Thursday, 08 April 2010

Obama and Medvedev Sign Arms Treaty

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President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on April 8, described by the British Times as “the first concrete foreign policy achievement by Mr. Obama since he took office.”

“Today is an important milestone for nuclear security and non-proliferation, and for U.S.-Russia relations,” said Obama, speaking inside Prague Castle,  the official residence of the Czech President, in the capital of the Czech Republic.

“We are going to start seeing some ramped up negotiations. We are going to be able to secure strong, tough sanctions on Iran this spring,” added Obama.

Medvedev, while standing at a lectern next to Obama, commented about the treaty: “The result we have obtained is good.”

The Times cited Obama’s belief that that the U.S.-Russia pact helped to increase pressure on Iran by strengthening ties between Moscow and Washington and demonstrating to the world that the two powers were serious about keeping to their commitments to disarm under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Obama will continue to press for a tougher stance against Iran at a two-day summit comprised of 47 national leaders that he will host in Washington next week.

The White House website posted a release entitled “Remarks by President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia at New START Treaty Signing Ceremony and Press Conference.”

During the event, President Obama stated:

One year ago this week, I came here to Prague and gave a speech outlining America’s comprehensive commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and seeking the ultimate goal of a world without them.... I believed then — as I do now — that the pursuit of that goal will move us further beyond the Cold War, strengthen the global non-proliferation regime, and make the United States, and the world, safer and more secure. One of the steps that I called for last year was the realization of this treaty, so it’s very gratifying to be back in Prague today....

Today is an important milestone for nuclear security and non-proliferation, and for U.S.-Russia relations. It fulfills our common objective to negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. It includes significant reductions in the nuclear weapons that we will deploy. It cuts our delivery vehicles by roughly half. It includes a comprehensive verification regime, which allows us to further build trust. It enables both sides the flexibility to protect our security, as well as America’s unwavering commitment to the security of our European allies. And I look forward to working with the United States Senate to achieve ratification for this important treaty later this year.

The president continued:

While the New START treaty is an important first step forward, it is just one step on a longer journey. As I said last year in Prague, this treaty will set the stage for further cuts.  And going forward, we hope to pursue discussions with Russia on reducing both our strategic and tactical weapons, including non-deployed weapons. 

As we continue through Obama’s statements we also find his advocacy of an international nuclear weapons enforcement apparatus through the UN:

Earlier this week, the United States formally changed our policy to make it clear that those [non]-nuclear weapons states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and their non-proliferation obligations will not be threatened by America’s nuclear arsenal.  This demonstrates, once more, America’s commitment to the NPT as a cornerstone of our security strategy. Those nations that follow the rules will find greater security and opportunity. Those nations that refuse to meet their obligations will be isolated, and denied the opportunity that comes with international recognition. 
That includes accountability for those that break the rules — otherwise the NPT is just words on a page. That’s why the United States and Russia are part of a coalition of nations insisting that the Islamic Republic of Iran face consequences, because they have continually failed to meet their obligations. We are working together at the United Nations Security Council to pass strong sanctions on Iran. And we will not tolerate actions that flout the NPT, risk an arms race in a vital region, and threaten the credibility of the international community and our collective security. 
[Emphasis added.]

Notice Obama’s insistence that supposedly sovereign nation states are bound by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) enforceable by sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.

This may not seem a matter of grave consequence so long as we are speaking of some “rogue” Middle Easter regime. But consider the precedent set by this line of thinking: Nations that are party to the UN and UN-mandated nuclear non-proliferation treaties are subject to UN sanctions and therefore subservient to the UN.

As to how this impacts the United Sates, we must look to a long series of actions taken by U.S. presidents to surrender U.S. nuclear weapons to a UN authority. The first notable example of this occurred on on September 25, 1961, when President John F. Kennedy presented to the 16th General Assembly of the United Nations a disarmament proposal entitled, Freedom from War: The United States Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World (State Department Publication 7277).

The "disarmament" called for by the document had much more to do with creating a monopoly of force for the UN than with weapons elimination. Excerpts from the document include:

• "Disarmament shall take place as rapidly as possible until it is completed in [a program of three] stages containing balanced, phased and safeguarded measures, with each measure and stage to be carried out in an agreed period of time."

• "As states relinquish their arms, the United Nations shall be progressively strengthened in order to improve its capacity to assure international security and the peaceful settlement of differences as well as to facilitate the development of international cooperation in common tasks for the benefit of mankind."

• "By the time Stage II [of the three-stage disarmament program] has been completed, the confidence produced through a verified disarmament program, the acceptance of rules of peaceful international behavior, and the development of strengthened international peace-keeping processes within the framework of the U.N. should have reached a point where the states of the world can move forward to Stage III. In Stage III progressive controlled disarmament and continuously developing principles and procedures of international law would proceed to a point where no state would have the military power to challenge the progressively strengthened U.N. Peace Force and all international disputes would be settled according to the agreed principles of international conduct." (Emphasis added.)

Photo: President Barack Obama signs the New START treaty, April 8, 2010, in Prague: AP Images

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