Entries in Nuclear Arms (3)


Reagan-Era Officials Seek Nuclear Free World

SGranitz/WireImage(SIMI VALLEY, Calif.) -- Using the 25th anniversary of the historic Reykjavik Summit where Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev almost reached an agreement to completely eliminate their nation’s nuclear weapons stockpiles, a global disarmament group is launching a campaign to begin multilateral talks that would do away with all of the world’s nuclear weapons by 2030.

Beginning Tuesday, Global Zero, an arms control group, is hosting a commemoration of the Reykjavik Summit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.  The event will include a gathering of one hundred prominent political, military and business leaders -- including former secretaries of state George Shultz and James Baker -- who will call for the first multilateral arms talks aimed at full nuclear disarmament.     

On Oct. 12, 1986, Reagan and Gorbachev emerged from a white frame house on the outskirts of Iceland’s capital looking glum after the collapse of talks that had come tantalizingly close to reaching an agreement that would have done away with each country’s nuclear stockpile within a decade.

In the years since the Reykjavik Summit the United States and Russia have significantly reduced their nuclear weapons inventories through subsequent nuclear arms reduction agreements. However, nuclear weapons proliferation has increased as well, as India, Pakistan and North Korea have joined the nuclear weapons club.

Matt Brown and Bruce Blair, the co-founders of Global Zero, believe a new round of U.S. and Russian nuclear disarmament talks could jump-start a process that could lead other nuclear weapons countries to agree to the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2030.

"Our approach, our belief, is that the U.S. and Russia clearly need to lead. We still have 90 percent of the world’s weapons,” Blair told ABC News. He and Brown believe both countries should initially reduce their stockpiles to 1,000 weapons each, a level which might trigger China to join arms reduction talks.  

After that they envision a “critical mass” of the rest of the world’s nuclear weapons powers like India, the United Kingdom and France joining the process -- in effect creating a “domino effect” that would create international pressure for any remaining “outliers” to get involved in the process.        

Both Brown and Blair believe that reducing nuclear weapons stockpiles to zero would lead to the first universal verification programs which would only increase the international resolve in preventing countries like Iran and North Korea from pressing forward with nuclear weapons programs. "We can never get on that path unless we bring all parties to the table.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Top Senators on START: 'Believe it Will Pass,' 'Votes Are There'

Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., (L) and Richard Lugar, R-Ind. appear on ABC's "This Week." Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate has turned its attention to remaining legislative priorities for the lame-duck session, including continuing debate on ratifying a new arms control treaty with Russia, known as New START.

"I believe it will pass, and I believe there will be a vote," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, told ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour in a joint appearance with Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.

Lugar, a ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, has supported the treaty as well, working with Democrats to get the two-thirds majority of Senate votes required.

"Several Republicans will support it, and I join the chairman in believing that there are the votes there," Lugar said. "The problem is really getting to that final vote."

The Senate rejected an amendment Saturday seeking to remove language from the treaty's preamble, introduced by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who argued the language would restrict the United States' abilities on missile defense.

"There is no restraint, zero, none, no restraint whatsoever on our missile defense capacity," Kerry responded. "Secretary Gates says it. Secretary Clinton says it. The intelligence community says it. All of our military leaders want this treaty." 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


McConnell Says He'll Oppose START Treaty

Photo Courtesy - JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, announced Sunday that he will oppose the new START treaty.

“I've decided that I cannot support the treaty," McConnell said on CNN's State of the Union. "I think the verification provisions are inadequate and I do worry about the missile defense implications of it. The McCain amendment yesterday regarding missile defense was defeated, and I know the administration actually sent a letter up yesterday, indicating they're committed to missile defense. But an equally important question is how do the Russians view missile defense and how do our European allies view missile defense? And I’m concerned about it."

"I think if they'd taken more time with this — rushing it right before Christmas, it strikes me as trying to jam us," he continued. "I think if they'd taken more time — I know the members of the Foreign Relations Committee spent a lot of time on this but the rest of us haven't — and so all of a sudden we're once again trying to rush things right here before Christmas Eve. I think that was not the best way to get the support of people like me.”

McConnell added that the timing of the Senate vote remains up in the air.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio