Tag Archives: Obama

Sorry to Disappoint: Nukes still matter and they’re not going away anytime soon


I don’t know if admitting this will make me look bad, but I suspect I’m not alone when I say: I knew close to nothing about nuclear weapons when I arrived at the Korbel School in 2011. Maybe that was a function of not hearing much about them as a student of international affairs in undergrad and as a Hill staffer with a foreign policy portfolio. When nukes came up, it was only in relation to Iran and The Bomb – admittedly fascinating, but relating more to big P politics than to nuts and bolts policy. For my generation, the Cold War ended and nukes went away. Except that they didn’t. Today, there are around 4,650 warheads in the U.S. stockpile. By 2018, under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), both U.S. and Russia are required to reduce their numbers of strategic nuclear weapons to about 1,550 each – still enough to annihilate each other, and the globe, many times over.

You are probably thinking one of two things: 1) I don’t know anything about this and it doesn’t affect me or 2) No less than POTUS said in Prague that the United States was going to take immediate steps to work toward a “world free of nuclear weapons”. The President’s vision was turned into concrete policy in his 2010 nuclear posture review (NPR), which had this to say:

By working to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and moving step-by-step toward eliminating them, we can reverse the growing expectation that we are destined to live in a world with more nuclear-armed states, and decrease incentives for additional countries to hedge against an uncertain future by pursuing nuclear options of their own (p. vi.)

We’ll get back to this. Continue reading

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One Too Many Missed Opportunities


When talking about elections in Iran, many people think back to what ensued following the 2009 presidential elections: mass demonstrations and outrage over a rigged election, which resulted in hundreds being imprisoned, tortured, put on mock trials, and killed. The 2009 elections left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth, especially Iranians living in Iran. The main opponent of Ahmadinejad in the 2009 election was Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who became the leader of the Green Movement. The peaceful demonstrations were squashed, and as of February 14, 2011, reformist candidates Mousavi and Karroubi, and their spouses, have been under house arrest. The events following the 2009 elections left many bitter. This resentment clearly carried over to the presidential elections this June, where many in Iran added their voice to those living abroad to boycott the elections, as the results for them were predetermined.

However, on June 14th, 2013, the results of the election took many by surprise. Of the eight candidates pre-approved by the Guardian Council to run, moderate candidate, Hassan Rouhani was elected as the new President of Iran. Holding a PhD degree in Law from Glasgow Caledonian University, Rouhani is seen as a moderate cleric who promised to improve relations with the West during his campaign. The question now remains: should Rouhani be taken up on his promise of renewed talks with the West, and how influential can he be in this undertaking? Continue reading

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