Obama and Medvedev’s signature of an new START treaty is a real achievement and should not be ridiculed. It will significantly reduce the number of nuclear warheads and guidance systems in the world. That is a good thing. Obama’s aspiration for a nuclear weapon free world is also a good thing.
Of course it does not do everything. It does not for example cancel the US project of a forward ballistic defence shield in Europe. It does however make ever more plain that this is an otiose project. I have come to the conclusion that it actually has no purpose at all other than to throw a nice meaty carcass to the US weapons industry lobby.
Nor has Obama tackled or even admitted the problem of Israel’s nuclear weapons. But Obama’s drive for worldwide reduction makes the elephant in the room impossible to ignore. Egypt and Turkey’s insistence on raising the issue has already caused Netanyahu to drop out of Obama’s planned nuclear conference. This further straining of the relationship between the US and Israel is a good thing, and on this issue Israel is self-imposing a pariah state status.
So I take the view that the commentators who ridicule Obama’s START treaty because of the things it did not do, have got hold of the wrong end of the stick. What it does is good, and its ramifications are still better.