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President Obama Speaks in Cairo Regarding Nuclear Weapons

President Obama this morning gave a historic speech in Cairo where he outlined his vision for coexistence between the United States and the Muslim world, emphasizing their common history and future.

CGS Twitter has added Twitter to our list of media outlets. In addition to finding out about the latest news on our Facebook group or fan page or our MySpace people who are interested in our issues can now find out what we're doing on our Twitter. By following us you can get a short briefing on what we've been doing. We will be posting mini blog posts about the things we're working on every day or so. Follow us to increase awareness about the issues we care about. Hopefully this outlet will increase our ability to reach out to people all over the country.

My Experience at CGS

My experience at was definitely an educational one. Discovering how a non-profit works and conducts itself has changed the way I see how laws and regulations are passed through government.

While at CGS, I had the freedom to choose what I wanted to focus on. The atmosphere within the office was very supportive and allowed me to feel free to go about my business as usual while contributing to our causes. Staff members were always encouraging me to attend Congressional hearings or think tank discussions, an opportunity of which I took full advantage and thus gained considerable knowledge on how Washington D.C. and politics works.

During my time here at CGS, my topic of choice was Climate Change. It is something that has always been a concern of mine and when the subject was available for updating, due to the upcoming Copenhagen meetings this December, I took the chance to do as much research as I could on the topic. This, in turn, helped not only our cause, but allowed me to walk away from this experience more educated and passionate than ever before.

The staff at the office are friendly and always willing to help. Each person at CGS seems to truly want to make a change in the world and are obviously trying to do something about it.

U.S. and Russia Begin Second Round of START Talks

In Geneva, Switzerland today, the United States and Russia began a three-day series of talks to continue negotiating the terms for renewing the soon-to-expire Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). START was agreed upon by both nations in 1991 in an effort to significantly reduce the nations' nuclear stockpiles and is set to expire on December 5th of this year.

While the two countries have suffered a strained relationship over the past several years, President Barack Obama said in his first press conference:

What I know is this: that if we see a nuclear arms race in a region as volatile as the Middle East, everybody will be in danger. And one of my goals is to prevent nuclear proliferation generally. I think that it's important for the United States, in concert with Russia, to lead the way on this....I've mentioned this in conversations with the Russian president, Mr. Medvedev, to let him know that it is important for us to restart the conversations about how we can start reducing our nuclear arsenals in an effective way.

Now, for the purpose of renewing this treaty, we need to wait and see if the United States and Russia can get past their respective hang-ups regarding North Korean nukes and the planned U.S. missile defense system in Eastern Europe.


North Korean Nuclear Crisis Discussion

Panelist Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution

On May 27, 2009 I attended a panel discussion on the North Korean Nuclear Crisis presented by the Brookings Institution. Considering the controversy surrounding North Korea because of their announcement that they tested nuclear bombs this past Monday, May 25, 2009, the discussion focused on why North Korea did what it did and what the U.S. should do next. Panelists included Richard C. Bush, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Director of its Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies; Michael O'Hanlon, a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution; Carlos Pascual, Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution; and Dennis C. Wilder, a Visiting Fellow at the John L. Thorton China Center in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution.

White House Treaty Priorities

The White House released its list of treaty priorities for the 111th Congress last week. Here is the complete list of treaties that the administration supports immediate action on:

Comprehensive Nuclear- Test-Ban Treaty, done at New York September 10, 1996 and signed by the United States on September 24, 1996 (Treaty Doc. 105-28); submitted to the Senate on September 23, 1997.

Treaty with Australia Concerning Defense Trade Cooperation, done at Sydney September 5,2007 (Treaty Doc. 110-10); submitted to the Senate on December 3, 2007.

Treaty with the United Kingdom Concerning Defense Trade Cooperation, done at Washington and London on June 21 and 26, 2007 (Treaty Doc. 110-7); submitted to the Senate on September 20,2007.

Annex VI on Liability Arising From Environmental Emergencies to the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, adopted on June 14, 2005 (Treaty Doc. 111-2); submitted to the Senate on April 2, 2009.

Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, done at Canberra on June 19,2001 (Treaty Doc. 110-22); submitted to the Senate on September 26,2008.

International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, adopted on November 3,2001 and signed by the United States on November 3, 2002 (Treaty Doc. 110-19); submitted to the Senate on July 7, 2008.

1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972. Done at London November 7, 1996; signed by the United States on March 31, 1998 (Treaty Doc. 110-5); submitted to the Senate on September 4, 2007.

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, done at Stockholm May 22, 2001 and signed by the United States on May 23, 2001 (Treaty Doc. 107-5); submitted to the Senate on May 7, 2002.

Foreign Affairs Mark-Up Hearing

I attended the House Foreign Affairs Committee Mark-Up Hearing for the Foreign Relations Authorization Bill today, and I was pleased to see that the Bill will be accepted with limited amendments. The amendments that have been added only seek to expand and suggest areas that the State Department should use its funds, not to inhibit the progress of or cut back on the amount of funding for State Department actions.

Nonpartisan Anti-Nukes

Obama, Kissinger, Schultz, Perry NunnYesterday President Obama met with Former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sam Nunn, and former Defense Secretary William Perry to discuss how to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Foreign Relations Authorization Bill Released

On Wednesday May 20, 2009, the full House Committee on Foreign Affairs will meet to discuss H.R. 2410, the Foreign Relations Authorization Bill introduced by Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA). applauds Mr. Berman for his attention to the need for increased engagement between the United States and the international community. The Bill includes legislation that runs parallel to the interests of, and we encourage the rest of the Committee to support these measures.

The legislation that we find most important includes:

1. Paying back our dues and arrearages to the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as synchronizing our payments so that they are received at the first of the year for which they apply;

2. Reauthorizing and expanding the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI);

3. Paying our share of international peacekeeping activities, as well as increasing our logistical support for such missions; and

4. Developing our capacity for early warning and genocide prevention to combat situations where mass atrocities against civilians occur.

We urge the Committee to pass this legislation as is in order to show that the United States is committed to working both with the international community and from within to meet the challenges that our world faces today.

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