Under Secretary Ellen Tauscher for Arms Control and International Security today said disarmament and arms control efforts enhance international security and promote international unity.
At the Lafayette Library and Learning Center Lafayette in California, Ms. Tauscher said that the international security environment has changed dramatically since the end of the Cold War.
“The massive U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals inherited from decades of superpower confrontation are poorly suited to address the security challenges posed by suicidal terrorists and unfriendly regimes seeking nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.” -Ms. Tauscher
She highlighted that President Obama two years ago in Prague declared the U.S. commitment “to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” He noted that although his words were galvanizing to many, she said some have criticized the President as naive, and the goal as impossible or undesirable.
She discussed how far the United States has come practical steps and where U.S. government is headed on efforts to reduce existing arsenals (disarmament) and halt the spread of nuclear weapons (nonproliferation).
“Disarmament and nonproliferation are two sides of the same coin. Countries with nuclear weapons will be reluctant to disarm so long as they face the prospect that other states may acquire such weapons. Similarly, countries might pursue nuclear weapons because their neighbors or others possess them. You cannot succeed on nonproliferation without continued progress on disarmament.” -Ms. Tauscher
She explained that Obama’s Administration’s success in concluding the New START Treaty has helped to strengthen the nonproliferation regime.
“Disarmament and arms control efforts enhance international security and promote international unity on preventing new nuclear states and nuclear terrorism.”-Ms. Tauscher
She emphasized that nonproliferation helps create the security conditions needed to make further progress on reducing the roles and numbers of nuclear weapons.
“Since the President’s Prague speech, we have made significant progress on both reducing nuclear forces and strengthening the nonproliferation regime.” -Ms. Tauscher
She underscored that a core principle of the President’s approach is accountability. She added that states do not exist in a vacuum and their actions affect and influence the decision making and strategic calculus of other states.
“As the President said in Prague, “Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something.” -Ms. Tauscher
She noted that Obama’s Administration also has united the international community to pressure Iran to comply with UN Security Council Resolutions and its international obligations not to develop nuclear weapons.
“Seeking to cultivate a culture of greater accountability, President Obama hosted 46 countries at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April 2010. The Summit highlighted the need to work together to secure nuclear material and prevent illicit nuclear trafficking and terrorism. Participants agreed to secure all vulnerable nuclear material within four years. To measure our progress, South Korea will host another summit next March.” -Ms. Tauscher
According to Ms. Tauscher, in international relations, cause and effect can be hard to determine. She pointed out that there is no question that U.S. efforts to strengthen nuclear security and unify the international community on North Korea, Iran, and Syria have been aided by the Administration’s efforts to live up to its own treaty commitments and lead by actions, not just words.
“Signing and ratifying treaties generally get all the hype, but the real benefits come from implementation. This is true for the New START Treaty.” -Ms. Tauscher
She emphasized that the access and information derived from this Treaty provide important predictability and stability in the U.S.-Russian nuclear relationship. She pointed out that without that access and information, the risks of miscalculations, misunderstandings, and mistrust would be greater.
“As we implement New START, we are preparing for further nuclear reduction negotiations with Russia. Under the President’s direction, the U.S. Government is reviewing our nuclear requirements. The Department of Defense and other agencies will consider what forces the United States needs to maintain strategic stability and deterrence and consider factors such as potential changes in targeting requirements and alert postures.” -Ms. Tauscher