Archive for December 31, 2010
Milestones on the Road to Nuclear Disarmament
“In recognition of the fact that President Obama is
consistently, diligently working to improve the national security
posture of the United States, Blog for Iowa will publish major addresses
by the administration concerning its policy towards nuclear
disarmament. Our intent is to be a voice to get the message out to
Iowans, something the corporate media seems uninterested in.”
New START Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation Ratified by the U.S. Senate.
From the President's News Conference on December 22, 2010
A lot of folks in this town predicted that after the midterm elections, Washington would be headed for more partisanship and more gridlock. And instead, this has been a season of progress for the American people. That progress is reflecting — is a reflection of the message that voters sent in November — a message that said it’s time to find common ground on challenges facing our country. That’s a message that I will take to heart in the New Year, and I hope my Democratic and Republican friends will do the same.
First of all, I am glad that Democrats and Republicans came together to approve my top national security priority for this session of Congress — the New START treaty. This is the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades, and it will make us safer and reduce our nuclear arsenals along with Russia. With this treaty, our inspectors will also be back on the ground at Russian nuclear bases. So we will be able to trust but verify.
We’ll continue to advance our relationship with Russia, which is essential to making progress on a host of challenges — from enforcing strong sanctions on Iran to preventing nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists. And this treaty will enhance our leadership to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and seek the peace of a world without them.
The strong, bipartisan vote in the Senate sends a powerful signal to the world that Republicans and Democrats stand together on behalf of our security. And I especially want to thank the outstanding work done by Vice President Joe Biden; the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John Kerry; and the Ranking Republican, Senator Richard Lugar, for their extraordinary efforts.
In fact, I just got off the phone with Dick Lugar, and reminded him the first trip I ever took as senator — foreign trip — was with Dick Lugar to Russia, to look at nuclear facilities there. And I told him how much I appreciated the work he had done and that there was a direct line between that trip that we took together when I was a first-year senator and the results of the vote today on the floor.
This all speaks to a tradition of bipartisan support for strong American leadership around the world — and that's a tradition that was reinforced by the fact that the New START treaty won the backing of our military and our allies abroad.
Ed Fallon & Iowa Progressive Radio
by Paul Deaton
On Wednesday, I appeared on Bradshaw at 98.3 WOW-FM in Des Moines with progressive talker Ed Fallon who was filling in for the host. During the half hour, we recapped of the New START Treaty ratification debate in the United States Senate and talked about what's next once the Russian State Duma ratifies New START and the treaty enters into force. The half hour passed quickly and I ran into Jeffrey Weiss, Director of the Catholic Peace Ministry in Des Moines, who was on with Ed the previous hour, talking about militarism and associated spending. Another friend was scheduled to appear on Thursday to talk about the Congo. It was like a continuation of the progressive holiday season at the radio station. I even left Ed a gift of organic apple butter made from the fall harvest in my back yard.
Ed Fallon does not get enough recognition for what he does for progressives on the Fallon Forum and we should not take his work for granted. In my case, the appearance provided a venue to counter the narrative that developed quickly in the wake of Senate ratification of New START. The narrative is that New START was such a heavy lift for the Obama administration that the nuclear disarmament policy initiative outlined by the President in Prague is dead. Nothing could be further from the truth and Ed helped get the message out.
Rose Gottemoeller thanked activists who advocated for New START after the Senate vote on the treaty. Gottemoeller is Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control, Compliance and Verification and the principal US negotiator for New START. During the conference call she indicated that the administration plans to begin negotiations with the Russian Federation regarding tactical nuclear weapons. This is unprecedented in the history of U.S. arms control and addresses one of the criticisms of New START, that it did not address tactical nuclear weapons.
Reuters also reported on an interview with White House coordinator for arms control, Gary Samore who listed nuclear disarmament items the administration is considering for 2011. The plain truth is that after eight months of work bringing members up to speed on the New START Treaty, the US Senate is better prepared to consider issues related to arms control and nuclear disarmament than it has been in a long time. The path is paved to advance the agenda on non-proliferation. A much different narrative than we are hearing, and closer to the truth.
As I drove home from the radio station, I tuned in and heard the first half hour of Hannity, which leads into the Fallon Forum at 7:00 PM. Once I got past the nausea caused by the hagiography of Ronald Reagan and by guest host Brian Mudd's plan to stimulate the economy by each of us going out and spending ten dollars on something we want at a small business, I realized how tenuous progressive radio is in Iowa. While the Fallon Forum has a growing audience, it is no match for the 17 million listeners Hannity claims.
We should do what we can to support progressive talk radio, and we can begin by wishing Ed Fallon a Happy New Year and thanking him for his work. Click here to send Ed an e-mail now.