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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid