- President Hu Jinato of China met with President Obama last week to discuss the bilateral relationship between the two countries; topics included currency, trading policies, human rights, and China’s dealings with North Korea.
New START Treaty
- The Russian State Duma will vote on the New START Treaty tonight where, if passed, it will be brought before the Russian Federation Council for ratification.
- This bilateral treaty will reduce the number of strategic arms and warheads– including those on ICBMs and SLBMs- within seven years of ratification and includes a verification aspect of on-site inspections and the exchange of telemetry to increase transparency between Russia and the US.
Iranian Nuclear Program Negotiations in Istanbul
- Iran met with six world leaders this past weekend—the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany—to discuss their nuclear program. The meeting did not succeed in confidence building as Iran refused to any concrete reassurance that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
- Since Iran continues noncompliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Security Council sanctions for Iran suspending uranium enrichment remain in place.
- The proposal the Security Council was seeking to engage with Iran included more international monitoring on Iran’s nuclear program, as well as a fuel swap agreement.
Looking forward: State of Union speech on Tuesday
- The State of the Union speech is set to emphasize the future, competitiveness and deficit reduction. The GOP is planning to oppose any new spending initiatives Obama announces.
- In terms of national security and foreign policy implications likely to be addressed include US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, which is set to occur by July 2011 and December 31, 2011, respectively
- The withdrawal of troops should come with military-budget spending cuts, as recently outlined by Secretary Robert Gates.