U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy in International Law

A year after President Barack Obama's Prague speech of April 2009 announced his concept of a world without nuclear weapons1 -and a few days before the Global Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C. of April 12-132- the Administration released a new Nuclear Posture Review3, which projects some measures for accomplishing the goal of reducing U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons. In his April 5 Prague address the President stated "clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons"4. The President did not indicate, however, a specific plan for nuclear disarmament, and the steps he referred to were rather in line with the traditional arms control approach: reducing U.S. warheads and stockpiles by negotiating a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia5, achieving a global ban on nuclear testing, including the U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty "as a basis for cooperation.