more resources and authority to strengthen
international inspections. We need real and immediate consequences
for countries caught breaking the rules or trying to leave the
treaty without cause.
And we should build a new framework for civil nuclear
cooperation, including an international fuel bank, so that
countries can access peaceful power without increasing the risks of
proliferation. That must be the right of every nation that
renounces nuclear weapons, especially developing countries
embarking on peaceful programs. And no approach will succeed if
it's based on the denial of rights to nations that play by the
rules. We must harness the power of nuclear energy on behalf of our
efforts to combat climate change, and to advance opportunity for
But we go forward with no illusions. Some countries will break
the rules. That's why we need a structure in place that ensures
when any nation does, they will face consequences.
Just this morning, we were reminded again of why we need a new
and more rigorous approach to address this threat. North Korea
broke the rules once again by testing a rocket that could be used
for long range missiles. This provocation underscores the need for
action - not just this afternoon at the U.N. Security Council, but
in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons.
Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must
mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread
of these weapons. Now is the time for a strong international
response, and North Korea must know that the path to security and
respect will never come through threats and illegal weapons. All
nations must come together to build a stronger, global regime. And
that's why we must stand shoulder to shoulder to pressure the North
Koreans to change course.
Iran has yet to build a nuclear weapon. My administration will
seek engagement with Iran based on mutual interests and mutual
respect. We believe in dialogue. But in that dialogue we will
present a clear choice. We want Iran to take its rightful place in
the community of nations, politically and economically. We will
support Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy with rigorous
inspections. That's a path that the Islamic Republic can take. Or
the government can choose increased isolation, international
pressure, and a potential nuclear arms race in the region that will
increase insecurity for all.
So let me be clear: Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile
activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to
Iran's neighbors and our allies. The Czech Republic and Poland have
been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these
missiles. As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go
forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and
proven. If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a
stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile
defense construction in Europe will be removed.
So, finally, we must ensure that terrorists never acquire a
nuclear weapon. This is the most immediate and extreme threat to
global security. One terrorist with one nuclear weapon could
unleash massive destruction. Al Qaeda has said it seeks a bomb and
that it would have no problem with using it. And we know that there
is unsecured nuclear material across the globe. To protect our
people, we must act with a sense of purpose without delay.
So today I am announcing a new international effort to secure
all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years.
We will set new standards, expand our cooperation with Russia,
pursue new partnerships to lock down these sensitive materials.
We must also build on our efforts to break up black markets,
detect and intercept materials in transit, and use financial tools
to disrupt this dangerous trade. Because this threat will be
lasting, we should come together to turn efforts such as the
Proliferation Security Initiative and the Global Initiative to
Combat Nuclear Terrorism into durable international institutions.
And we should start by having a Global Summit on Nuclear Security
that the United States will host within the next year.
Now, I know that there are some who will question whether we can
act on such a broad agenda. There are those who doubt whether true
international cooperation is possible, given inevitable differences
among nations. And there are those who hear talk of a world without
nuclear weapons and doubt whether it's worth setting a goal that
seems impossible to achieve.
But make no mistake: We know where that road leads. When nations
and peoples allow themselves to be defined by their differences,
the gulf between them widens. When we fail to pursue peace, then it
stays forever beyond our grasp. We know the path when we choose
fear over hope. To denounce or shrug off a call for cooperation is
an easy but also a cowardly thing to do. That's how wars begin.
That's where human progress ends.
There is violence and injustice in our world that must be
confronted. We must confront it not by splitting apart but by
standing together as free nations, as free people. I know that a
call to arms can stir the souls of men and women more than a call
to lay them down. But that is why the voices for peace and progress
must be raised together.
Those are the voices that still echo through the streets of
Prague. Those are the ghosts of 1968. Those were the joyful sounds
of the Velvet Revolution. Those were the Czechs who helped bring
down a nuclear-armed empire without firing a shot.
Human destiny will be what we make of it. And here in Prague,
let us honor our past by reaching for a better future. Let us
bridge our divisions, build upon our hopes, accept our
responsibility to leave this world more prosperous and more
peaceful than we found it. Together we can do it.
Thank you very much. Thank you, Prague.
Source: The White House, www.whitehouse.gov.
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© 2009 The Acronym Institute.