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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office 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 Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs