On a sweltering day this week in Berlin, Germany, President Obama squinted in the sun and declared in front of the historic Brandenburg gate that he will seek to cut the arsenal of deployed strategic nuclear arms by up to one-third.
He also said that he will pursue "significant bilateral cuts in tactical or battlefield nuclear weapons in Europe."
"Peace with justice means pursuing the security of a world without nuclear weapons, no matter how distant that dream may be," he said. "At the same time we'll work with our NATO allies to seek bold reductions in U.S. and Russian tactical weapons in Europe."
Wow, it all sounds great. However, Obama's National Nuclear Security Administration just released its plans for more than 60 billion dollars in upgrades and improvements to existing nuclear weapons including a $10 billion upgrade to the B61 tactical bombs based in Europe, according to Jay Coghlan, at Nuclear Watch New Mexico.
Huh? Doesn't that fly in the face of his rhetoric?
And, the U.S. stayed away from the March conference in Oslo on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons that was attended by 127 governments. And according to the Institute for Public Accuracy, the U.S. is not participating in a U.N. working group to develop proposals for multilateral negotiations to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. Yet, a "world free of nuclear weapons," is just what he says we should be headed for. Puzzling.
According to Alice Slater with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, the only new initiative that could actually move us towards the reality of a nuclear weapons free world is a proposal to begin negotiations on a treaty to ban the bomb. There are certainly ways to achieve a nuclear-free world, so that it isn't just a "distant dream." Probably a majority of citizens all over the world would begin now -- but it takes politicians to back away from the gargantuan corporate profits to be made by continuing our nuclear strategy that is dedicated to bringing wealth to the nuclear labs and the wider nuclear enterprise.
So, I ask you, isn't his rhetoric "newspeak"? The only way to achieve what he says he is determined to achieve is through massive public pressure. It is up to us.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" column is published every Friday in the Colorado Daily.