The nuclear question and the Obama presidency by ProQuest

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									Stéfanie von Hlatky &
Michel Fortmann


The nuclear
question and the
Obama presidency
Almost all discussions about the United States and the future of nuclear
weapons policy refer to two now-famous editorials in the Wall Street Journal, in
which the “four statesmen”—George Shultz, William Perry, Sam Nunn, and
Henry Kissinger—lay out their vision for a nuclear-free world.1 The latest
Adelphi paper, entitled “Abolishing nuclear weapons,” even proposes a concrete
plan for achieving this vision, an effort ambitiously undertaken by George
Perkovich and James A. Acton.2 For a moment, one cannot help but feel a tingle
of optimism as attitudes seem to be changing, even at the elite level.


Stéfanie von Hlatky is a PhD candidate in the department of political science at the
Université de Montréal and the deputy director of the Research Group in International
Security (REGIS). Michel Fortmann is professor of political science at the Université de
Montréal, where he is also the co-director of REGIS, which he founded in 1996. He has
published numerous books and articles on international security and arms control. The
authors would like to acknowledge the Security and Defence Forum, the Research Group
in International Security, and the Fonds de recherche sur la société et la culture.
1 George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn, “A world free
of nuclear weapons,” Wall Street Journal, 4 January 2007, A15.
2 George Perkovich and James A. Acton, “Abolishing nuclear weapons,” Adelphi Papers
396, 31 July 2008, 130.
                                       | International Journal | Winter 2008-09 | 173 |
| Stéfanie von Hlatky & Michel Fortmann |



     Offering a sobering contrast to the preceding vision are the words of
Robert Gates, who remains secretary of defense under Barack Obama’s
presidency. Delivering a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace in October 2008, before the elections and the announcement of his
appointment, Gates addressed the challenges of nuclear weapons in the 21st
century.3 His vision is profoundly realist, calling for the development of the
reliable replacement warhead and arguing that the United St
								
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