June 19, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today released the following statement in response to President Obama’s speech in Berlin announcing negotiations with Russia to reduce further the United States strategic nuclear arsenal by up to one-third:
“The president’s announcement to pursue negotiations with Russia to reduce U.S. deployed strategic nuclear warheads by up to one-third represents the triumph of hope over experience: hope that a U.S. disarmament example would encourage other countries to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear arsenals; hope that negotiations with Russia would “reset” relations; and hope that reducing the role of nuclear weapons would make the world a safer place. Instead, our experience has been that nuclear arsenals—other than ours -- are on the rise, Russia defies us at almost every turn, efforts to curb the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran are failing, and our allies grow increasingly uneasy about the reliability of U.S. nuclear guarantees.
“Now is not to the time to pursue further strategic nuclear force reductions. First, the commitment by the president and Congress to modernize our nuclear forces, in return for ratification of the New START Treaty, remains unfulfilled; second, there are concerns about Russian compliance with existing nuclear arms control treaties that must be addressed; third, the Senate was clear during consideration of New START that the most urgent task is to eliminate the almost 10-1 disparity in tactical nuclear weapons; and finally, a country whose conventional military strength has been weakened due to budget cuts ought not to consider further nuclear force reductions while turmoil in the world is growing.
“Two years ago, 41 senators wrote to the president urging him to consult first with Congress before directing changes to U.S. nuclear weapons policy or offering proposals to the Russian Federation for further nuclear arms reductions. He ignored this advice. As a result, the president has made it difficult to achieve the consensus necessary to sustain the significant changes to the nation’s strategic posture that he now contemplates.
“In the days and months ahead our nation will have an important conversation about the future of our nuclear deterrent. Will we follow the president on a path toward nuclear disarmament, or will our nation maintain a modern nuclear arsenal second to none? I do not believe the American people will support the president’s policy, which will serve only to weaken our nuclear deterrent and our ability to deal with threats to our strategic interests in the years to come.”