Following President Obama’s historic April 5th speech from Prague in which he outlined how taking steps toward a nuclear weapons free world would make America safer and committed the US to achieving that goal, Senator McCain has stated his support for a nuclear weapons free world.
This is not the first time McCain has called for a world without nuclear weapons. While campaigning for president, McCain made a speech in Denver on the issue, saying,
The Senate will play a key role in determining how much progress is made toward achieving a nuclear weapons free world. Treaties, such as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and any negotiated agreement between Russia and the US to reduce our stockpiles and replace the expiring Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, will need to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes. Getting to 67 votes means that several Republican Senators will need to be on board. Hopefully, Sen. McCain’s public support for a nuclear weapons free world will help encourage other Republicans to consider and support the security benefits of pursuing a path toward a nuclear weapons free world.
While President Obama emphasized the importance of the US showing leadership as a way to bring other countries on board and support the non-proliferation regime, McCain said:
We have two countries in the world that could destabilise both parts of the world — the Iranians and the North Koreans. They both are on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them.
McCain’s assumption that Iran is working to acquire nuclear weapons is at odds with the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, reflecting the consensus of 16 US Intelligence Agencies, which concluded that Iran is not currently pursuing a nuclear weapons capability.
The Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair clarified how the intelligence community sees Iran’s activities in a recent hearing with Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and the Senate Armed Services Committee: