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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Obama takes a good stance on nukes 

Ten days ago on his first trip to Europe as America's leader, President Obama gave a speech in Prague to a cheering crowd of more than 20,000 in the city's historic Hradcany Square. In this speech he took a line on nuclear weapons that the Clarion Content largely agrees with. He desperately needed to make this speech to lay out America's stance and mindset after the era of a Bush Doctrine that endorsed preemptive strikes. It was (is) essential that the United States communicate to its allies and enemies alike that if that policy is not fully repudiated, it is at least far from the way America thinks about nukes. Some of the most dangerous potential blowback scenarios created by the disastrous attack on Saddam's regime involve Iran and North Korea lashing out in fear of being preemptively struck first.

To children and policymakers of the 1980 preemptive strikes were the stuff of nightmares. We went to bed praying the Russians loved their children too, at least enough not to unilaterally first strike. President Obama leads America in a different era but as he noted in his speech, "the existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War. Today, the Cold War has disappeared, but thousands of those weapons have not." He continued making a point the Clarion Content heartily agrees with and has long espoused, "as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act."

After nearly a decade of ignorance and failure to focus on the real threats, President Obama is leading those actions. In his speech, Obama promised to negotiate a strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia by the end of the year that will significantly reduce the number of nuclear warheads. Earlier in his European trip in London, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to produce a new arms control treaty to replace the current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, (START II) that expires in December.

Read more here in the LA Times

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