The signing of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia on Thursday, allowed President Obama to cross one more thing off his “to do” list.
A year ago in Prague, President Obama stated that he and Russian President Medvedev had already begun the process of a new agreement to reduce warheads and stockpiles and planned to negotiate a “New START” by the end of a year. They have achieved that goal and it was significantly signed in Prague.
To see the leaders from the two countries that forged the Cold War, which in turn created the nuclear weapons buildup in the 1960s, now agreeing to reduce these arsenals is monumental.
“This ceremony is a testament to the truth that old adversaries can forge new partnerships,” Obama declared at the signing. “It is just one step on a longer journey.”
Although the hysteria queens, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Sarah Palin, holding court at the GOP Hysteria-ton this past week in Minneapolis would have you believe that the sky is now falling because of this new treaty and we are all in eminent danger of dying a dreadful death very soon, rest assured that is not the case.
In fact, the New START is an effort to make the world safer from nuclear attack. The treaty gets rid of outdated, lethal warheads that are leftover from the Cold War. In other words, cleaning house.
Over a seven-year period, both countries have agreed to shrink the limit of nuclear warheads to 1,550 each, still significant firepower to destroy the world.
Beginning Monday in Washington, Obama and Medvedev will meet with leaders of 47 other countries in an effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, crack down on illicit nuclear trafficking and lock down vulnerable nuclear materials around the world. Of particular concern is al-Qaida and the nations of Iran and North Korea. (AP)
U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the new nuclear disarmament treaty could help strengthen Chinese support for sanctions against Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Clinton, in an appearance on April 9, at the University of Louisville, said China has “become convinced over the last month” of the need for action on Iran’s nuclear program. (Radio Free Europe)
Countries are banding together to keep the material necessary to make nuclear weapons out of the hands of dangerous, unstable leaders.
Speaking of unstable…
While trying to denigrate President Obama’s signing of the New START, Michelle Bachmann screamed hysterically, “… if they fire against the United States, a biological weapon, a chemical weapon, or maybe a cyber attack – well, then we weren’t going to be firing back with nuclear weapons.”
Huh? A cyber attack? Really? So, Bachmann thinks we should respond to a cyber attack with a nuclear weapon? Now that’s scary!
(Oh, and New Rule –to borrow a phrase from Bill Maher - if you can’t pronounce nuclear correctly, you have no business using the word.)
For those who worship at the alter of former President Ronald Reagan and believe as Sarah Palin does that “No administration in America’s history would, I think, ever have considered such a step that we just found out President Obama is supporting today,” it might be a good idea to check your history facts.
The first strategic arms reduction proposal (START) was presented by United States President Ronald Reagan in Geneva on June 29, 1982. Reagan proposed a dramatic reduction in strategic forces in two phases, which he referred to as SALT III at the time.
The Washington Post reports on May 10, 1982, while addressing the graduating class at Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois, “President Reagan, calling for ‘dismantling of the nuclear menace,’ Sunday proposed one-third reductions in strategic missile arsenals of both the United States and the Soviet Union.”
Hmm. No administration in America’s history, huh?
It just so happens that the New START proposes a one-third reduction of nuclear weapons by the United States and Russia.
Growing up in the era if the Cold War, I am delighted to see the disarmament begin. The Cold War premise of building a larger arsenal than the Soviet Union, creating and attaining more and more weapons to feel safe, was a false promise. It created a sense of constant fear, not safety. It was a fear fueled by warmongers and war profiteers. Sound familiar?
The Soviet Union finally collapsed under the weight of spending all their treasure on weapons instead of food. As author and executive editor of the New Republic, J. Peter Scoblic notes, “Soviet military spending remained enormous, devouring 15 percent to 20 percent of the USSR’s gross national product throughout the Cold War.”
Personally, I would rather we spend our treasure on educating our children at colleges and vocational schools, learning how to combat cyber attacks with knowledge instead of nuclear weapons.
“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 inevitable.
“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 nuclear power- 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.” – President Obama, Prague, May 5, 2009.
Cheri Cabot, Politics Correspondent
Cheri’s column, “Personal About Politics,” published every week, will reflect on how the life of a 60 year-old, middle class woman is affected by politics, policy and the current state of the nation - a look at the personal aspects of politics. Her column is part of Gather Essentials.
Cheri is a freelance writer, living in Southern California. She has two grown children and is the proud grandmother of three.
You can find all of Cheri’s columns on Personal About Politics at www.personalpolitics.gather.com, The Obama Watch at theobamawatch.gather.comor her home page here, www.ccabot.gather.com.