The president's efforts to scale back the world's nuclear arms ambitions continued today as he signed a new nuclear arms deal with the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which Obama called a "milestone for U.S.-Russia relations," will slash both countries' nuclear arsenals by a third, pending approval by the U.S. Senate. American commentators were split over Obama's new, less bellicose nuclear policy — including his pledge not to use nukes against non-nuclear states that have signed the Non-Proliferation Agreement — and worldwide reaction was just as divided. Here's a brief round-up:
The U.S. president is a "cowboy," said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, quoted in the Tehran Times, comparing Obama to George W. Bush. "If Obama intends to follow in Bush’s footsteps, the [global] nations’ response will be the same crushing response they gave to Bush," he said, adding that the President was a "novice" whose policies were dictated by "Zionists."
"Ahmadinejad warns Obama not to follow Bush’s path"
China applauded Obama's move, reports Yang Yang in Xinhua. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu noted the "new expressions" in this review, and added that it was vital for Obama to "make drastic reductions in its nuclear weapon arsenal in an irreversible way and further lessen the role of nuclear weapons for its national security." China has already pledged to keep its nuclear arsenal "at the lowest level needed for national security."
"China says U.S. nuke weapons reductions important for int'l disarmament"
Obama's move doesn't go far enough, says an editorial in The Guardian. The assurance that the U.S. won't attack non-nuclear states with atomic weapons is "hedged with caveats." Obama's Nobel Prize win came in part because of his stated ambition to create a nuclear-free world. "That reflection has been dimmed by the many detailed concessions" to the U.S. military in this review.
"U.S. nuclear review: Poor posture"
"Obama's new arms control policy is a clear step in the right direction," says Andrei Fedyashin in RIA Novosti. The "courageous new provisions" in his policy review are evidence that the U.S. president has the "guts" to take on Republican opposition over national security. Critics who say it doesn't go far enough should consider that such "nuclear radicalism" would almost certainly doom START in the U.S. Senate. At very least, this move makes the nuclear button "slightly harder to reach."
"The evolution of Barack Obama's nuclear policy"
Both Obama's nuclear policy and START are "more cosmetic than anything else," says Shireen M Mazari in The Nation. This deal will leave the U.S. and Russia "way ahead of the rest of the world in terms of nuclear weapons." Not only that, but the U.S. continues to allow India and Israel to develop nuclear technology, thus "undermining the Non-Proliferation Treaty." Does Obama "really regard the rest of the world as downright foolish?"
"Obama's nuclear games"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- Rise of the machines
- 10 things you need to know today: October 19, 2014
- How ISIS gets its hostages
- Uncle Sam wants you to stay away from these countries
- Ban PowerPoint!
- The uncomfortable truth in The Giving Tree
Subscribe to the Week