Obama on Russia, Iran

President Obama’s Prague speech ran the gamut from CTBT to FMCT to NPT to TD-2. But let’s just examine a handful of things to consider how they inter-relate.

Excerpts from the “full text”:http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/sns-ap-obama-text,0,3505727,full.story via AP:

On START:

bq. To reduce our warheads and stockpiles, we will negotiate a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia this year. President Medvedev and I began this process in London, and will seek a new agreement by the end of this year that is legally binding, and sufficiently bold. This will set the stage for further cuts, and we will seek to include all nuclear weapons states in this endeavor.

On a multinational fuel bank (“Angarsk”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/2072/the-angarsk-iuec-wants-you, “presumably”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1883/having-ones-yellowcake-and-eating-it-too):

bq. And we should build a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, including an international fuel bank, so that countries can access peaceful power without increasing the risks of proliferation. That must be the right of every nation that renounces nuclear weapons, especially developing countries embarking on peaceful programs. No approach will succeed if it is based on the denial of rights to nations that play by the rules. We must harness the power of nuclear energy on behalf of our efforts to combat climate change, and to advance opportunity for all people.

On Iran:

bq. Iran has yet to build a nuclear weapon. And my administration will seek engagement with Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect, and we will present a clear choice. We want Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations, politically and economically. We will support Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy with rigorous inspections. That is a path that the Islamic Republic can take. Or the government can choose increased isolation, international pressure, and a potential nuclear arms race in the region that will increase insecurity for all.

On Euro-GMD:

bq. Let me be clear: Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran’s neighbors and our allies. The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles. As long as the threat from Iran persists, we intend to go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven. If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile defense construction in Europe at this time will be removed.

Here, perhaps, we get the flavor of the disputed Obama-Medvedev letter. But maybe with more of an edge. I didn’t expect something that sounded so much like an endorsement of Euro-GMD, however conditional (“As long as,” “intend,” “if.”).

This could be read in more than one way. But it sounds “less and less”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1959/dept-of-media-criticism like Obama expects to get anywhere with the Russians on pressuring Iran. Perhaps the correct understanding of this speech is that he’s decided to let Moscow play good cop, since he can’t get a united front of bad cops.

How Euro-GMD will influence the atmosphere at the START talks is another matter.

Yeah, yeah, “light blogging”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1972/light-posting. Over and out.

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