Sen. Richard Lugar discusses the threat of weapons of mass destruction--and how to defuse it—in GW address.
Sen. Richard Lugar discusses the threat of weapons of mass destruction—and how to defuse it—in GW address.
Although we live in a much safer world than we did 30 years ago, the threat of weapons of mass destruction is still real, said Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, at an event Sept. 13 in GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium.
Sen. Lugar is a longtime leader in reducing the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. He was a co-founder of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, or Nunn-Lugar Program, to destroy weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. Since 1991, the Nunn-Lugar Program has resulted in the deactivation of more than 7,500 nuclear warheads that were once aimed at the United States.
Sen. Lugar told the audience about his visits to states of the former Soviet Union, including Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, and his attempts to negotiate with their leaders the removal of nuclear warheads and stockpiles of chemical, nuclear and biological weapons.
Sen. Lugar was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976 and won a sixth term in 2006 with 87 percent of the vote.
Sen. Lugar urged Congress to approve the new START treaty, a nuclear weapons agreement with Russia, which was signed in April by President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. He said he hopes to continue the progress the country has made to manage weapons of mass destruction around the world.
“I’m hopeful that our country will continue to be a leader in this respect, [be] generous in our outlook of intellectual research and [put] ‘boots on the ground,’" he said, “working with people to understand what they have, be able to verify it and offer transparency whenever possible.”
"I feel safer than I did 20 years ago and I hope you do too.”
Sen. Lugar also praised GW students for their interest in international affairs.
“President Knapp told me that as much as a fifth of student body may be involved— whether in a major or in some basic endeavor—in international affairs and this is truly exemplary,” he said, “and very important in terms of the continuation of the foreign policy objectives of our country.”
The event was sponsored by the International Affairs Society, Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, College Republicans and the Elliott School of International Affairs.