As the nation’s largest peace organization, of course we commented on the announced agreements between Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev. Kevin Martin, the group’s executive director, stated:
It’s good to see the U.S. and Russia making progress on nuclear arms reductions again, and the Obama’s Administration’s overall priority on rebuilding a positive relationship with Russia is extremely important. However, the announced reductions are fairly modest. The conventional wisdom is that these proposed cuts are the best that can be accomplished right now, but the two countries could go further and announce the initiation of negotiations to eliminate all nuclear weapons, which would be accomplished in stages over the next ten years or so.
Clearly, two ongoing sticking points are Star Wars, so-called “missile defense,” and NATO expansion. Unless the U.S. moves toward Russia’s position on those issues, gaining the close cooperation the U.S. needs from Russia on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues will be very difficult.
Instead of sending more troops and military supplies through Russia, the U.S. and international community should increase funding for Afghan-led humanitarian aid, development work, and landmine clean up while supporting regional diplomacy. Peace Action calls for an immediate halt to air and Predator drone strikes that kill, injure and traumatize innocent civilians and drive people to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Peace Action was founded over 50 years ago to abolish nuclear weapons and holds leadership roles in several coalitions working on disarmament issues and progressive foreign policy, including chairing a group of over 80 leaders working to change U.S. policy in the Afghanistan region. Don’t forget to sign our petition here.