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START for 2, a finish for 45!
President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit is actually a long term ‘only nuke country’ strategy

On April 13, 2010, 47 heads of state met in Washington to attend the much hyped Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). It was seen as one of Obama’s most noteworthy foreign policy initiatives, especially after his most momentous domestic accomplishment – passage of the health care reform bill. This summit finds its roots in the speech given by Obama, last year at Prague, on his vision for a nuclear weapon-free world. But the summit was more like a cliché, wherein the 47 heads of state simply sat and discussed the risks of nuclear terrorism and plausible options to prevent the trafficking of nuclear materials; and thus a future nuclear terrorist attack.

Just a few days before the NSS, Obama had also concluded the new START – in other words, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (held historically between US and Russia). Under this ‘new’ START treaty, Russia and the US would apparently reduce their respective operational nuclear warheads by one-third of their present levels. This news has been forwarded by the Obama camp as “a very exciting news!” Fortunately for us, there’re few political commentators who believe likewise. To consider the news “exciting” is as ludicrous a proposition as can be imagined. Neither US nor Russia mean a word of what they’ve “agreed” upon. An ultra brief review of history and current statistics would be enough for us to persuade you to join our camp.

US and Russia control about 90% of the 27,000 nuclear weapons being strutted around today. Even if one considers – for the sake of the argument – that there would be 1/3rd reduction, the arsenal both these countries would be left with would be, surprise surprise, still what was there previously. Where’s the catch? The new START talks about reducing “operational warheads” (thus reducing their total to 1550) and does not refer at all to the total nuclear stockpile. Further, the irascible issue of Highly Enriched Uranium has been conveniently swept under the carpet. Out of over 1,670 tonnes of Highly Enriched Uranium available globally, over 95% is in US and Russia.

If US was trying to pull a fast one through the new START, the recent US federal budget did something that we would call ‘perfectly American in nature.’ The new budget for research and development into nuclear weapons is estimated to be more than $7-8 billion. The Nuclear Posture Review (released on April 06, 2010 by the US government) plunders on, giving US the scope of “first using” nuclear weapons in any war against a nuclear nation (including Iran and North Korea).

Compare this with the similar hogwash that was the Nuclear Security Summit. All the commitments made by the heads of state (some of them openly nuclear) were termed “non-binding!” While Obama commented strongly that he would move towards ensuring sanctions against Iran to ensure its compliance, no one felt it gravely concern-worthy that Israel chose to simply give the event a miss.

In fact, we should have too...

By:- Sray Agarwal

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