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Obama Takes Steps Towards World Free of Nuclear Weapons

Posted by Jill Marie Parillo on September 23, 2009

In his debut appearance at the United Nations today, President Obama reminded the international community that he has already "outlined a comprehensive agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons." Obama noted that this agenda was being implemented through U.S.-Russian nuclear disarmament negotiations, work towards a fissile material cut off treaty at the Conference on Disarmament and by sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as the first senior American representative, to the annual members conference of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

To work towards a safer America, President Obama put forward "four pillars" that he said are "fundamental to the future that we want for our children." The first pillar was "nonproliferation and disarmament," noting that we "must stop the spread of nuclear weapons and seek the goal of a world without them." The President also said that "today the threat of proliferation is growing in scope and complexity." To combat the nuclear threat, he said that his administration would work to secure ratification of the CTBT in the U.S. Senate and pursue an agreement to globally end the production of nuclear weapons material.

Obama also said that it was important to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) regime. To do so, the United States would keep up its side of the NPT bargain and work towards achieving nuclear disarmament. The United States will live up to their side of the bargain by committing to deeper cuts in the U.S. arsenal with Russia and completing "a Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that opens the door to deeper cuts and reduces the role of nuclear weapons" in U.S. security policy.

In the next few weeks a draft NPR will be finished by multiple U.S. agencies, including the National Security Council, U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of State.  "It was heartening to hear the President state that the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review will include deeper reductions in and a reduced role for nuclear weapons," said PSR Executive Director Dr. Peter Wilk. "However, he and Congress must make sure the nuclear weapons bureaucracy doesn't derail these necessary policy changes," added Dr. Wilk.

PSR Board President Evan Kanter also praised President Obama's "willingness to reengage the international community, since global threats, such as the nuclear one, can only be solved through global action." Dr. Kanter said that "although multilateral action is needed, so is U.S. leadership. To lead, we must take steps towards zero by ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and reducing the role U.S. nuclear weapons play in our security."

See Obama's full UN speech here.


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