Expert comment: ‘Obama’s nuclear policy wish-list appears neither politically viable nor diplomatically wise’

Posted by ap507 at Aug 19, 2016 12:30 PM |
University of Leicester experts discuss the Obama Administration’s nuclear legacy

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 19 August 2016 

Dr Andrew Futter is available to discuss Obama’s nuclear policy and the White House’s nuclear options on ajf57@leicester.ac.uk

Without broad approval at home or abroad Obama’s nuclear policy wish-list appears neither politically viable nor diplomatically wise in the longer term, according to experts from the University of Leicester.

Dr Andrew Futter and PhD student James Johnson from the University of Leicester Department of Politics and International Relations have written an article for Think: Leicester, the University’s platform for academic opinion, discussing the Obama Administration’s desperate search to find a policy to secure the President’s legacy once he leaves office.

The article highlights some of the options under consideration by the White House, including extending the New START agreement with Russia and cutting back on plans for modernising US nuclear forces.

In the article they write: “The Obama Administration is currently discussing a number of proposals to secure the President’s nuclear non-proliferation legacy in his last few months in office.

“Despite the hype which surrounded the 2009 Prague Speech, in which the President sought to revive the idea of nuclear disarmament, and the successful negotiation of a new strategic arms control agreement with Russia in 2010, many feel that the ‘global zero’ agenda has stalled markedly in subsequent years. As a result, the Obama team are desperate to find a policy or set of initiatives that will help secure his legacy, especially as he is plagued by challenges on other policy fronts.

“Critics have criticised a volte-face on nuclear modernisation on the grounds that any radical changes would undermine the post-Cold War nuclear umbrella (or ‘extended deterrence’) that U.S. allies in Europe and East Asia currently enjoy.

“Even the perception that major changes to the mainstays of Washington’s nuclear posture were in the offering could seriously impair U.S. credibility and reputation, and simultaneously embolden its adversaries.

“Consternation of this kind has led to several well placed defence analysts to recommend that Washington should push ahead with its nuclear modernisation agenda and quash any speculation relating to changes to U.S. nuclear policy.

“The lack of traction on the domestic front and mounting criticism and alarm on the international front has complicated the task for Obama in securing his legacy in his final months in power. And whether it’s Trump or Clinton with the finger on the nuclear button in 2017, without broad approval at home or abroad Obama’s nuclear policy wish-list appears neither politically viable nor diplomatically wise in the longer term.”

Read the full article ‘Nuclear No First Use and President Obama’s Legacy’ hosted on Think: Leicester here: https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/think-leicester/politics-and-international-relations/2016-1/nuclear-no-first-use-and-president-obama2019s-legacy 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information contact Dr Andrew Futter on ajf57@leicester.ac.uk

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