President Obama, in the State of the Union last night, highlighted some of the nuclear challenges the U.S. faces today.
On North Korea’s recent nuclear test, the president emphasized that the U.S. joins the international community in condemning North Korea’s actions, which are in violation of UN resolutions:
“The regime in North Korea must know that they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations. Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further, as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense, and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats.”
Working with international partners will also be key to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, President Obama noted. Concerns about Iran’s past and present nuclear program continue, but with the next round of P5+1-Iran talks scheduled for February 26, the window for a negotiated solution is open.
“The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.”
The president went on to emphasize the U.S. commitment to global nonproliferation efforts, saying the U.S. “will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons.”
The U.S. and Russia, who possess over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, have made progress towards trimming Cold War arsenals under agreements like the New START treaty. Another round of reductions will strengthen U.S. security by allowing us to eliminate costly, unnecessary nuclear capabilities and invest in a 21st century arsenal, while maintaining strategic stability with Russia.
President Obama committed to working with Russia on the next step in strategic nuclear reductions, saying, “We will engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals, and continue leading the global effort to secure nuclear materials that could fall into the wrong hands”.
While State of the Union did not deal in specifics of nuclear policy, the president clearly laid out the nuclear challenges the U.S. faces. These nuclear challenges are national security priorities and will require strategic, nonpartisan solutions.