Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Biden Talks U.S. Nuclear Strategy: Pushing Increased Funding, Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and START Renewal

Posted by K.E. White on February 18, 2010

Biden talks up the Obama administration’s spending on the US nuclear arsenal. The apparent contradiction:  the President who has pledged to work toward nuclear abolition is now seeking to increase U.S. spending on their nuclear arsenal by $624 million. Total spending in Obama’s proposed budget would sit at $7 billion.

Watch Biden’s speech at WhiteHouse.gov.

So where does this play in the Obama administration’s play-book?  Most immediately are ongoing negotiations over renewing START—key senators have pegged approval to increased spending on America’s nuclear deterrent.  The Obama White House is also hoping to finally ratify the nuclear test ban treaty—perhaps sensing the dwindling time they will enjoy 59 votes in the Senate.  Ratifying the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and (at least) signing a START renewal would (under a best-case scenario) precede a Nuclear Security Summit next April Obama will host in Washington D.C.  And this all sets the backdrop to the main event: the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Conference this summer.

And pushing a robust nuclear arms reduction program doesn’t hurt as the Iranian nuclear dilemma drags on.

Karen Travers at ABC.com provides concise and informed coverage of Biden’s speech, specifically linking the funding announcement to START and hopes to ratify the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty:

Biden said that while the both Republicans and Democrats have questioned element of the Obama Administration’s nuclear nonproliferation agenda, including the costs and the reductions, he said he and the president “respectfully disagree.”

“As both the only nation that ever used a nuclear weapon, and as a strong proponent of nonproliferation, the United States has long embodied a stark, but inevitable contradiction,” the vice president said. “The horror of nuclear conflict may make its occurrence unlikely, but its very existence, the very existence of nuclear weapons leaves the human race ever at the brink of self destruction, particularly if the weapons fall into the wrong hands.”

Biden said that U.S. and Russian negotiators were “completing an agreement” on extending the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (START), which expired in December.

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