Monday, September 21, 2009

Wire: Obama Ready to Slash US Nukes

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2009 -- Newswire services this morning reported that President Barack Obama has requested the Pentagon conduct a radical review of U.S. nuclear weapons doctrine to prepare the way for deep cuts in the country's arsenal, the Guardian newspaper said Sunday.

Obama has rejected the Pentagon's first draft of the "nuclear posture review" as being too timid, the Guardian said, and has called for a range of more far-reaching options consistent with his goal of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons altogether, according to European officials.

The options include:
  • Reconfiguring the U.S. nuclear force to allow for an arsenal measured in hundreds rather than thousands of deployed strategic warheads.

  • Redrafting nuclear doctrine to narrow the range of conditions under which the U.S. would use nuclear weapons.

  • Exploring ways of guaranteeing the future reliability of nuclear weapons without testing or producing a new generation of warheads.

The review is due to be completed by the end of this year, and European officials say the outcome is not yet clear. But one official said: "Obama is now driving this process. He is saying these are the president's weapons, and he wants to look again at the doctrine and their role."

The move comes as Obama prepares to take the rare step of chairing a session of the UN security council on Thursday, the Guardian said. It is aimed at winning consensus on a new deal: exchanging more radical disarmament by nuclear powers in return for wider global efforts to prevent further proliferation.

(Report from newswire sources.)

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