Sen. Deb Fischer says President Barack Obama’s call to reduce nuclear arms is premature.
The president proposed entering talks with Russia aimed at reducing the nuclear stockpile of weapons in each country by a third. Such a reduction would bring the total number of nuclear weapons in each country to between 1,000 and 1,100. Obama suggested during a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany that his aim is to work toward a complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
“Simply put, I believe that this is bad strategic policy,” Fischer tells Nebraska reporters during a conference call. “A brief survey of the global stage makes clear the announcement to reduce one third of our nuclear deterrent couldn’t come at a worst time.”
Fischer notes the United States is reducing its nuclear capabilities in line with the START treaty. She says further calls to reduce nuclear arms are premature. The new START treaty, ratified by the Senate in December of 2010, limits nuclear warheads to 1,550.
Fischer prefers a different focus on the country’s nuclear capability.
“I have concerns right now that funding will be going to decommissioning and, of course my extended concerns with decommissioning, but also funding will go for that instead of modernization,” Fischer says.
Fischer says she wants a nuclear deterrent that is modern and effective, not aging and depleted.
Fischer says the country shouldn’t go beyond complying with the START treaty and if talks begin with Russia, we need to insist that Russia reduce its tactical nuclear weapons.
“I would hope that in any future discussions that we may have with the Russians that the United States steps forward and presses the leaders in Russia that they need to start addressing their tactical warhead arsenal as well as strategic,” Fischer says.
Fischer says talks have previously focused on strategic warheads, but that Russia has many more tactical warheads than the United States.
Fischer worries the president will promise that the country will act on its own.
“You can’t have this action take place unilaterally and that is my big fear as we move forward in any kind of discussions.”
AUDIO: Sen. Deb Fischer discusses the president’s proposal to reduce nuclear arms during conference call with Nebraska reporters. [1:15]