Global Zero Summit

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
February 3, 2010

Today, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher delivered remarks at the Global Zero Summit in Paris, France. Under Secretary Tauscher said:

"I know Global Zero has set itself an ambitious goal of wanting to eliminate nuclear weapons during the next 20 years. The goal is admirable, and I thank you for the time and energy each and every one of you is putting into this effort.

"The nuclear arms race that characterized the Cold War cast a shadow over the lives of people everywhere -- especially those living in Europe and the United States. But today there is universal agreement that, as Secretary Clinton said last week in this great city, 'People everywhere have the right to live free from the fear of nuclear destruction.'

"And President Obama set forth an ambitious agenda in his speech in Prague last year. The president has embraced the vision of John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan of calling for a world without nuclear weapons.

"Those are not just abstract words for him. This issue animates the president, it's not one of those issues that an aide had to tell him about. He has put his political capital and muscle behind that vision."

The Under Secretary continued: "Nuclear disarmament is not the Holy Grail. It's only worth pursuing in so far as it increases our national security. I believe that the journey on the road to zero is perhaps more important -- than the goal itself. It's those concrete steps that we take that will enhance the national security of the United States and make the world a more stable place."

The Under Secretary then outlined steps which the United States is taking to reduce nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.

"On March 1, the Obama administration will release its Nuclear Posture Review, which will reduce role and number of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy. For the first time, there has been significant State Department participation in the Nuclear Posture Review. We have made sure to fully address all matters relating to our nuclear posture. We also have spent a significant amount of time consulting our allies because it is our goal to strengthen their security as well. At April's Nuclear Security Summit, the President will bring 44 nations together to advance his goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years, so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists.

"In May, we will strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime at the Review Conference and work with allies and partners to ensure that the rights and responsibilities of every nation are enforced. We are also working to start negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a treaty to halt fissile material production, so that we don't add to global stockpiles of highly enriched uranium or weapons grade plutonium. And, when we're ready, we will ask the United States Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

"Looking back, the United States and, for that matter, Russia, have not gotten enough credit for the steps we have taken to disarm. They have been substantial even though we all know we have a long way to go."

During a news conference in Paris, Under Secretary Tauscher spoke specifically about the nuclear arms agreement with Russia. She said, "As we are in the endgame right now of finishing the conforming of the Treaty, and the technical annexes and some other little negotiations that we have to do. We're looking forward to doing that this year and making sure that the START Treaty not only gets a great hearing but also gets ratified."

Read the Under Secretary's full remarks at the Global Zero Summit here.



New Mexico, USA
February 9, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I'd been waiting to see some results of the pushing of that "reset button", and I suppose of necessity talk comes before action or agreements the natural evolution of things...and indeed talk is cheap, compared to isolation of nations, containment, and regime replacement therapy.

However, every once in awhile I am duly impressed when by rhetoric therin lies evidence of realization occuring in the minds of world leaders that national security = common security, and vice versa as a reciprocal arrangement.

Thus spoke Sergei Ivanov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation;

"Dear colleagues, I must admit that recent years have proved specifically productive for Munich Conference activity because it has coincided with the end of inter-bloc confrontation and creation of the atmosphere of confidence and partnership. This refers also to the prospects of comprehensive and complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

Accordingly, more and more disarmament initiatives, such as the Hoover Initiative and the Global Zero Initiative, are being launched. Prominent public figures and politicians around the world are joining their effort under auspices of such organisations as the Luxembourg Forum and the Evans-Kawaguchi Commission.

Symptomatic shifts are also observed in the positions of certain states possessing nuclear weapons, including the USA, where plans are being developed to deploy strategic offensive arms in non-nuclear set-up.

Russia‘s strategic thinking is also being stepped up. Our point of departure is the assumption that nuclear weapons, while remaining the core element of strategic deterrence, cannot be regarded as a cure-all for the whole range of real threats and challenges. We believe that in future under certain conditions nuclear weapons may and should be eliminated. Dmitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, has on several occasions referred to that both in his written address to the Conference on Disarmament in March, 2009 and speaking at the 64th session of the UN General Assembly in September same year.

Security and stability in the context of nuclear disarmament require establishment of relationship between strategic offensive and strategic defensive arms. One cannot seriously talk about reduction in nuclear capabilities if a nuclear state consistently develops and deploys Systems aimed at providing its invulnerability to means of deterrence possessed by other states. lt is like a theory about a sword and a shield. Both are developing and one has to keep in mind the advantages of each of them."


At risk of sounding medieval I have to ask, "Is there advantage to be found in having the choice between being in the fire or the frying pan?"

But he closes with this, and it provides some room for optimism.

"Despite variety of opinions and views regarding the situation in disarmament, there is practically no doubt that nowadays risks substantially differ from those of twenty years ago. This explains the need for new approaches and vigorous efforts towards resolving emerging problems.

This is my sincere hope that today‘s discussion would contribute to a profound reassessment of the situation in non-proliferation and disarmament process as weil as of the role and responsibility of each state concerned in moving towards a nuclear-free world.

Now in Munich we have an opportunity to give mankind a much awaited signal that the “global zero“ idea is not just an empty phrase. Let us meet the challenge."

Ok then, let's use the swords to create a global shield against asteroid impact. Got a big'un coming close, and we should test theory on Apophos and see if humanity can create a working program.

It would be patheticly ironic on the eve of goodwill among men to be wiped out of existance for lack of preparation.


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