News Release

Obama’s Nuclear “Smoke and Mirrors”


JOHN BURROUGHS, johnburroughs at
Burroughs is executive director of the New York-based Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy. He said today: “President Obama ignored ongoing major efforts to change the frame on nuclear weapons. As stated in a June 6 letter to the president from LCNP and 23 other groups:

* “the U.S. stayed away from the March conference in Oslo on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons attended by 127 governments – and should participate in the follow-up conference in Mexico in February 2014;

* “the U.S. is not participating in a UN working group to develop proposals for multilateral negotiations to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

“The Nuclear Security Summits highlighted by President Obama aim at securing nuclear materials and do not address the dangers posed by the 17,000 plus nuclear weapons held by states.”

ALICE SLATER, aslater at
Slater is with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the Abolition 2000 coordinating committee. She said today: “President Obama’s nuclear proposals in Berlin are a tired rehash of U.S. nuclear policy, designed to maintain America’s global military superiority in a web of alliances entangling other nations in a U.S. sphere of nuclear weapons and missile ‘offenses’ under the ribs of a leaky nuclear umbrella. Instead of proposing the only new initiative which could actually move us towards the reality of a nuclear weapons free world — a proposal to begin negotiations on a treaty to ban the bomb — Obama chose to only distantly ‘dream’ of a nuclear free world, rather than take the essential steps to actually achieve it. Together with the four other Non-Proliferation Treaty-recognized nuclear weapons states, he boycotted last spring’s unique Oslo meeting with 127 nations addressing the humanitarian consequences of a nuclear catastrophe, and even refused to send a representative to the UN General Assembly’s new working group to develop negotiating proposals for nuclear disarmament ‘for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons.’ In the wake of the tragic nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima, it is particularly inept for Obama to propose a better controlled regime for nuclear power, when every nuclear reactor is a potential bomb factory.

“And it is ironic that he made this statement pushing dangerous 20th century, outmoded technology in Germany, a nation which had the wisdom to phase out nuclear power along with several other allies we could learn from — including Sweden, Spain, Italy and Belgium. The way to handle the ‘crisis’ in Iran and North Korea would be for Obama to call all the relevant parties to the table to negotiate a verifiable and enforceable treaty to outlaw the bomb.”

Available for a limited number of interviews, Cabasso is executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation, which works on nuclear policy. She is author of “Rhetoric vs. Reality: Nuclear Dangers in a Time of Growing Global Economic and Environmental Crisis.”

She said today: “More smoke and mirrors: announcing that he will seek negotiations with the Russians to reduce the strategic arsenal after it seems pretty clear that the Russians won’t cooperate (in part due to a variety of other U.S. policies); reaffirming the importance of maintaining a strong credible nuclear deterrent; announcing that he will seek ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban in a political context in which ratification will undoubtedly be tied to a new package of anti-disarmament measures; announcing that he will seek negotiations with the Russians to reduce tactical nuclear weapons in Europe when he should have announced that the U.S. would cooperate with the Dutch and Germans who officially want U.S. nuclear weapons removed from their bases; announcing a U.S.-led summit in 2016 on securing nuclear materials, while promoting the global expansion of nuclear power; characterizing the security of a world without nuclear weapons as a ‘distant dream,’ and not even mentioning the upcoming first-ever UN High Level Meeting on disarmament. The Berlin speech, ostensibly about ‘peace with justice’ is another rhetorical gymnastic workout riddled with cognitive dissonance; it means more grist for the grossly distorted disarmament discourse.”