U.S. and Russia Sign Arms Reduction Treaty

President Obama, President Medvedev and President Klaus at Prague Castle, White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 4/8/10

Last week, President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a historic treaty to reduce nuclear arms between the two superpowers. Fringe commentators like Jack Kelly are already digging at his heels making the ludicrous claim that, “before he [Obama] drives us into bankruptcy, he might get us all killed.”

However, some more reasonable Republicans have endorsed the measure. George Shultz, former Secretary of State; William Perry, former Secretary of Defense; Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State; and Senator Sam Nunn, former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative issued a joint statement:

We strongly endorse the goals of this Treaty, and we hope that after careful and expeditious review that both the United States Senate and the Russian Federal Assembly will be able to ratify the Treaty.

FrumForum lists a few more conservatives seeking to reduce nuclear arms as well.

Admittedly, there are some flaws within the new policy.

The United States only has to remove a couple dozen nuclear carrier systems, and Russia is allowed to procure 200 new ones — at least if it has the money for them. And in the future, only deployed nuclear warheads will be tallied — not those kept as reserves — thus making the actual disarmament figures smaller than they truly are. There’s a second trick in it, too: Bombers that can carry up to 20 nuclear weapons no longer count as 10 bombs as they did up until now; instead, they count as one. In this way, both nations will be able to keep a few hundred more bombs than the agreed upon limit of 1,550.

Finally, there’s one piece of really bad news in this agreement: Russia and the United States will modernize their nuclear arsenals. At least that’s the case according to the ‘Nuclear Posture Review’ presented by President Obama on Tuesday. If implemented, the US’ nuclear arsenal would remain active well past 2050 and possibly into the 22nd century.

Moreover, it is unlikely other nuclear armed countries like India, Pakistan, or Israel will follow suit for national security reasons. Despite the treaty’s limited practical effects on disarmament, it does improve relations between the former Cold War rivals. These improved relations will be necessary to get Russia on board for any maneuver against Iran in the future.

Then of course, there is Jon Stewart’s take on The Daily Show.

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We welcome with this post a new blogger to TheLiberalOC. Enrolled at the University of California, San Diego, Saad Asad is pursuing a degree in Political Science. He has written multiple articles for the College Democrats’ newspaper on campus, The Left Coast Post. Recently, he circulated petitions for the California Democracy Act initiative. His interests include national and international politics along with economic issues.