U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) says now is not the time to reduce the country's nuclear arms forces around the globe.
Oklahoma's senior senator made the comments Wednesday in response to President Barack Obama's call during a speech in Berlin to reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles by one-third.
“Two years ago, 41 Senators wrote to the President urging him to consult first with Congress before directing changes to U.S. nuclear weapons policy or offering proposals to the Russian Federation for further nuclear arms reductions. He ignored this advice," Inhofe says. "As a result, the President has made it difficult to achieve the consensus necessary to sustain the significant changes to the nation’s strategic posture that he now contemplates."
Obama spoke today at Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate, a powerful symbol of the Cold War. He says it's possible to ensure American security and a strong deterrent and also reduce nuclear weapons.
He says he intends to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond a Cold Warnuclear posture.
Obama is pledging to work with NATO allies to forge a new international framework for peaceful nuclear power. He says the U.S. will hold a summit in 2016 on securingnuclear materials around the world.
He's also calling for a treaty to end production of fissile material.
Inhofe in a statement called the president's announcement an example of the "triumph of hope over experience."
Among Inhofe's fears are that there are concerns about Russian compliance with existing nuclear arms control treaties. He also says a commitment by Obama and Congress to modernize the country's nuclear forces in return for ratification of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty remains unfulfilled.
Obama says there's a temptation to turn inward now that barbed wire and concrete walls no longer separate East and West in Berlin.
He says he's returned to Berlin because the tests of our time require the same fighting spirit. He's pointing to poverty and unemployment as ongoing challenges requiring the world's attention.
Obama says, quote, "Our work is not yet done."