WH: Why no, the North Korean nuke test won’t change the State of the Union speech

posted at 5:41 pm on February 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Most people expected Barack Obama to make a big pitch for nuclear drawdowns as well as drawdowns in troop strength in Afghanistan in tonight’s State of the Union speech, part of his ongoing effort to reduce and eliminate nuclear stockpiles and oppose modernization of strategic arsenals.  Yesterday, the New York Times predicted that Obama would push the new START treaty and its reduction by a third of the current US arsenal:

President Obama will use his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to reinvigorate one of his signature national security objectives — drastically reducing nuclear arsenals around the world — after securing agreement in recent months with the United States military that the American nuclear force can be cut in size by roughly a third.

Mr. Obama, administration officials say, is unlikely to discuss specific numbers in the address, but White House officials are looking at a cut that would take the arsenal of deployed weapons to just above 1,000. Currently there are about 1,700, and the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia that passed the Senate at the end of 2009 calls for a limit of roughly 1,550 by 2018.

But Mr. Obama, according to an official who was involved in the deliberations, “believes that we can make pretty radical reductions — and save a lot of money — without compromising American security in the second term. And the Joint Chiefs have signed off on that concept.”

As Jen Rubin points out, the North Korean regime decided to have its say first:

We were told to expect the president was going to present his vision of a world without nuclear weapons, or at least with a great deal fewer, at the State of the Union address tonight. The idea is monstrously obtuse at a time when Iran is on the verge of gaining nuclear weapons capability, North Korea repeats its pattern of cheating on international agreements, and there are real, immediate international crises in which the president takes no interest (such as the mass murder in Syria).

Then along comes the North Korean to blow up (pun intended) any pretext of seriousness. The Post reports that on the eve of the State of the Union, “North Korea on Tuesday detonated a ‘smaller and light’ nuclear device, its state-run news agency said, marking the latest advance in a weapons program that President Obama called ‘a threat to U.S. national security and to international peace and security.’” …

Unfortunately, the international community is all out of “swift and credible action,” and President Obama has sought to cut missile defense programs that are “necessary to defend ourselves and our allies.” And in touting the disastrous six-party talks that have resulted in serial cheating, the president reveals himself to be entirely feckless. (It is also a reminder that his secretary of defense nominee, who backed the Global Zero initiative, is equally clueless.) Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute wryly observes, “I think Kim Jong Eun will discover that it takes more than a nuclear test to get Barack Obama’s attention in the new age of retreat and decline.”

One might imagine that the advanced nuclear test today would at least force the White House to reconsider its course for tonight’s SOTU address.  Not so, reports Michael Hirsh for National Journal, who calls the North Korean action “a major embarrassment”:

The White House sought to brazen out North Korea’s nuclear test on Tuesday, insisting that “this wasn’t a surprise,” in the words of spokesman Tommy Vietor, and that it would not alter the tough nonproliferation message President Obama had already planned to deliver in his State of the Union address. “[North Koreans] have been saying for some time they intended to do this,” Vietor told National Journal on Tuesday. “The president was always planning to say that if they want to join the international community, they need to change their behavior.”

Nonetheless, North Korea’s third nuclear test since 2006 must be seen as a major embarrassment for Obama, coming on the eve of his biggest speech of the year (after his second Inaugural Address, of course). From the earliest days of his presidency, Obama has made nuclear nonproliferation a key goal, and his advisers have said he had wanted to revive this as a major “legacy” item in his second term. But North Korea’s act of open defiance only illustrates how little progress there has been on several fronts.

The administration’s early policy of “strategic patience”–refusing to negotiate until Pyongyang unilaterally agreed to suspend its program—appeared to provoke only more defiance from North Korea. Last week, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rebuffed a U.S. offer to negotiate directly over its covert nuclear program, despite multilateral agreement to impose the harshest sanctions yet on Tehran. And last fall, Russia abruptly announced it was dropping out of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which since 1991 has helped Moscow destroy or safely store  nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons left over after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It’s not a pretty picture to present to the world at the start of Obama’s second term. Vietor, asked about the apparent failure to halt either Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs, replied: “How is that different than four years ago?”

Not any different at all.  However, most of us recall Obama blaming George Bush’s supposed obstinacy for the deadlock in both cases, claiming that his “smart power” would rebalance the world and produce better results.  Instead, we find that the world is about the same, because the issue was never Bush in the first place, nor our own nuclear weapons.  The problem is located in Pyongyang and Tehran and their tyrannical regimes, their drive for nuclear weapons, and the complete disconnect between the size of our stockpiles and the size of their ambitions.

Perhaps a better start for the SOTU would be to adapt to that reality.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Make no mention of this.

Bmore on February 12, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Why not – it worked with Benghazi.

OldEnglish on February 12, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Perhaps a better start for the SOTU would be to adapt to that reality.

Allow me to play Capt. Obvious for a second. Adapting to reality is not a strength of this Administration or its supporters.

gsherin on February 12, 2013 at 5:47 PM

-Obama with his fingers in his big dumbo ears…

“Didn’t happen. Nope. Nothing happened. No way. Na Na Na Na.”

portlandon on February 12, 2013 at 5:47 PM

w’s policies evil
obama’s policies good

what an idiot…

most of his speech will be blaming the gop…

cmsinaz on February 12, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Why not – it worked with Benghazi.

OldEnglish on February 12, 2013 at 5:44 PM

THIS

cmsinaz on February 12, 2013 at 5:51 PM

because the issue was never Bush in the first place, nor our own nuclear weapons.

not in the libs mind

it’s all about W and the evil US

cmsinaz on February 12, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Why should Bark care? The entire demorat party will clap at his every utterance, Schumer will bray like a cattle-prodded jackass into Alito’s ear a dozen times, Al Franken will tackle Rubio into a wall, Pelosi will randomly break into laughter, Reid’s nose will start leaking embalming fluid, and Biden will stand up suddenly about halfway through the speech and remove his own pants.

Bishop on February 12, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Doesn’t matter what he says. I’d rather listen to my mule fart.

straytrooper on February 12, 2013 at 5:54 PM

At this point,
What difference does it make?

Electrongod on February 12, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Them tyrants stick together…not a peep tonite…

hillsoftx on February 12, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Oh what a tangled web we weave when we play policeman to the world and pick sides in every battle. The Hyenas will start nipping at the Lion’s heels.

tdarrington on February 12, 2013 at 5:58 PM

I agree. Lets reduce our arsenal.

Sell them to Seoul and Tokyo.

WryTrvllr on February 12, 2013 at 6:00 PM

and Biden will stand up suddenly about halfway through the speech and remove his own pants.

Bishop on February 12, 2013 at 5:54 PM

To Biden it’s just Tuesday.

tdarrington on February 12, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Perhaps a better start for the SOTU would be to adapt to that reality.

Sorry. Obama only knows about his reality, which isn’t reality. It’s the same with the community-based reality that supports Obama.

Steve Tsouloufis on February 12, 2013 at 6:07 PM

I agree. Lets reduce our arsenal.

Sell them to Seoul and Tokyo. – WryTrvllr on February 12, 2013 at 6:00 PM

I will agree with this. Sell them some nuclear tipped cruise missiles. I am of the opinion that Japan is about to remilitarize and go nuclear.

SC.Charlie on February 12, 2013 at 6:09 PM

I will agree with this. Sell them some nuclear tipped cruise missiles. I am of the opinion that Japan is about to remilitarize and go nuclear.

SC.Charlie on February 12, 2013 at 6:09 PM

It’s not like China doesn’t have Kim Jung Next on a leash. Or Pakistan and Iran for that matter. Or Venezuela.

We’re WAY behind.

WryTrvllr on February 12, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Get ready for big ears to use the phrase the Federal government needs to “invest” in our future. That is George Orwell newspeak that means that Obama wants to spend more of the taxpayer’s money.

SC.Charlie on February 12, 2013 at 6:13 PM

We already know NK has nukes, does it really matter if they conduct tests? Should we got to war over it or are people proposing that we pay their blackmail so they’ll stop? IMO we should never have started paying blackmail to NK and it is long past time it should stop.

FloatingRock on February 12, 2013 at 6:22 PM

got = go

FloatingRock on February 12, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Hopey will pen a really nasty devasting letter after the SOTUA, telling the Norks to Cease and Desist,and stop hogging all the
limelight of the international Stage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on February 12, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Yeah, Obama can’t possibly change a speech in less than 24 hours. He’s too stupid.

wildcat72 on February 12, 2013 at 6:26 PM

It’s strange, and a bit sad, to see the exerted effort from the populace of Pyongyang to the military entourage in constant orbit around Kim…like his father before him…and cheering and clapping at the news of this test. Gotta make sure your leader smiles in your direction.

Nothing is going to happen to punish the NorKs…the ol’ “strongly worded letter” is as far as the UN will go.

JetBoy on February 12, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Sorry. Obama only knows about his reality, which isn’t reality. It’s the same with the community-based reality that supports Obama.

Steve Tsouloufis on February 12, 2013 at 6:07 PM

In Obama’s World he MUST be heard on his favoring likely pedophiles becoming scoutmasters. On North Korean nukes, not so much.

wildcat72 on February 12, 2013 at 6:28 PM

More: Speech excerpts in which Obama will call for an expanded focus on the middle class and job creation – @TPM

22 mins ago from livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com by editor
=============================================================

********** Shovel Ready **************************!!

canopfor on February 12, 2013 at 6:29 PM

More Talky………………………….

More: Obama, South Korean President Lee agree to work together on range of measures aimed at impeding North Korea’s nuclear, missile programs – White House via @Reuters

4 hours ago from http://www.reuters.com by editor
==============================================

canopfor on February 12, 2013 at 6:32 PM

The world blows up around us, and all this little punk cares about is his domestic Marxist agenda… raising taxes on unfavored constituencies and increasing subsidies on his favored ones while bringing America down to size.

SOTU? STFU.

petefrt on February 12, 2013 at 6:35 PM

When the press does not question anything he says, then he can say or not say anything he wants.

albill on February 12, 2013 at 6:36 PM

The WH says the NorK nuke test will not influence the SOTU address.
Well, duh, He doesn’t plan to broach the subject AT ALL.
And the bleating media will cover his skinny azz but picking up on this ‘hint’ and like Benghazi, Fast & Furious and the TRUE effects of ObamaCare will be SPIKED and brushed under the rug.
Hear No Evil.
See No Evil.
Speak No Evil (except to condemn the Republicans, of course.)

Missilengr on February 12, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Why would he say anything? China is simply letting the little dog off of his leash in order to give the UN something to wring their hands about. As long as that sweet, sweet cash is flowing, Preezy is happy to just ignore it….

wytshus on February 12, 2013 at 6:50 PM

as well as drawdowns in troop strength in Afghanistan
=========================================================

MeanWhile,the US military will be using the Treacherous,
and Tall-Bon Target Rich environment of bugging out through
Pock E Stan highway!!

US begins major withdrawal of military equipment from Afghanistan after 11 years of war

By Associated Press, Published: February 11
*******************************************

KABUL, Afghanistan — The United States began its withdrawal from Afghanistan in earnest, officials said Monday, sending the first of what will be tens of thousands of containers home through a once-blocked land route through Pakistan.(More…)
==================================================

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/us-military-equipment-is-shipped-through-pakistan-for-first-time-as-part-of-afghan-pullout/2013/02/11/339b5c28-7427-11e2-9889-60bfcbb02149_story.html

canopfor on February 12, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Real liberals want everyone except the US to have nukes.

I know some.

IlikedAUH2O on February 12, 2013 at 6:58 PM

The rest of the world and UN countries don’t want him talking nukes.They want us to be hit by one.

docflash on February 12, 2013 at 7:20 PM

Our dear leader wants to disarm us all, from the military to ordinary citizens. Afterall, NK is a tiny country.

Kissmygrits on February 13, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Interesting

api on February 27, 2013 at 11:21 AM