In 1945, the United States dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan. It was devastating, historic and, ultimately, ended the Second World War.
Some 70 years later, the frightening prospect of nuclear weapons falling into hands of terrorist organizations (think ISIS or the Taliban), who have proven their appetite for brutality again and again.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama will host his fourth—and final—Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, where more than 50 heads of state will entertain that very notion, and how to ensure it never happens.
Two key world figures are not attending: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Iran’s absence appears more notable given its landmark nuclear deal made with the United States and five other world powers.
Experts say approaching such a terrifying possibility requires rethinking how we cope with the existence of nuclear arms. The Cold War mentality must make way for a far more fractured globe and the rise of ultra-fundamentalist Islam.
Nuclear Arms Control for the 21st Century
Amy J. Nelson – The National Interest
At a time when the technical information necessary to make nuclear weapons is increasingly accessible in the public domain, states must both cast a wider net and examine the finer details to counter this nuclear threat….
Because it’s generally tougher to draw the kind of high-profile attention required for states to sign on to and implement safeguards, President Barack Obama has made it a priority… The Nuclear Security Summit has been designed, in large measure, to tackle this problem by recruiting high-level attention—in fact, from the highest level.
Beyond sustained attention from elites, safeguards have tended to get short shrift generally. Policy analysis and recommendations have traditionally glossed over nuance in this area, as well. The Iran deal, for example, set a new standard for verification by establishing unprecedentedly intrusive inspections, which has likely set a benchmark for future agreements.
Is That All There Is? Obama’s Disappointing Nuclear Legacy
Joe Cirincione – Defense One
Seven years ago this April, in his first foreign policy speech as president, Obama pledged “to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” He detailed an ambitious program in his Prague address, including an initiative to unite world leaders to secure all nuclear bomb material from terrorists….
Obama hoped that by now he would have secured Senate approval of the nuclear test ban treaty, which he promised to “immediately and aggressively pursue.” Didn’t happen.
He wanted “a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons.” Not even close.
He pledged to secure all nuclear materials within four years. The final summit will end with tons of material in 25 nations still unsecured, with a patchwork of policies rather than legally binding requirements and universal standards.
The Nuclear Security Summit & Pakistan
Sehar Kamran – The Nation
In light of the upcoming summit, an appraisal of Pakistan’s participation and actions also becomes a useful benchmark for gauging the progress that has been made.
As a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan has not only actively participated in all three summits at the governmental level, but also undertaken several serious steps to materialize the goals envisaged by international community in the National Security Summit process….
The unfortunate truth however is that all of Pakistan’s achievements and compliance with best-practices become redundant when it continues to face policies based on discrimination, exceptionalism, ungrounded assumptions and malicious intentions.
As a result, Pakistan’s substantive efforts to promote the goals of nonproliferation, disarmament have always been less appreciated and reciprocated by major nuclear powers, while a skewed support for Indian strengthening of its military capabilities continues unchecked. Denying Pakistan access to the international nuclear export arrangements while giving preferential treatment to India has significantly upset the regional strategic balance.
Obama’s Last Nuclear Security Summit and a New Movement for Nuclear Disarmament
Vincent Intondi – Huffington Post
Over the years, Obama has convinced numerous countries to give up their bomb making materials. However, the most troubling aspect of the 2016 Summit is that the elimination of nuclear weapons is not even on the agenda. So while she [Lilly Daigle, a U.S. field organizer for Global Zero] remains optimistic about dozens of key nations coming together to discuss nuclear security, Daigle is correct when she argues, “There is no such thing as ‘nuclear security’ when the world has 15,000 nuclear weapons.”
Will we ever get to a place where millennials rise up like previous generations and make the connection between racism, poverty, and nuclear disarmament?