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Obama's push on nuclear arms control faces hurdles

Friday, February 19, 2016

Subject

The US arms control agenda.

Significance

Despite having less than a year in office, President Barack Obama's administration is sustaining a high-profile arms control agenda in 2016. The administration wants to restore several damaged treaties with Russia, broaden Russia-China-US cooperation on various non-proliferation issues and leave Obama's successor a firm nuclear security architecture. Arms control is a consultative, long-term diplomatic process, and is susceptible to the political imperatives of more immediate regional crises.

Impacts

  • Tacit US support of Israeli nuclear opacity will undermine arms control efforts in the Middle East.
  • Post-Obama arms control efforts are likely to focus on the security of nuclear material, rather than strategic arms reductions.
  • Senate retirements will undermine US arms control advocacy in Congress.
  • The United States will retain its nuclear arsenal indefinitely despite criticism from its allies.
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