America's New Nuclear Disarmament Policy and the Transatlantic Relationship
In his speech in Prague, Czech Republic, on April 5, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama outlined his ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons. Obama confirmed the U.S. availability for dialogue with Iran and that he is flexible on missile defense in Europe, which the United States would need to pursue only if the Iranian nuclear threat materialized. He also delivered a strong message ("violations must be punished") to North Korea after it had just renewed testing of a long range missile. These proposals stand in almost complete reversal to the Bush administration's stance on nuclear issues. Europeans have in general been frustrated by the lack of interest in arms control shown by the previous administration. The important fact in the aftermath of the Prague speech is that the U.S. president has presented U.S. allies with a number of specific measures that serve both sides' interests and together provide a more viable view of the balance to be achieved between nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. They should concentrate their energy on making this agenda happen and transforming it into viable policy.