Obama's Non-nuclear World
Over at Pajamas Media I look at Barack Obama’s desire to create a world without nuclear weapons and wonders if his new proposal would increase the risk to the world rather than reduce it.
Barack Obama called on Tuesday for the elimination of all the world’s nuclear weapons. According to AFP, Obama wants America to lead the way to disarming the world. "India and Pakistan and North Korea have joined the club of nuclear-armed nations, and Iran is knocking on the door. More nuclear weapons and more nuclear-armed nations mean more danger to us all. Here’s what I’ll say as president: America seeks a world in which there are no nuclear weapons." And the place to start the disarmament would be America, although Obama stressed he would not disarm unilaterally, and would back a strong US deterrent while nuclear weapons existed. "We’ll be in a better position to lead," he said, adding that under his presidency, the United States would adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. “It’s time to stop giving countries like Iran and North Korea an excuse. It’s time for America to lead."
Obama’s views don’t actually mean a world in which nuclear know-how has been abolished. On the contrary they assume a world in which nuclear knowledge has become universal. What they describe is a world without ready-use nukes. In fact, Obama’s speech bears an uncanny resemblance to the concept of shifting to a "virtual nuclear arsenal", what Colin Gray called "a thinking person’s variant of nuclear abolition", as a way of lessening the chance of using atomic weapons. The "world in which there are no nuclear weapons" Obama speaks of is not one where the knowledge of atomic physics and engineering has been abolished but one in which everyone agrees not have nuclear weapons ready for use. Gray adds that "nuclear virtuality should reinforce the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] by disarming the world’s active military inventories of nuclear weapons". Ian Davis, writing in the Guardian describes this nuclear strategy in a way that might have channeled Obama.
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