Obama's new nuclear policy less hard-line than predecessors'; Thai red-shirt protesters rally despite ban; Baghdad rocked by eight explosions; Taliban takes responsibility for Peshawar bombing; Britain heads to General Election; and more

Top of the Agenda: Obama Releases New Nuclear Policy

 

The Obama administration releases (WashPost) its new nuclear policy Tuesday on limiting the use of nuclear weapons. According to officials, the administration will pledge not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries, whereas previous administrations said they might use nuclear weapons to retaliate against biological or chemical attacks. Obama's policy indicates that these countries must be in compliance with international treaties on nonproliferation, which leaves Iran as a potential target. Some Democratic legislators wanted the policy to say nuclear weapons would not be used first in conflict but Defense and State officials were concerned that move risked irking U.S. allies protected by the country's nuclear "umbrella."

The policy states that its pledge to not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states is revocable. It is not expected to cut (Guardian) the number of deployed warheads beyond the 1550 agreed last month with Russia in the START treaty.

Analysis:

In the International Herald Tribune, former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix says a Middle East nuclear-free zone should be considered for nuclear weapons and uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing that could also facilitate nuclear power ventures for generating electricity or desalinating water regionally.

While President Obama hopes to advance his agenda to reduce the number and spread of nuclear weapons, proliferation expert Henry Sokolski says the White House faces a gamut of obstacles in this CFR interview.

Background:

Read Obama's December 2009 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway.

 

PACIFIC RIM: Thai Red-Shirts Defy Ban to Rally

 

Thai red-shirt protesters defied (ThaiNewsAgency) a ban to rally in more Bangkok districts, despite a possible security crackdown and clashes with police.

China: U.S. Senator Charles Schumer attacked (FT) the Obama administration for its position on the U.S.-China currency dispute, after the U.S. Treasury delayed its annual report that may label China a "currency manipulator."

Read CFR's new Asia Unbound blog, featuring timely analysis from CFR Asia experts.

 

ELSEWHERE:

- Eight Explosions Rock Baghdad
- Taliban Claims Peshawar Bombing
- Britain Announces General Election

 

This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.

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