Ed Morrissey @ Hot Air:
Most people expected Barack Obama to make a big pitch for nuclear drawdowns as well asdrawdowns in troop strength in Afghanistan in tonight’s State of the Union speech, part of hisongoing 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”: