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Sweden and Poland push for nuclear arms cuts

AFP/The Local · 2 Feb 2010, 13:45

Published: 02 Feb 2010 13:45 GMT+01:00

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Sweden and Poland also pressed Moscow to withdraw its nuclear weapons from areas adjacent to EU member states.

"We today call on the leaders of the United States and Russia to commit themselves to early measures to greatly reduce so-called tactical nuclear weapons in Europe," Sweden's Carl Bildt and Poland's Radek Sikorski write in the International Herald Tribune.

"We understand that Russia is a European power, but we urge Moscow to make a commitment to the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from areas adjacent to European Union member states," they continued, mentioning Russia's European enclave Kaliningrad and the northern Kola peninsula.

Russia and the United States on Monday resumed marathon talks in Geneva to renew the key Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) nuclear disarmament treaty which expired in December.

The talks concern strategic nuclear warheads but not the less powerful tactical weapons, destined to wipe out smaller targets.

"While the strategic nuclear weapons are seen as a mutual threat by the United States and Russia, nations like ours -- Sweden and Poland -- could have stronger reason to be concerned with the large number of those tactical weapons," Bildt and Sikorski argue.

Story continues below…

Quoting a report by the International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, the ministers said the United States have approximately 200 nuclear warheads stored in western Europe while Russia holds around 2,000, the vast majority in the west of the country.

On January 27, the United States said talks with Russia on a new nuclear arms pact were "nearly complete."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:11 February 2, 2010 by Beynch
Russia should definitely be forced to cut its nuclear arms arsenal. With the United States it's obviously slightly less urgent, in my opinion. After all, the former communist, dictatorial, state has somewhat of a "credibility gap" if you ask me. Or not?
14:25 February 2, 2010 by calebian22
Sweden and Poland can always ask, but when was the last time the US or Russia listened to anyone unless they thought it was good idea first? There are only two players in that conversation. Everyone else is just white noise.
14:44 February 2, 2010 by G Kin
Russia may have a credibility issue compared to America, but they are less likely to conceed, let alone unilaterally reducing their own stock.

It is America that can at best set the pase here and hope that Russia will follow.

Russia has more to "benefit" from the need to mentain a "strategic balance" of power, that is America.

As for Sweden and Poland, their call is at best asserting/confirming Russia's much needed sense of power and importance in the world.
14:49 February 2, 2010 by Uncle
Agreed. Both would not give a rat about opinions of Sweden and Poland. Especially given the latest scandals between Russia and Sweden. In addition Russia would do exactly the opposite of what Poland proposes after the the latter was so keen on having amrican anti-missile system on it's territory.

I think that both Sweden and Poland know this and still they come up with these ideas. It is like saying that all robbers should stop robbing. Nice and logical, but still creates an impression that the speaker just wanted some attention, rather than had something to say.
15:06 February 2, 2010 by Kevtravels
The Us should and most likely will start a major reduction under the Obama administration. No way to know if the Russians will be inclined to do the same
15:09 February 2, 2010 by wenddiver
The US has sucessfully fielded 747s that are giant Lasers and successfully tested a SCRAM missile that means they can hit anywhere in the world almost instantly, if the US will admit this, who the hell knows what their secret weapons are.

In both World Wars the US military looked nothing like the military they fielded in the actual war. IIn 1939 the US Army was wearing dish pan helmets, carrying boltaction rifles for the most part and had no artillery when Hitler made his plans. In 1945 the the Japanese were knocked ut of the war with two nuclear weapons from the Air Corps of the same military.

I doubt if these Soviet aantiques have any deterant value whatsoever on the US, who cares what they do with them.
16:12 February 2, 2010 by G Kin
@Trowbridge H. Ford

You got a point there, especially about the poodeling...

But I wonder how forth coming Russia is when it comes to her dealings with Iran for example. Russia has been and I think will always be pivotal when it comes to Iran for example. I am not sure if it is to Russia's interest to have it settled and laid to rest.


The latest Russia/Sweden scandal you referred to, is it in relation to the SAAB deal?. I was taken aback when I read it in the GP. It felt like a slide back in to the cold war era. Sweden even brought in the FBI.

Well, Sweden should just shut the f..ck up about this call on Russia.
16:26 February 2, 2010 by Nordic Prince
I am unlike many Sweds who worship the US, but I always ask myself a primary-question which is:

Q1) Till when Sweden and almost all whole Europe (Including all its countries) fear and panik from Russia?

Q2) Why do we always bow to US and still consider them as our saviors (in the past during WWII and convincing ourselves that US will protect us in case if Russia tries to hammer us)?
17:06 February 2, 2010 by wenddiver
@Nordic Prince-Q1I don't know if the nations of Europe ever took Russia seriously enough, not when she continually rolled into Europe in the 1800's supressing the democracy moements in favor of absolutist monarchy's and certainly not in her Soviet Union phase when she rolled into numerous European countries raping, looting and replacing national governments with Soviet proxies. Or maybe now, when she turns off your heating fuel and suggests you freeze at will.

Q2-Say what? You guys weren't even in NATO, during the cold war and ony joined after the threat was over. Your not exactly Great Britain and Canada relationship wise, in fact not even Denmark, Norway, I didn't know we had any influence on you what so ever. As to us protecting you, probably not, because there are no US Military base in your country to ensure some Americans get killed in any invasion, so we can sell intervention to the American Public.

I will say you are lucky there was a nuclear armed US and Britain at the end of WWII, because I don't think it would have been very pleasant explaining to Stalin why you sold Hitler all that steel he shot into the Soviet Union.
17:06 February 2, 2010 by sissygirl
Hm? Was it coincidence that the Central Powers and Axis Powers stopped winning after the US became involved in the World Wars? Most of the Western world have a peaceful attitude about life so we would prefer to think stocking weapons is unnecessary; hower, there are those in other parts of the world with very unpeaceful attitudes who are loading up the nukes. I'm not sure when we can ever live without some fear.
17:13 February 2, 2010 by Kaethar
@Beynch: Only one of these two countries have ever used nuclear weapons to kill innocent people... and it wasn't Russia. Personally I'm more worried about the US being armed.
17:23 February 2, 2010 by Kooritze
@ Nordic Prince

I,m with you . Why is it that most just trust the US to be the good guy. Quite frankly the US (and indeed the UK.....my homeland) has a pretty bad track record in meddling with countries of the world plus in causing a lot of wars......either directly or by proxy.

Each country acts in protecting it,s own resources and economic position. However, US/UK are selling themselves as the good guy to the people of the west......but at the same time aggresively involved in resource grabbing in the world as their own resources are on the decline.

For all the commie bashing comments........has anyone noticed that the soviet union went in 1991....they are capitaists now! Yes it does not have a western style democracy with all it,s human rights niceties. The truth is Russia never will have that.
17:59 February 2, 2010 by Lukestar1991
So they should, the scum establishment.
19:53 February 2, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
This whole half-baked notion coming from Obama on his vision of "a world without nuclear arms" is about a disjointed as anything I've ever heard. If the agreeing parties all agree to give up our nukes, will that prevent other nations from trying to attain them? *cough* Iran?

The facts are, Russia will keep thinking it's 1962, any cuts in arsenals and bans on testing diminish the strategic purpose that they are meant for, by not ensuring a weapon that is working and reliable.

Tactical nukes are a outmoded joke, and are just a trinket Russia likes to play around with.

Disband NATO, and pull the US military out of Europe. Force these social welfare states to spend on defenses, then thier opinions can matter. But until then, "white noise" as mentioned above.
20:28 February 2, 2010 by Newyork-Växjö
I hope they can call upon Israel as well.

That is useless point to call only on two nation who. It would be practicable if all stop and ban this shits, so we dont see another (Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki).

21:36 February 2, 2010 by K2K
I am just wondering why there is only "Russian Guy" in the picture? Can you explain a little bit?
22:47 February 2, 2010 by hjoian
i can see The great "brain washing" against Russia is as bad here as it was in the Soviet Union...and that is no more! Europeans have more to worry about from the good ol US of A ,than Russia. Look how American policy has fcuked up air travel for everyone....and thats just for startrs!
23:08 February 2, 2010 by Alex Coman
A decent person can t understand why the US nukes are still in EU. Russia can never trust US. That s the reason why russians keep aiming EU with their nuclear arsenal. Russians don t dream now at taking Washington, but sure there are some US generals dreaming at taking Moskva by foot soldiers.

On the other hand, what is diplomacy without guns??? Russians know that very well.

Russia will need their nuclear weapons for/against China, Pakistan... and who knows against what other country, maybe a muslim one.
23:09 February 2, 2010 by Uncle
G Kin. Sweden and Russia had few spy issues clashes in the past 3 years. Add to it the Russian kidnapped ship in the waters of Sweden and the Eurovision contest mocking of Russia - you got yourself a cute little mmm disagreement..
23:19 February 2, 2010 by wxman
OK. Obama will pull out all nukes from Europe. Good luck with Putin, ya'all!
23:53 February 2, 2010 by Uncle

Surely you meant to mention Pakistan as well? They do not need them nuclear weapons either... Or is it only the Jews we care about?
00:24 February 3, 2010 by homestead
@Nordic Prince - "Q2) Why do we always bow to US and still consider them as our saviors (in the past during WWII and convincing ourselves that US will protect us in case if Russia tries to hammer us)? "

If Russia ever tried to "hammer" you, which I assume means taking some sort of aggressive military action, one of two things would happen. Either the U.S., along the U.K. would take action to stop them or you would be pretty much on your own. To be honest, I would be very surprised and quite ashamed if the U.S. stood by and did nothing. The fact is that there are a lot of us who actually take that whole "freedom and liberty" thing seriously even when it's not ours.
01:26 February 3, 2010 by jag2009
the USA won't press the little red button because it would kill alot of there citzens too. And to be honest, im sure UK, France, Russia could all do that alone.

What happened to the real protection for Iceland? It wasnt any scandinavian countries... oh no i forgot it was UK! with Holland. Once again UK tax payers paying out, for others mistakes. Same old crap... Swedes like to say there best at everything... critizes others.. another thing... many sod off to USA, call themselves american-swedish, yet moan about the country. Its simple... Dont speak english, dont do anything associated with english/american... and everything will be hunkydorry for ya!
09:41 February 3, 2010 by Alex Coman
The man in the pic looks like he s coming after a loong looong night. I m sure he has a coffee in his hand but we can t see that, don we? Anyway, great picture!

C mon all, he don t look as a bad guy, in fact, his face say he really is an intelligent person.
12:42 February 3, 2010 by glamshek
America has very bad record in the case of Japan's bombíng. Moreover, as a big brother, America shouldtake the lead. After all it proclaims itself to be the Boss of the world. So lets have reponsibility as well. Those who are trying to support any one the two, are bised. Both should reduce the nuclear arsenal
13:03 February 3, 2010 by Uncle
Oh! Russia answered.

Not to quote, but the answer was that as long as Europe does not have one agreed security arrangement (meaning - as long as Russia is the enemy of EU and US is the friend), whereas 3rd countries have a right for an opinion, the nuclear missiles amount and location will be a business between Russia and US.

Basically Sweden and Poland were told to continue to care about their own little business, whereas the "big guys" are talking. The answer was clear, humiliating and expected...
13:39 February 3, 2010 by Beynch
Well, to many of you commentators above, it's in the end a matter of what system we would like to live under. Socialist-communist marxism, or capitalist freedom. To drill it down even more, where would you rather live: Magnitogorsk or Indianapolis? I say the U.S. has a lot more to offer in terms of way-of-life and inspiration, depite its flaws(Obama, Pelosi), than does State controlled Russia with her lukewarm leftover stalinists(Putin, Medvedev). The threat from the East is considerably greater than that from the West.
16:32 February 3, 2010 by Audrian
Comment: According the late President Eizenhaur, the military industrial complex is an affront to freedome and democracy in the US. The US sells more weapons than the rest of the world combined. The US refused to respect the call not to sell small arms to countries in civil war. The standard weapons used by NTO members are those produced by this complex.

NATO expansion means more profit.

After the end of the cold war, the US lied to Russia that NATO will stop opperation in Europe. Believing the lie, Russia did not mind the joining of East European countries in what it thought was not any more a military alliance.

Miliary tension in the Middle East is beneficial for arms sell. Saudi Arabia is required to purchase billions of dollars worth of expensive and sofesticated weapons regularly. So also Egypt and Jordan. Iraq is becoming another major market for US arms. Israel is provided the most modern weapons. As part of the agreement, It is required to take video pictures of weapon use in Palistenia.

During the recession the military industrial complex made hefty profit because of the the two major wars in the Middle East. US budget request for military expenditure for 2010 is over $750 billion. The military industrial complex controls US parliment and government throught revolving door system. Parlimentarians and politicians after retirment find lucrative jobs in weapns industry while others receive regular campaign funding. Any government official that shows mild compromise in foreign affairs does not survive politically. US president Obama will be history if he tries to fight the arms industry. This is the main reason why US foreign policy tends to be aggressive.

Swedish/Polish .... is a joke, meant for domestic audience. Mr Obama' call for disarmament is an an empty noise. The US is upgrading its nuclear weapons under his gaze!
17:27 February 3, 2010 by Alex Coman
The good news is US and UK has now a brand new enemy - Chinaaaaaaaa. Good old time s back!

About Russia, well, what can I say? They are in the pacifist league now. Half of EU belong to Russia, and they, the russians, has a good profit from selling gas to the other half. And there are o lot of money on the horizon...

The russian nukes are for self respect, good diplomacy and for showing off.

About attacking small countries like Georgia, US and NATO are to blame. They encouraged that man in psychological-clinical need( The President of Georgia) to poke The Bear. If you know that man, you already know- that man is not OK.
00:17 February 4, 2010 by cloud&rain
Hmm.. I don't think US and Russia are going to trigger a nuclear war. I think its the third world which is going to make it happen. It might happen when US tries to covert north Korea and Iran. And there is lot of chances for a nuclear orgy in South Asia. India and Pakistan will be in brink of nuclear war whenever there is some confrontation between them two. We should make them off the nuclear weapons from them or they might get in to confrontation sooner or later. China and India at least has it in papers of no first use policy and its not a loose cannon. There are sensible leadership in both the countries and they wont use the nuclear weapons just like that which Iran and Pakistan are speaking about. But still the world has to contain China and India from using the nuclear weapon by some treaties and NPT. But one cannot expect such restraint from using nuclear weapons from Iran and Pakistan. One can see frequently in papers of Ahmedinijad voicing that he will use nuclear weapons when attacked. Regarding Pakistan, that country is obsessed with nuclear weapons. Even they pull out nuclear weapons talk for just a verbal confrontation with its adversaries. Lets strip off North korea, Iran and Pakistan off their nuclear weapons and try to contain China and India from testing further by Giving them some benefit nuclear packages so that they power up their economies going nuclear powered.
22:38 February 4, 2010 by tollermann
Hey glamshek your post could not go unanswered!

"America has very bad record in the case of Japan's bombíng. Moreover, as a big brother, America shouldtake the lead."

We have a saying in my adopted country, there would not have been a Nagasaki or Hiroshima if there had not been a Pearl Harbor.

Another one I would add is: If you attempt to bluff the US (Saddam) make sure you have good cards.

I can see anti-americanism is alive and well, unless you live in Haiti!
23:07 February 4, 2010 by Uncle
Tollermann. Good point.

When the s... hits the fan, everyone is crying for defense and help of US. But when there is peace and calm - let's bash the big satan!

Ayatollas did not refuse getting american weapons when Saddam started to breath on their neck. Kuwait cried for help from the crusaders when the same Saddam came to them. Somalians, who have US flag for proper feet cleaning at the entrance to every class - begged for american troops when 2 mils starved.

If the russians would move their armor on Finland again (rightful Russian territory according to some politicians there), liberal Swedes, who bitch about US every day, would moan and groan for the help of the "great ally and friend".

Psychology of lackeys..
20:46 February 5, 2010 by desert voice
This latest move to compel the Russians and Americans to disarm is of little importance on the global scale. I am not saying that the motives are bad. What fuels my skepticism is the fact that there are more pressing issues on the world scene, of which the inequality between the rich and poor is standing out. Why no nation asks the G-20 members to do something about the poor? Why can't we combine de denuclearization agenda with anti-poverty campaign? We could for instance arrange an exchange of nuclear warheads for cash for the destitute and hungry children. It would work like this: Russia and America offer their individual warheads for a fixed sum in cash to all the rest of the world. The nation that buys a warhead, doesn't actually get it: the warhead is destroyed. But the amount paid is diverted to the poor of the world, Russia and America included. Let's hear some comments on my proposal, and let's hope that some of the Powers-That-Be leaders read it!
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