Kissinger, Shultz back Obama push to eliminate nuclear arms

May 20, 2009

President Obama’s push to reduce the global nuclear arms threat received an endorsement Tuesday from some big names in U.S. national security policy.
With a new round of strategic arms talks getting under way in Moscow, Obama met in the Oval Office with former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Defense Secretary William Perry and former Senator Sam Nunn.
Obama, who outlined his vision of a world free of atomic weapons in a speech in Prague last month, said he welcomed the support of the bipartisan group, who have been pushing for over two years for the United States to lead an effort to eliminate nuclear arms.
“We do not want a world of continued nuclear proliferation,” Obama told reporters after the meeting.
“It is absolutely imperative that America take leadership working with not just our Russian counterparts but countries all around the world to reduce and ultimately eliminate the dangers that are posed by nuclear weapons,” he said.
“We can take some very specific steps in order to do that. We can revitalize our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We can work with the Russians as the two countries with by far the largest nuclear stockpiles to continue to reduce our dependence on nuclear weapons. We can move forward on a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty …  And we can lock down loose nuclear weapons that can fall into the hands of terrorists.”
Shultz, speaking on behalf of the group, said the four former U.S. officials supported Obama’s approach.
He did have one little quibble though. The group, he said, was really non-partisan, not bipartisan.
“This is a subject that ought to somehow get up above trying to get a partisan advantage,” he said. “And it’s of such importance that we need to take it on its own merits. And that’s the way we’ve proceeded, and that’s the way, at least it seems to us, you’ve proceeded.”
For more Reuters political news, click here

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama with Shultz and Kissinger in the Oval Office)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Politicians like Obama and many Republicans are the reason why proliferation just continues…. all politicans are truly concernced with is their power, and staying in power…. politicans are not nearly as concerned about nuclear weapons are they are concerned about remaining in office…. period

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

A real meeting of sound minds bending themselves backwards to ensure the world is a safer place. However there are rogue states led by unsound leaders who are determined to thwart good intentions. North Korea and Iran are not interested in peaceful use of nuclear energy; they are determined to flout the non-proliferation treaty. Iran has just fired its second long-range missile obviously to show Israel its muscle.A nuclear-guided missile could create havoc. These are dangerous war-games which need to be stopped. The dangers of proliferation should be seriously considered.

Posted by Pancha Chandra | Report as abusive

A nonnuclear world wasn’t the tune that 85-year old Henry Kissinger (R) was singing when he was President Nixon’s (R) and President Ford’s (R) national security advisor (1968-73) and secretary of state (1973-77), during the conduct, U.S. withdrawal from, and immediate aftermath of the SE Asia counterinsurgency (Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos). We don’t recall Mr. Kissinger stepping up to the plate on the nuclear arms elimination issue during the past 32 years either…until now for some reason. Wasn’t he an advisor to President Bush (the son) (R)? We don’t believe Mr. Kissinger has changed his mind on the nuclear arms issue.

Likewise, 88-year old George Shultz (R) was humming a very aggressive nuclear arms tune when he was President Reagan’s (R) secretary of state (1982-89). And as with his republican colleague just mentioned, we don’t recall Mr. Shultz calling for nuclear arms elimination during the past 20 years since he left the state department. The Reagan administration was very aggressive on nuclear arms expansion, even to the point of Mr. Reagan essentially turning down Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev’s offer of nuclear disarmament at Reykjavík, Iceland, on October 12, 1986. Mr. Reagan was clinging to his fantasy star wars program of missile defense which still doesn’t work to this day. We don’t believe that Mr. Shultz has changed his mind on the nuclear arms issue either.

Posted by Ariel | Report as abusive

The threat of nuclear terrorism after 9/11 caused a number of minds to be changed about nuclear weapons. Many people, I am convinced, believe that had the terrorists been able to acquire nuclear weapons through theft, purchase or by building them, they would have used the nuclear weapon. The most effective way of preventing nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists is to eliminate nuclear weapons and control the development of fissile materials. This calls for more control through ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, an effective follow-on agreement to START, development of a fissile material treaty and reinvigoration of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty regime.

Posted by Larry Pullen | Report as abusive

[…] the “four statesmen” who penned that January 2007 Wall Street Journal editorial strongly support President Barack Obama’s nuclear arms control agenda. Most recently, they spoke up about his […]

Posted by ‘They are saluting his commitment to disarmament’ | Report as abusive

[…] in Nevada, which makes him a stalwart opponent of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and of the Obama-Kissinger-Shultz-Nunn-Perry global zero vision. But on the START treaty itself, Kyl seems to know that it’s a modest treaty that really just […]

Posted by Wonk Room » Kyl’s START Op-ed Demonstrates Weakness of Treaty Critics | Report as abusive