While he was in the Czech Republic last Sunday, Barack Obama pledged the US’s “commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”.
Few could be against such a goal. Despite the end of the Cold War, the world’s major powers still stock enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over.
But the “concrete steps” Obama proposed will do nothing to make the world safer. He said that those without nuclear weapons will not be allowed to acquire them, but those who have them already – including the US itself – will only have to “move toward disarmament”.
This is a recipe for maintaining the status quo. Obama called Iran’s nuclear ambitions a “real threat”. He said North Korea “must be punished” for its attempt to launch a rocket into space.
But he said nothing about Israel’s nuclear stockpiles. Israel was only mentioned as a possible victim of a nuclear attack, rather than as a possible instigator of one.
Obama knows that he was brought to power by mass revulsion at George Bush’s wars.
The people who voted for him want more than Bush’s discredited policies dressed up in warmer words – they want an end to nuclear double standards and genuine disarmament. Obama should heed their voices.