What will another 4 years mean for non-proliferation?
The dust is settling from the Presidential elections and I'm wondering what President Obama's top agenda items will be for 2013. Where will national security and world peace fit in?
As I listened to his enthusiastic 2:30am victory speech I heard echoes of the central theme of his campaign (FORWARD) as he said he was looking forward to working with all members of Congress and especially those outside his own political party on tax reform, fixing the balloting system, creating a better immigration system, combating poverty and addressing "the destructive power of a warming planet." Add these items, of course, to a fuller implementation of health care reform and keeping the economy going and I'd say there's barely time for him to hug play basketball, eat dinner with the family, or play with Bo.
So, what will he do about Afghanistan, which is still occupied by more than 148,000 troops? And where will his commitment to work for a nuclear weapons-free world - one he so articulately outlined in his speech in Prague on April 8, 2009 - fit in, if at all?
Knowing that President Obama is dedicated to nuclear nonproliferation as evidenced by his urging ratification of New START, I went back to read his Prague speech this morning. I was amazed at the eloquence, the vision, and the boldness to challenge us to move forward against all odds to create a safer and more compassionate world and to come together to defeat the horror of a world covered up by nuclear weapons.
Today US and Russian leaders are meeting in Moscow for a post US election conference to address the principles of future U.S.-Russian strategic security cooperation. The conference will include presentations of key U.S. and Russian reports on scenarios for nuclear arms reductions and address the issues of multilateral disarmament, nuclear proliferation and the threat of nuclear terrorism.
These are important issues to add to the President's agenda and a 2013 work plan. If he can lead in this arena, surely he can keep us away from the Fiscal Cliff.
Bobbie Paul serves as Executive Director of Georgia WAND. She has spent almost 25 years supporting the vision of WAND’s founder – Dr. Helen Caldicott – to gradually rid the world of nuclear weapons. She has helped the Georgia chapter define its three areas of concentration across the state and Southeast region: Peace in Action, Environmental Justice and Empowering People to Act Politically. Paul has watch-dogged Savannah River Site (SRS) for over fifteen years and led campaigns to successfully restore Department of Energy (DOE) environmental monitoring of SRS in Georgia. Paul is a former theatre professional and the co-founder of a regional theatre company in St. Petersburg, Florida (now known as American Stage Company). She has worked for the US Department of State as a theatre specialist in Egypt and Jordan.