This week President Obama hosts a 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC. The summit has an admirable goal of keeping nuclear materials away from terrorists and securing all nuclear materials by 2012. However, the Administration's recent initiatives on nuclear policy would result in less global stability, less security for the U.S. and its allies, and emboldened rogue regimes.
Troubling Nuclear Posture Review: On April 6, 2010, the Obama Administration released a delayed Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)-a mandatory evaluation of U.S. nuclear policy, capabilities and requirements for the next five to ten years. The NPR emphasizes the president's desire to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world. The NPR also included problematic policy shifts.
Questionable New START Treaty: President Obama and Russian President Medvedev recently reached an agreement on a follow-on to the 1991 START treaty after a year of negotiations. The treaty, which still requires Senate ratification (67 votes), would reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals by 30 percent-and it is only the administration's first step toward their ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament. This new START treaty raises several questions which the Administration must answer satisfactorily if the treaty is likely to gain the support of Senate Republicans.
Walking Away from Missile Defense: The Obama Administration has weakened U.S. missile defense efforts since its very first days in office. In 2009, the administration scrapped planned missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic-turning its back on two staunch allies in an effort to coddle a menacing Russia. A missile shield located in Eastern Europe would be a strong deterrent to counter the Iranian nuclear threat. The administration's plans for a revamped European plan are in their infancy and Congress has still not seen details on operations, costs and inventory requirements.
The Administration and Congress have also scaled back funding for missile defense programs. These cuts include sharp declines to missile defense research and development, leaving promising technologies in laboratories.
Congress should adequately fund necessary missile defense efforts as countries like Iran and North Korea build up their nuclear arsenals. The new START treaty must also not interfere with the U.S. missile defense program and the security of Americans and our allies. A robust missile defense program is critical in today's diverse threat environment.
Still No Crippling Iran Sanctions: A nuclear-armed Iran is the most pressing proliferation threat the world faces today. An Iran with nuclear weapons would undermine the global non-proliferation regime, could spur a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, jeopardize efforts to secure an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and increase the chances for nuclear technology falling into terrorists' hands.
One year ago, President Obama said there must be "real and immediate consequences" for countries that defy their responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. If the international community, led by the U.S., fails to act in the face of Iranian violations, the integrity of the global non-proliferation regime will be threatened, rendering this week's summit futile. President Obama and the Democrat Congress need to impose crippling sanctions on Iran immediately.