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Rapprochement of the nuclear fix

by on November 12, 2020

To put it mildly, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists wrote a couple days ago, “Biden will have a lot to do to fix the nuclear mess left by his predecessor.”

Trump has, The Bulletin continued “made the prospect of nuclear proliferation, a new nuclear arms race, and even the use of nuclear weapons more likely.”  His nuclear legacy alone “will be tainted by a series of failures including, but not limited to: eviscerating decades of trust-building between the United States and Russia, and withdrawing from the landmark multilateral deal to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” along with his “sheer disregard and contempt for diplomacy, science, expertise, and professionalism.”

The Bulletin emphasizes that one of the first acts of the Biden administration, which it continues to be quite ready to address nuclear issues, must be “the extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).”  New START, the Bulletin reminds us, “is the last remaining bilateral arms control agreement between the United States and Russia, providing an anchor of strategic stability between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.”

The The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the P5+1 countries (China France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), which set conditions on the nuclearization of Iran was abandoned by Trump.  This is the next immediate nuclear issue that The Bulletin recommends a Biden administration addresses.

The U.S. imposes sanctions on both Iran – a country without nuclear weapons – and North Korea – which has nuclear weapons.  Although Biden promises, according to The Bulletin, to engage in ‘sustained, coordinated campaign with our allies and others, including China, to advance our shared objective of a denuclearized North Korea’ the Bulletin makes no mention of of why North Korea might want to have nuclear weapons.

For almost twenty years the United States has considered North Korea to be part of an “axis of evil” that is going to destroy the world with weapons of mass destruction.  (The “axis” just happens to include Iraq, which we’ve been fighting over we-don’t-know-what for fifteen years, and Iran).  Before being part of the “axis” North Korea has been a foe of the United States for more than seventy years.

It’s commendable that Biden, according to The Bulletin, wants to reduce U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and only use nuclear weapons for defense any use of nuclear weapons would be devastating.  It’s clear that The Bulletin thinks Biden will engage in diplomacy to re-enter nuclear treaties.  He actually needs to go further and remove any reason for a country to want nuclear weapons.

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