Belmont Club

You may say that I'm a dreamer

The Independent writes, “Obama calls for total nuclear disarmament”.

A misty spring sun on his back, US President Barack Obama stood before a crowd of more than 20,000 in a square beneath the walls of Prague Castle yesterday to lay out his goal of forging a world free of nuclear weapons, while acknowledging that he may not see it in his lifetime. …

The speech began with almost Disneyesque staging as the President and Mrs Obama climbed hand-in-hand on to the outdoor stage to string music, the skyline of Prague’s domes and spires behind them and a thick bank of carnations and roses at their feet. But the message the President offered was grave and weighted with unexpected new urgency by the firing overnight of another ballistic missile by North Korea.

Among Mr Obama’s specific proposals was the creation of an international nuclear energy bank, from which nations would be able to draw nuclear fuel for the generation of energy and steps to support Iran in seeking nuclear energy if it proves it is not, in fact, pursuing nuclear weapons. He will also seek a new treaty to end all production of fissile material suitable for nuclear warheads.

Mr Obama also acknowledged the political divisions in the Czech Republic created by US plans, developed by the Bush administration, to build a missile defence base on its territory, as well as in Poland, to protect the allies from any future Iranian nuclear arsenal. He said the plan would be scrapped only if it can be verified that Iran has been persuaded to drop its military nuclear ambitions.

Is it possible to create a world without nuclear weapons? What about nuclear weapon equivalents, such as biological weapons? How can a world “without nuclear weapons” be achieved without the threat of force; and would not the journey toward disarmament imply at least potentially, a nuclear Showdown at OK Corral, after which there were still weapons anyway? Will liars occupy a privileged position in this new world? Open thread.