In a speech two days ago at the Brandensburg Gate in Berlin, President Obama spoke about his plan for denuclearization and how he plans to work with Russia’s Vladimir Putin to reduce stockpiles considerably.
Denuclearization had been one of Obama’s core policies, one of the items that bought him much political capital in the days leading up to his election for his first term, unfortunately not much can be said to have been achieved in that direction even as he nears the ‘lame duck’ period of his presidency.
His latest speech is coming at the heels of a G8 meeting where his press conference with Putin was more about what wasn’t said than what was. They barely looked into each others’ eyes while they both made their statements and responded to questions from journalists. At stake was their differing opinion on Syria and the scandal involving Putin and a championship ring (the curious case between what constitutes a gift and when it is considered stolen).
It is high time America and Russia moved beyond rhetorics to actually doing something to reduce their stockpiles, and if possible clear the lot. This will give them the much needed credibility to dictate to states like Iran to desist from pursuing any such intention towards acquiring or building such arsenal.
Their leadership in this respect will encourage states like China, India, Pakistan and Israel to disclose or come clean about their nuclear weapons activities, while it will further isolate a state like North Korea, eventually leaving it no choice but to comply with the demands of the rest of the world (which will now be speaking with a unified voice) for more transparency and openness in its Nuclear Weapons Program.
The world gleaned a snippet of what a nuclear holocaust will be like when the Americans dropped the Atomic Bomb over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, that led to the abrupt end of the WWII. It is not a picture I think any one would like to see repeated save for the depraved mind, the likelihood of which I doubt is not beyond mankind to yet produce.
It is this fear that the world might yet produce this Apocalyptophillic leader/ruler that makes it all the more imperative that a consensus be reached amongst nations with nuclear capability to cut their stockpiles in the short term and hopefully totally eradicate or decommission them in the long run (regardless of how utopian that may sound).
No one is however under the illusion that nations will simply follow the path South Africa exemplified a few years back when it halted further development of its nuclear program but atleast full disclosures about what the Nuclear Armed nations possess will not be a bad idea. Unfortunately, the International Atomic Energy Agency hasn’t been able to achieve much in this respect, appearing only to go after so called ‘rogue’ nations while the BIG POWERS are considered ‘saints’ and better managers of their nuclear arsenal (like the majority can’t choose and decide wrongly in democratic nations like the US or the aberration that’s Russia’s democracy!).
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, NPT has not lived up to it’s name and have been ‘shit’ upon by most of the signatories at every given opportunity. It’s a surprise that it even gets mentioned at all in discussions nowadays.
Bearing all these in mind, it gladdens the mind that Obama is raising the issue now. One can only hope that he finds an ally in Putin and of course in China’s Xi Jinping, in a possible re-energization of the denuclearization agenda.
The danger inherent in the possibility of nuclear arsenals falling into the wrong hands, especially in these days of the worldwide scourge of terrorism cannot be overemphasized.
The ability of particular states to keep Nuclear Arsenals secure cannot be fully guaranteed, hence the need to ensure that multinational treaties and bodies set up for that purpose be fully empowered to carry out their job without undue interference from the ‘Big Nuclear Powers’, towards the end to bringing about a reduction in present stockpiles and encouraging states intending to tow the nuclear weapons path to desist. One rule must subsist for the big and small Nuclear Powers.
Though events in today’s world isn’t suggestive of an impending world peace, efforts towards it (even rhetorical) shouldn’t just be dismissed with a wave of the hand. Obama’s speech to this end for me was a good start that must be sustained and built upon.