President Obama will deliver a speech Monday afternoon hailing international efforts to reduce the threat of loose weapons left over from the Cold War despite Russia’s decision last month to withdraw its cooperation.
According to the White House, Obama “will note the extraordinary progress that’s been made in securing nuclear material” as a result of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which is celebrating its 20th year. The program, resulting from a 1992 law championed by Democrat Sam Nunn (Ga.) and Republican Richard G. Lugar (Ind.), carries the goal of securing and dismantling nuclear weapons and materials in former Soviet states.
Still uncertain is how the effort will continue without Russia’s help. Russia’s decision to withdraw from Nunn-Lugar in October came as a surprise to Lugar, and it came just a few weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to expel the U.S. Agency for International Development. Obama’s speech will be watched not only for clues to how the president will keep Nunn-Lugar on track, but for evidence of how he plans to deal with Russia as well.
Obama has made nonproliferation a key priority as president and as senator before that. In 2006, he joined with Lugar, who was defeated in a primary this year and will leave the Senate in January, to sponsor legislation to expand Nunn-Lugar to include conventional weapons.
“He is committed to continued action to secure loose nuclear materials and weapons, and he has made it a priority of his international agenda, something that he always raises with our international partners and will continue to do,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said of the president.
Putin, whose background is in running the KGB, considers the collapse of the Soviet Union to be one of history's greatest tragedies. He blames America and is making it his life mission to resurrect the USSR.
Good news /bad news on Syria. Latest reports are that Assad feels he is doomed and would voluntarily step down except his own supporters would kill him if he did. This is potentially dangerous because he may now resort to using the chemical weapons he recieved from Iraq against the rebels. On the other hand, the rebels now have stinger missiles supplied by Qatar, which may fall into terrorist hands when Syria falls.