SUCCESSES AND SETBACKS
Obama made significant progress on other nuclear fronts. He won adoption of a plan to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and stepped up funding and efforts to secure nuclear materials worldwide.
But there were major setbacks as well.
Diplomacy and covert action have failed so far to stop Iran’s suspected quest for the bomb, and denuclearization talks with North Korea are in a deep freeze.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan withdrew its backing for talks on a Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty, effectively blocking negotiations to halt production worldwide of fissile material for nuclear arms.
Obama promised in Prague to aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits nuclear tests. But there was little chance of getting Senate Republicans to back another arms accord after New START.
Most of Obama’s successes in advancing his nuclear agenda occurred during his first two years in office and were, relatively speaking, easy compared with more fundamental arms reductions the president proposed in Prague.
The question remains: How many nuclear warheads, and nuclear bombers, submarines and missiles, does the United States need to achieve its strategic aims, which call for reduced reliance on atomic weapons?
The answers are supposed to come from the Nuclear Posture Review implementation study, which would finally stamp U.S. nuclear policy with Obama’s vision.