Foreign Policy Blogs

The Presidential Candidates on Nukes

The Presidential Candidates on Nukes

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In preparation for the final debate this evening and the FPA live-tweeting of the event — to focus on foreign policy — the Arms Control Association and Bulletin of Atomic Scientists provide  nice overviews of the candidates records on key nuclear nonproliferation and arms control issues.

Kingston Reif, the director of nuclear nonproliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation and blogger at Nukes of Hazard, outlines President Obama’s record in a September 17th piece for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and Mitt Romney’s positions on key arms control issues in a piece for the Bulletin that appears today. (I would note that Nukes of Hazard also has several other useful overviews one can peruse in advance of tonight’s festivities, including the fifteen foreign policy challenges for the next President, and the Presidential candidates’ views on Iran.)

On Obama, Reif generally gives the President high marks for getting started out of the gate with his Prague speech, but concludes that, despite some progress, loose ends do remain: for example, the CTBT remains unratified by Congress, and the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs.  On the other hand, Romney has, according to Reif, shown a fair amount of naivete regarding foreign policy throughout his campaign.  He opposed New START, which was concluded and began implementation under Obama’s watch. He also seems to think Russia is still our Cold war adversary and that Obama has cut missile defense, which he has not done.

The folks at the Arms Control Association have a media backgrounder on nuclear weapons and the foreign policy debate which also covers Iran, global nuclear forces, nuclear terrorism and Chinese nukes.

Needless to say, tonight’s debate will be interesting, particularly given one of the contenders has a four year jump on his opponent, who has virtually no foreign policy experience.



Jodi Lieberman

Jodi Lieberman is a veteran of the arms control, nonproliferation, nuclear terrorism and nuclear safety trenches, having worked at the Departments of State, Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She has also served in an advisory capacity and as professional staff for several members of Congress in both the House and Senate as well as the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Jodi currently spends her time advocating for science issues and funding as the Senior Government Affairs Specialist at the American Physical Society. The views expressed in her posts are her views based on her professional experience but in way should be construed to represent those of her employer.