How Will Obama's Nuclear Cuts Play in Asia?
How will Obama's nuclear cuts play out in Asia?
During his State of the Union address, President Obama pledged to further cut America's nuclear arsenal. The exact figure wasn't specified, but it's been reported that the goal is to reduce the force from the current 1,700 "deployed weapons" down to 1,000, provided some kind of deal can be reached with Russia.
While China's nuclear arsenal is tiny in comparison, it has been undergoing a process of modernization and C. Raja Mohan argues that China will continue to stand aloft from any disarmament talks for the time being:
This approach leaves Beijing much leeway in responding to Obama's latest nuclear initiative. It allows Beijing to hold the high diplomatic ground on supporting the long-term goal of global zero, promising to join multilateral talks on nuclear reductions when it is convenient, and leaving room for its nuclear weapon modernisation in the interim.
Mohan argues that while most of America's close allies in Asia may be worried that America's "extended deterrence" would be weaker with a smaller arsenal, one major player is likely to be heartened by Obama's reductions:
In contrast to some in East Asia, India has every reason to welcome Obama's plans to negotiate deeper nuclear cuts with Russia. Like China, India has seen deep cuts in the US and Russian arsenals as an important first step on the road towards nuclear disarmament.