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Obama Addresses Nonproliferation Symposium As His “Flexible” Strategy With Russia Falls Apart

- December 3, 2012

Will Obama's Remarks Today At The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Symposium Address Russia's Recent Withdrawal From The Decades-Old Nonproliferation Agreement?

Obama Will Deliver Remarks Today At The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Symposium, Barely A Month After Russia Withdrew From The Twenty-Year-Old Partnership. "It's a diplomatic day for President Obama, as he talks about securing nuclear weapons and meets with the leader of an Eastern Europe ally. Late this afternoon, Obama delivers remarks at the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) symposium, a project aimed at identifying "loose nukes" in the wake of the Cold War. 'On the 20th anniversary of the CTR program, the President will note the extraordinary progress that's been made in securing nuclear material,' says the White House schedule." (David Jackson, "Obama To Hail Nuclear Security," USA Today, 12/3/12)

Obama Touted Nuclear-Nonproliferation As His Top Foreign Policy Initiative

In 2008, Obama Made Nuclear Nonproliferation A Centerpiece Of His Foreign Policy Agenda. OBAMA: "On the broader issue of nuclear proliferation, this is something that I've worked on since I've been in the Senate. I worked with Richard Lugar, then the Republican head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to pass the next stage of what was Nunn-Lugar so that we would have improved interdiction of potentially nuclear materials." (Barack Obama, ABC Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Manchester, NH, 1/5/08)

  • Obama Called Nonproliferation "The Most Significant Foreign Policy Issue That We Confront." OBAMA: "Well, as I said, I've already been working on this. And I think this is the most significant foreign policy issue that we confront." (Barack Obama, ABC Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Manchester, NH, 1/5/08)

In October, Russia Announced It Won't Renew Pact On Nuclear Weapons With U.S.

In "The Latest In A Series Of Hitches In Relations," Russia Has Announced It "Will Not Renew A Decades-Old Agreement With Washington On Dismantling Nuclear And Chemical Weapons When It Expires Next Year." "Russia will not renew a decades-old agreement with Washington on dismantling nuclear and chemical weapons when it expires next year, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying on Wednesday. The death of the 1991 agreement, which had been renewed twice, is the latest in a series of hitches in relations between the United States and Russia and casts doubt on the future of the much-vaunted 'reset' in relations between the Cold War-era foes." ("Russia Says It Will Not Renew Arms Agreement With U.S.," Reuters, 10/10/12)

Russia's Refusal To Renew The Nunn-Lugar Agreement Is A "Potentially Grave Setback In The Already Fraying Relationship Between The Former Cold War Enemies." "The Russian government said Wednesday that it would not renew a hugely successful 20-year partnership with the United States to safeguard and dismantle nuclear and chemical weapons in the former Soviet Union when the program expires next spring, a potentially grave setback in the already fraying relationship between the former cold war enemies." (David M. Herszenhorn, "Russia Won't Renew Pact ON Weapons With U.S.," The New York Times, 10/10/12)

  • "The Plan To End The Nunn-Lugar Program Appears To Be The Latest Step By The Russian Government In An Expanding Effort To Curtail American-Led Initiatives." "The plan to end the Nunn-Lugar program appears to be the latest step by the Russian government in an expanding effort to curtail American-led initiatives, and especially the influence of American money, in various spheres of Russian public policy." (David M. Herszenhorn, "Russia Won't Renew Pact ON Weapons With U.S.," The New York Times , 10/10/12)
  • The Announcement Came Shortly After Russia Expelled USAID And As "The Kremlin Has Been Hewing To A Distinctly Anti-American Tone" In Its Domestic Politics. "The move comes just a few weeks after Russia announced it was expelling the U.S. Agency for International Development, the American foreign-aid program. Earlier this week, UNICEF also announced that it will wind up its operations in Russia by the end of the year. On Wednesday evening, Interfax quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying there was no connection between the shutdown of the aid programs and the end of the weapons agreement. But the Kremlin has been hewing to a distinctly anti-American tone as it attempts to portray its domestic opponents as agents of the United States." (Will Englund, "Russia No Longer Wants U.S. Aid On Nuclear Arms Security," The Washington Post , 10/10/12)

Obama's Offer Of "Flexibility" On Missile Defense Met With Russian Defiance

"In A Private Conversation About The Planned U.S.-Led NATO Missile Defense System In Europe, Obama Asked Outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev For Space On The Issue." (Brianna Keilar, "Open Mic Catches Obama Asking Russian President For Space On Missile Defense,"CNN Politics , 3/26/12)

Obama To Then-Russian President Medvedev: "After My Election I Have More Flexibility." OBAMA: "On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it's important for him to give me space." MEDVEDEV: "Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…" OBAMA: "This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility." MEDVEDEV: "I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir." (Jake Tapper, "President Obama Asks Medvedev For 'Space' On Missile Defense - 'After My Election I Have More Flexibility,'" ABC News , 3/26/12)

Obama's Message To Russia On Missile Defense: "Let Me Get Reelected First…Then I'll Have A Better Chance Of Making Something Happen." "In their joint statement to reporters here, President Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev spoke carefully about continuing discussions on the sensitive issues of European missile defense. But in an unscripted moment picked up by camera crews, the American president was more blunt: Let me get reelected first, he said, then I'll have a better chance of making something happen." (David Nakamura And Debbi Wilgoren, "Obama Tells Medvedev Solution On Missile Defense Is Unlikely Before Elections," The Washington Post , 3/26/12)

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