After postponing his speech on foreign policy due to the shootings at Virginia Tech, Barack Obama gave a speech today to the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs outlining his ideas for the future of America’s involvement in international affairs. A recap of the speech can be found here at the New York Times. Some proposals were:
- Increase the number of soldiers in the military who can speak Arabic, Mandarin, or Korean
Note: A bill the Senate recently passed, sponsored by Richard Lugar, increases the number of Iraqi and Afghani translators and interpreters who can be admitted to the U.S. as special immigrants
- Secure all international nuclear weapons and materials within four years
- Provide reactor fuel to discourage countries from initiating weapons programs
Barack Obama during his tenure as Senator has already addressed some foreign policy issues with Republican colleagues. In an editorial in the Washington Post back in 2005, Obama and Richard Lugar of Indiana discussed a bill they introduced designed to crack down on unsecured, conventional weapons. They said their bill, S. 2566, “would launch a major nonproliferation initiative by addressing the growing threat from unsecured conventional weapons and by bolstering a key line of defense against weapons of mass destruction … Loose stocks of small arms and other weapons also help fuel civil wars in Africa and elsewhere and, as we have seen repeatedly, provide ammunition for those who attack peacekeepers and aid workers seeking to stabilize and rebuild war-torn societies. The Lugar-Obama measure would also seek to get rid of artillery shells like those used in the improvised roadside bombs that have proved so deadly to U.S. forces in Iraq.”
The entire text of the editorial can be found here.