President Barack Obama plans to take a series of risky executive actions aimed at nuclear arms control, using his final six months in office to cement an elusive foreign policy legacy, according to The Washington Post.
Post columnist Josh Rogin reports national security members in the Obama administration's cabinet, known as the Principals Committee, had two meetings to review options for executive actions on nuclear policy — none of which require formal congressional approval and many of which are controversial and have already drawn the ire of GOP congressional leaders.
"By focusing on nuclear weapons, Obama sees an opportunity to cement a foreign policy legacy despite setbacks and incomplete efforts in several other areas," Rogin writes. "But by doing it unilaterally, without congressional buy-in, and in a hurried way, he risks launching policies that might not last much longer than his presidency."
Rogin, citing unnamed U.S. officials, reports nuclear cutback options include:
- Implementing a "no first use" policy for the United States' nuclear arsenal, which Rogin notes would be a "landmark change" in the country's nuclear posture.
- Pursuit of a U.N. Security Council resolution affirming a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons.
- Offering Russia a five-year extension of the already achieved "New START" treaty's limits on deployed nuclear weapons.
- Cancellation or delay of development of a new nuclear cruise missile, called the Long-Range Stand-Off weapon, because it's designed for a limited nuclear strike — something Obama doesn't believe the United States needs.
- Cutting back long-term plans for modernizing the nation's nuclear arsenal, which the Congressional Budget Office reports will cost about $350 billion over the next decade.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain are already up in arms, Rogin notes.
The pair fired off a letter to Obama last month warning him not to unravel their deal on nuclear modernization, which they said persuaded Congress to ratify the "New START" treaty, Defense News
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