LONDON – One of the most dispiriting features of today’s international debates is that the threat to humanity posed by the world’s 23,000 nuclear weapons – and by those who would build more of them, or be only too willing to use them – has been consigned to the margin of politics.
US President Barack Obama did capture global attention with his Prague speech in 2009, which made a compelling case for a nuclear weapon-free world. And he did deliver on a major new arms-reduction treaty with Russia, and hosted a summit aimed at reducing the vulnerability of nuclear weapons and materials to theft or diversion.
But nuclear issues still struggle for public resonance and political traction. It would take a brave gambler to bet on ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by the US Senate any time soon.