President Obama has put nonproliferation policy at the center of his vision of American security – and made significant advances to reduce the threat from nuclear weapons. Yesterday at the UN General Assembly, Obama not only pledged American leadership in the effort to strengthen international nonproliferation treaties, but gained Russian and Chinese support as well. Today, a meeting of the UN Security Council convened and chaired by Obama agreed to take significant steps to tackle the threat. These efforts directly relate to preventing rogue states like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. And on this front, President Obama was able to gain Russian support for a unified international response if talks fail with Iran. The U.S. has embraced a path that meets the nuclear threat with tough negotiations, strong safeguards, and an approach that builds on the strengths of other nations, rather than excluding them.
North Korea is likely to grab headlines over the coming July 4th weekend, as the regime has pledged to fire a missile toward Hawaii. But as David Sanger explains, “if your holiday plans call for spending the day on Diamond Head, it is probably not worth cancelling your plans: There is no evidence yet the North’s missiles can reach that far, and their aim is singularly unimpressive.” Nevertheless, North Korea is a real and serious security challenge – a challenge that worsened greatly over the last eight years under President Bush.
Nuclear proliferation presents a grave threat to American and global security. Unsecured stockpiles of weapons and materials are vulnerable to terrorists who can steal or buy a weapon on the black market and use it on a civilian population.
Nuclear weapons present perhaps the greatest threat to our global security. Yet, for eight years the Bush administration shunned the global arms control regime that has played such a crucial role in preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons. This week, President Obama sent a very clear signal that non-proliferation is back at the top of the agenda.