Yesterday, President Obama met with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sam Nunn, and former Secretary of Defense William Perry to talk about nuclear weapons and nonproliferation. These four statesmen have been influential in the debate on a nuclear weapons free world. As former Cold Warriors and as a bipartisan group, their call for achieving a nuclear weapons free world has galvanized other Republican and Democratic officials to reconsider the current US nuclear weapons policy. President Obama’s meeting with them is another signal that he is interested in addressing the threats posed by nuclear weapons. You can watch a video of Obama’s remarks on the meeting here.
Shultz shared remarks with the press after the meeting. At the end, he states that nuclear weapons are not a bipartisan issue, but rather, a nonpartisan issue. Watch it here.
However, we will have to work to ensure that significant progress toward a nuclear weapons free world is made in order to translate Obama’s goals into reality. For example, nonproliferation and securing loose nuclear material are top priorities for Obama, but his FY2010 budget actually asks for 6.9 percent less money for the Cooperative Threat Reduction program (also known as Nunn-Lugar), which secures nuclear weapons material in the former Soviet Union. It is hard to imagine how Obama will meet his goal of securing loose nuclear material in 4 years without adequately funding programs to do just that.