Nuclear Disarmament

Will President Obama’s efforts make the U.S. safer?
By Jennifer Weeks, October 2, 2009

Peace activists have sought to eliminate nuclear weapons for decades, but now they have a new ally. President Barack Obama has pledged to negotiate new U.S.-Russian arms reductions, end U.S. nuclear testing and reduce the role of nuclear weapons in national defense policy. Obama argues that these steps, plus new measures to combat nuclear smuggling and theft, will make the United States safer. But critics say further nuclear cuts will embolden rogue countries like North Korea and Iran, which are widely thought to be seeking nuclear capabilities. Although the U.S. and Russia have drastically shrunk their Cold War arsenals, the United States still spends at least $52 billion annually on nuclear-related programs. Liberals and conservatives sharply disagree about addressing post-Cold War security threats with nuclear arms. But some experts warn that new, regional nuclear arms races could break out if the U.S. fails to rebuild global support for nuclear reductions.

The Issues:
* Can all nuclear weapons be eliminated?
* Should the United States end nuclear testing?
* Does the United States need new nuclear weapons?

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