Lately, some on the wing-nut fringe of our side of the aisle have gone crazy over a leak that Obama planned to increase spending on nuclear weapons and portrayed him as a war monger because of it. The leak turned out to be true, but here is the rest of the story.
U.S. and Russian negotiators Monday began finalizing a new 10-year nuclear arms reduction treaty after President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev resolved the last major differences over a pact to cut both nations' deployed strategic nuclear warheads by about a third.
The treaty also will limit the aircraft and missiles that the U.S. and Russia could arm with nuclear weapons to between 700 and 800 each and create a new inspection and monitoring system to allow each side to detect cheating by the other.
"The negotiators are at work in Geneva right now translating agreement in principle into agreement in treaty text and protocols," said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions.
The negotiations began the day that Obama unveiled a 2011 budget proposal to boost spending on U.S. nuclear weapons by $620 million. The plan would modernize U.S. weapons facilities and ensure that the U.S. arsenal continues to work as designed as it ages and shrinks nearly two decades into a moratorium on underground test explosions.
The push for new U.S. and Russian nuclear arms cuts and the quest for more funds for the U.S. nuclear arsenal underscore the fine line that Obama must walk to pursue the ambitious strategy he unveiled last spring to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and eventually rid the world of them.
He must show other countries that he's serious about reducing nuclear arms if he hopes to win support for toughening the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the cornerstone of the international system to curb the spread of nuclear arms, at a conference in May.
At the same time, Republican senators whose support Obama needs to ratify the new pact with Russia have indicated that they could withhold their votes unless he boosted funds to overhaul U.S. warheads and modernize U.S. nuclear arms facilities… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <McClatchy DC>
Until we reach the point, if we ever can, of elimination nukes altogether, we shall need them as a deterrent. As ideal as unilateral disarmament may sound, thinking that other nuclear nations would not take advantage, if we did so, is foolishness defined. Our nuclear arsenal, like everything else in the Bush/GOP years, has fallen into disrepair and needs to be updated. So the increase in spending will dies not reflect an increase in the size of our nuclear arsenal, as has been claimed. Obama plans to reduce it. Since treaty ratification is not subject to reconciliation rules, Obama has no choice in the matter. He must accede to this GOP demand in order to reduce nuclear weapons.