Obama announced a proposal to reduce the US nuclear arsenal significantly during a speech in Berlin Wednesday. He also called on Russia to begin negotiations with the US that would have them reduce their nuclear stockpiles as well.
The president also announced that he would be having the White House order the Pentagon to develop strategies that involve less mass-destruction weaponry, like atomic bombs.
President Obama’s proposal may involve a reduction in deployed strategic nuclear weapon armaments by as much as one-third.
He announced that the US would “seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures” via a conference to be hosted in the United States in 2016.
At the future conference Obama said he will lobby Russian President Vladimir Putin to dismantle 500 nukes, matching US reduction.
At home, Republicans in Washington criticized Obama’s proposals. They say that with the US currently in negotiations with Russia on a number of issues, including the Syrian conflict and trade regulation enforcement, such a move will weaken America’s position.
Senator Inhofe, Republican from Oklahoma, said that such cuts would be foolishly endangering US military security. Recent budget issues, resulting in conventional weapon cuts, have already weakened the US, the senator says.
Some Democrats have also made clear their disapproval of Obama’s plans. Both Democratic senators from Montana, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, say they have reservations about disarmament.
A spokesman for Russian President Putin said other nuclear powers should be included in such negotiations, The Hill reported.
The START treaty was signed by both the US and Russia in 2010, which sees the reduction of each nation’s nuclear arsenals to 1,550 weapons by 2015.
The president’s speech Wednesday echoes promises of aggressively pursing nuclear disarmament. Obama, however, has been criticized for simultaneously seeking to modernize the remaining US nuclear arsenal.