12:01 PM, Mar 19, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
President Obama has made nuclear nonproliferation one of his highest priorities but, as the Wall Street Journal explains, the White House’s weak response on Ukraine is sending all the wrong messages.
It’s worth recalling that when the Soviet Union collapsed, Ukraine was left with an enormous nuclear arsenal of 1,800 weapons, more than any other country at the time except for Russia and the United States. The Clinton administration was concerned that these warheads might get loose and convinced Kiev to sign on to the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, with which Ukraine agreed to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and send its nuclear arsenal to Russia—in exchange for security "assurances" from Russia, the U.S. and United Kingdom that included “promises to respect Ukraine's independence and sovereignty within its existing borders, as well as refraining from threatening or using force against Ukraine.”
As the Journal notes, the Ukrainians had Russian aggression in mind when they sought those assurances. And yet by 1996 Ukraine had given up its entire nuclear arsenal—a nonproliferation success rooted in the world's “post-Cold War confidence in American power and deterrence.” All that has changed today. The Obama White House projects at best uncertainty and ambiguity. More often, the administration lets on that America is the problem and the world a safer more stable place with a smaller U.S. footprint.
Facts, those stubborn things, keep proving this American president wrong. The United States underwrites global security, and without Washington’s steady hand the world is a more dangerous place where rogue regimes and criminal kleptocracies like Vladimir Putin’s Russia fill the vacuum. Perhaps with the Ukraine crisis, Obama is coming to understand that agreements, arrangements, and institutions like the Budapest Memorandum, and nuclear nonproliferation more broadly, are simply academic fantasies without a strong United States to enforce them.
2:17 PM, Nov 14, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The latest ad from the Emergency Committee for Israel warns that President Obama might not keep his word on preventing Iran from acquiring nukes:
As the Emergency Committee for Israel executive director Noah Pollak tweets, "Obama didn't keep his word on health care or Syria, so why should he be trusted on Iran?"
7:35 AM, Oct 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Steve Hayes, with Mara Liasson and Charles Krauthammer, last night on Fox News:
A close reading of the red line.Sep 23, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 03 • By JEREMY RABKIN
It now seems to be the general consensus that President Obama’s Syria policy is a contradictory mess. But that’s only how it appears on the surface. Probe a bit deeper and it’s very seriously deranged.
3:07 PM, Aug 26, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Secretary of State John Kerry says the use of chemical weapons in Syria is "undeniable" and that the U.S. is considering how to respond:
9:47 AM, Jun 20, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Robert Zarate writes, for the Foreign Policy Initiative:
In a high-profile speech today in Berlin, President Obama announced his plan to “seek negotiated cuts with Russia” in order to reduce America’s “deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third.” The prudence of Obama’s plan, however, remains far from certain due to many stubborn problems.
9:36 AM, Jun 6, 2013 • By MICHAEL MAKOVSKY AND BLAISE MISZTAL
Six months after it was first hinted at, and a month after widespread reports surfaced, the United Nations, Britain, and France have all just confirmed the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Yet, there has been no U.S. response to Syria’s increasingly clear violation of President Obama’s publicly stated red line. This lack of action raises serious questions about the resoluteness of U.S. policy when it comes to another potential “game-changer” in the region: Iran developing a nuclear weapon.
12:07 PM, Apr 29, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Syrian brigadier general Zaher al-Saket revealed on Al-Arabiya TV that he had been given orders to use chemical weapons against rebels:
The video and translation are courtesy of MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute.
8:55 PM, Apr 25, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
The Obama administration now believes that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad may have used chemical weapons. Today the White House released a letter explaining that the American “intelligence community does assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specially the chemical agent sarin.”