Two years ago, President Obama spoke out for universal nuclear disarmament in Prague, saying that America would seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons “clearly and with conviction.” Similar statements came from Russian President Medvedev and other world leaders, culminating in September 2009 in an unprecedented UN Security Council meeting attended by the 15 members’ heads-of-state that resolved to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.
There has been some progress since this meeting; however, gains do not measure up to the goals set by the world’s leaders. There is the dream … and then there is the reality.
Russia and the U.S. each retain thousands of nuclear warheads – more than 20,000 overall.
Then there are the smaller nuclear weapon states: China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and the UK – all of whom, with the exception of the Europeans, appear to be increasing their nuclear forces. And then there are the nuclear wannabees: Iran first in line, Syria next, perhaps Burma third, all being helped by North Korea.
While we can argue whether the world has moved forward or backward since the Prague declaration, it clearly remains a long way from realizing the dream. What should we do?