nuclear

60 Second Expert: Cuba and Congress — Who Will Change First?

After nearly half a century of frozen relations with Cuba, Congress is considering steps that could create thousands of American jobs and establish a valuable cultural exchange between the two countries. On June 30, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act (HR 4645) narrowly passed the House Agriculture Committee by a 25-20 vote. If enacted, this bill would finally allow Americans to travel to Cuba and reduce restrictions on agricultural exports to the island. Although it must still pass the House Financial Services Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee before reaching the House floor, this event is noteworthy because unlike similar measures that have died in committees, HR 4645 was actually brought to a vote.

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Part 1-The Futility of Trying to Debate Our Way to Disarmament

You’re passionate about the abolition of nuclear weapons. But isn’t owning up to an uncompromising position on disarmament just a way of marginalizing yourself? Perhaps not. In the long run, those in the margins — grassroots types sprouting by the side of the road — may have a better chance of implementing disarmament than those steering policy limos down the middle of the road.

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Nuclear Follies

If the Russian army makes the bold decision to invade Germany, we can just nuke those damn communist soldiers into oblivion with the 200 tactical nuclear weapons we deploy in Europe. Oh, they’re not communists any longer? Oh, Germany and Russia have excellent relations at the moment? Oh, the Cold War has been over for two decades?

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NATO Goes Anti-Nuclear?

President Obama’s call for a nuclear-weapons-free world in Prague last April unleashed a great outpouring of support from international allies and grassroots activists demanding a process to actually eliminate nuclear weapons. One recent and unexpected initiative has come from America’s NATO allies. Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway have called on NATO to review its nuclear policy and remove all U.S. nuclear weapons currently on European soil under NATO’s  “nuclear sharing” policy. Despite U.S. insistence on strict adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which prohibits the transfer of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear weapons states, several hundred U.S. nuclear bombs are housed in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Turkey.

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Obama Boosts Nukes

On February 1, the Obama administration delivered a budget request calling for a full 10 percent increase in nuclear weapons spending next year, to be followed by further increases in subsequent years.

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Can Beijing and Moscow Help with Tehran?

The real test of President Barack Obama’s dealing with China and Russia will be whether he can persuade them to support U.S. pressure on Iran to give up its nuclear weapons aspirations. Obama is reported to have lobbied China on that issue during his recent visit. He also broached the topic with Russia in the recent past for the same purpose, but with little success.  Iran denies wanting to join the nuclear club, but Washington has no faith in those denials.

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