Sunday, August 30, 2009

Is Obama Slowing Nuclear Disarmament?

I've made it clear in previous posts that I believe that eliminating nuclear weapons is foolhardy and unrealistic. But that doesn't mean that I'm not in favour of reducing nuclear stockpiles. After all, we don't need to have the ability to destroy the world several times over.

This article in Physics Today details what some observers feel is a seven year delay in the plans for nuclear reductions agreed to by Obama and Medvedev. It is possible that, as outlined in the article, the seven years is just a placeholder to be replaced once a congressional review is complete. But if that was the case, why specify seven years at all?

Actually even the proposed targets seem to be less than satisfying in general. The US and Russia probably won't have to make any cuts in their delivery systems, and the further cuts to their strategic nuclear inventory are quite small compared to what the US has made since the end of the cold war.

Its possible that the agreement is just a political move designed to make it look like Obama is serious about reducing the number of nuclear weapons. Or its possible that this is just the fore-runner to a more serious agreement. Time will tell.

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