News / USA

Obama Proposal Could Help US-Russian Ties

Obama Proposal Could Help US-Russian Tiesi
X
July 03, 2013 3:44 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed deep cuts in the American and Russian nuclear arsenals, a move analysts say could make the world a little safer and save the countries a lot of money. But the experts say the biggest benefit might be an improvement in U.S.-Russian relations. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Al Pessin
U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed deep cuts in the American and Russian nuclear arsenals, a move analysts say could make the world a little safer and save the countries a lot of money.  But the experts say the biggest benefit might be an improvement in U.S.-Russian relations.

President Obama chose an iconic Cold War location -- the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin -- to make his new arms control proposal, offering to reduce U.S. nuclear warheads by one third. “I intend to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures,” he said.

The crowd in Berlin was enthusiastic.  But actually negotiating cuts, and getting any agreement ratified by the U.S. Senate, will be difficult.

Still, nuclear expert Heather Williams, of London’s Chatham House research institute, said talks will have broader value. “The number itself of reductions and number of weapons being drawn down, it is important, but it is not the most important part of arms control.  It is the act of talking to each other, and it gives the U.S. and Russia this opportunity to engage and to try to improve relations,” she said.

Williams said U.S.-Russia talks could also put nuclear arms reductions on the agenda for other nuclear powers, like India.

Nine countries have nuclear weapons, and more are trying to join the group.  Russia wants any talks to at least include China.

But the United States and Russia have about 90 percent of the world’s nuclear bombs, many of them controlled at underground facilities like this one, ready to launch on a few minutes’ notice.

So, Cold War-style U.S.-Russian negotiations are still needed, according to British government adviser Malcolm Chalmers at the Royal United Services Institute. “I do not think it is going to happen in the next few months.  I do not think it suits Putin in terms of his domestic position," he stated. "But I think, at some time in the next five or 10 years, I think it is a card which will be in the interest of both the U.S. and Russia to play.”

Although the United States and Russia deploy thousands of nuclear weapons on land, in the air and at sea, concern about a U.S.-Russian nuclear exchange is far diminished from the Cold War years.  

But Heather Williams said there is another motivation for reducing arsenals -- they are expensive. “Russia, as everyone knows, is under enormous financial pressure.  And they just have not invested in their nuclear infrastructure.  Neither has the U.S. to some extent.  But Russia can not afford these weapons, so they are more keen to get rid of them than the U.S,” she said.

So even at a time of reduced nuclear tensions, there is motivation to lower the threat even more, and perhaps to open a channel for U.S.-Russian dialogue on other issues at the same time.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid