A world without nuclear weapons: Obama’s pipe dream?

September 24, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama says he wants a world without nuclear weapons. But will that ever happen?
Obama showed he’s serious this week. He chaired a historic summit meeting of the U.N. Security Council which unanimously passed a U.S.-drafted resolution that envisages “a world without nuclear weapons”.
It was the first time a U.S. president chaired a meeting of the Security Council since it was established in 1946.
John Burroughs, executive director of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, an advocacy group, identified serious weaknesses in the resolution, including the absence of mandatory disarmament steps for the world’s five official nuclear powers — the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia.
Some diplomats from countries without nuclear weapons said the lack of mandatory disarmament moves is not just a weakness, but a loophole the five big powers — which have permanent seats and vetoes on the Security Council — deliberately inserted into the resolution so that they wouldn’t have to scrap their beloved nuclear arsenals.
An official from one of the five big powers appeared to confirm this in an “off-record” email to Reuters explaining the language in the resolution: “I would underline that creating the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons is not the same as calling for a world free of nuclear weapons.” He added that “the spirit of the resolution is much more about non-proliferation than disarmament.”
A diplomat and disarmament expert from a European country with no nuclear weapons said this was typical of the “cynicism” of some permanent Security Council members. He added that the U.S. delegation had made very clear that the use of the word “disarmament” meant total nuclear disarmament — perhaps not today, but someday. 
China’s President Hu Jintao said China was not planning to get rid of its nuclear arsenal anytime soon. So did French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The resolution didn’t name Iran and North Korea. However, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Sarkozy filled in the blanks and called for tougher sanctions against Iran for defying U.N. demands to halt sensitive nuclear work.
The resolution didn’t mention Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea, the four others known or assumed to have nuclear weapons. But it did politely ask “other states” to sign the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and get rid of their atom bombs.
Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi was the only leader of a council member state that stayed away from the meeting. Several council diplomats expressed relief at his absence, saying they had been afraid the long-winded Gaddafi would have exceeded the five-minute limit for statements.

(Photos by Mike Segar/REUTERS)


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I hope Obama,s dream does not include Israel getting rid of their nuclear weapons.I can see this coming down the road, Iran saying that they will stop the enriching if there is pressure on Israel to dismantle their stock pile.Fortunately the jews are not that stupid!if they did ,their enemies would attack them like a pack of wolves,

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

It is really hard to believe that a president of the US would be this unrealistic. Sure, some will say it’s visionary, but that’s hogwash. Even Obama has to know that numerous nations will never agree to sign on to such a plan until the next superweapon (or perhaps superdefense system) is created—and one will be—and then a nuclear free world will be not such a big deal.

And to the above post, yes, Obama (like other US presidents and world leaders) does think he can use the UN (where the US has enormous power) to control the “rules of the game” so to speak and push not just Americans around, but other countries too.

Posted by k-boy | Report as abusive

The US President only seeks a world where only the USA has all the weapons of Mass Destruction…no other nation should have these weapons ..Yes , Isreal could be an exceptional case .

Posted by O B L | Report as abusive

Don’t worry Brian, Israel will still have hundreds of nukes pointed at Palestine, Iran and every other country they trying (or already doing) warmongering.

US will keep pumping out nukes, Israel will keep getting hundreds of nukes, and we’ll sit here on our high horses telling a country they can never have one. Even countries that haven’t started wars in 400 years when we start them every single decade at least.

Iran hitting the US with a nuke anytime in the next 50 years is as likely as me winning multiple lotteries in my lifetime.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Let’s face it nuclear weapons are an ace up the sleeve that many countries (including us) will not be willing to give up. It’s not going to happen.
Brian, can you list one benefit the US has seen from it’s undying support of Israel. One, just one.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

“Brian, can you list one benefit the US has seen from it’s undying support of Israel. One, just one.”

Ooh Ooh me me… pick me! Ummm…simple we have someone else to go in and blow up the nuclear reactors (Saddams) and nuclear sites (Irans) so we don’t have to take the heat.

Dude… like it wasn’t me.

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive

hi eric i wish this answer was on faithworld it would sound more appropriate but not getting into to much detail i believe America and where i was born England ,have seen many blessings because of our support for Israel.If Obama has an agenda that is to lead us in a different direction i believe then we would see a dramatic turn of events.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

The p-5 is a sham. One communist totaliaritan regime with 4 nations, all with one common faith. How representative is the security council. Reforms are needed yesterday and security council shouls have more asian and african representation. All faiths to be included to prevent any prejucice and preferential treatment.

The group of p5 is sitting on n- stock pile and raising a hue and cry when others are following their exmple. Indian Prime Ministers from Nehru to Vajpayee wanted global disarmament and the P5 resisted to entertain a symbolic introduction of a resolution for decades. Hypocrisy or bigotry, the UN is non representative and hence devoid of any teeth. Though the well intentioned Obama vision is just as old as 60 yrs from Indian point of view, its welcome.

Posted by avatar | Report as abusive

I have been against Obama from the beginning because i am not a liberal democrat,and i been told by people like Jimmy Carter that i am probably a racist.This has caused me to examine my motivation and find if there is any justification in this claim,and i sincerely believe no so.Now if we read the recent postings and observe that people who are described as liberal progressives there seems to be little compassion for Israel.Therefore could i suggest that perhaps these people are antisemetic?Following on from this ,if one is true then surly so is the other one!Which makes me suggest that perhaps the Hollywood progressive jews and the New York progressive jews should take note! were does their support reside ,is it with their ancient national tradition or the political doctrine of liberalism,because if this none support for Israel is growing in the democratic party then there is dia consequences for Israel in the future.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Brian, that was not an answer, please make with the details. If you were born in the UK then you might know that it was Britain and the US that were largely responsible for getting the UN to create Israel. A bad plan from the start, not an antisemetic thing to say, just an acknowledgment that taking land form Muslims and giving it to Jews was a bad idea.
What the hell did people think was going to happen? That Palestinians would just roll over and accept it? To make matters worse in ’68 Israel took more land that was not part of the original deal. Yet in the eyes of the US Israel can do no wrong.

Patrick, you get todays Gold Star for seeing an angle that I didn’t and for being funny. Bravo!

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

eric stop spinning and answer the two questions please,incidentally you did not respond to Kennedy posting i think you might answer that as well, TC has not posted since and this healthy debate,whether you agree of not,you popinjay.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Brian. Eric is clearly antisemitic in his postings although he says he isn’t. No matter how he spins his words, he shows the true character of his heart.

I am taking no position on the advantages or disadvantages of Israel and its place as a nation in the middle east and the world. What I do believe is this, the Israelis have a right to live no matter what people believe about their current status as a nation.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Israel in 60 years have turned a desolate dry piece into a prosperous nation,with a healthy economy and with a highly technical manufacturing base.On the other hand their neighbours even with revenue from their oil fields which were developed by mostly USA have very little apart from this to maintain their populations.If there is a change from fossil fuel energy,then how are these people going to survive? It seems that all their energy is taken up trying to wage war.If Israel were eliminated the whole region would drift back into what they were in the 9th century,tribes fighting amongst themselves.Perhaps it would be better if they learned from the Israel how to develop their countries for the benefit of their people.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

TC and Brian, wow guys I never knew I was antisemetic, thanks for pointing that out. It’s going to come as quite a shock to my Jewish friends and my married into the family aunt. I have always believed that the european Jews needed a place of their own after WWII but you have to admit that taking land from Muslims and giving it to Jews was a bad idea. It was bound to cause problems and it did. So you guys can label me any thing you want, it doesn’t matter to me.
Yes Brian Israel has become a successful and prosperous country and I’m happy for the people who benefit from that. However I still do not see what the US has gained from this relationship. So enlighten me.
Questioning the chosen location of Israel doesn’t make me anymore of an antisemite than opposing Obama makes Brian a racist. Following this logic you could say that people who were opposed to Clinton were anti oral sex.
Sorry if I’m not taking the time to answer your questions, I’m a busy guy.
TC I’m always amazed at your ability to see the true character of peoples hearts through a blog postings, you truly possess a unique gift.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

You aren’t the only busy person Eric. Most of the time you hit and run, but you made an exception here.

I forgot that only conservatives are antisemitic when they same the same things as you have. My mistake. I forgot the way it works.

It is not relevant if you have Jewish friends and family when it comes to your true beliefs. Not suggesting anything…just saying…But I am sure your Jewish family and friends are not in agreement with you. (I have a feeling you will say otherwise…). It doesn’t matter, just like it doesn’t matter that the Canadian health care system was a “bad idea” which you have argued the contrary with me about. You are just wrong there, I have family who live the Canadian system. Go ahead and call me anti-Canuck. I don’t care either. 😉

I have no dog in this fight. It is all Biblical anyway and I don’t concern myself in the worldly politics of the Jewish state. My point, which you ignored, is that the Isralis have a right to live no matter what anyone thinks about their current status in the world. All the rest is opened to interpretation.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Check your history. The Jewish people moved legitimately to live in British Mandate Palestine.

The country was only split in two when the Arab Palestinians began race riots to drive out the Jewish Palestinians.

It became obvious that the Jewish people were not going to run away, and the British didn’t want to get involved as occupier. So the UK pulled out, and Palestine was split in half by the UN for the sake of peace.

Of course, one side (Cough*Arab nations*Cough) decided it wanted to invade Israel. The Israeli’s fought back and the rest is history.

The only reason things are worse today is because the Arabs never learnt that losing wars means you lose territory as well. And every time they fought with Israel, they lost more land.

The clock cannot be wound back, and the UN doesn’t really care about property claims from fifty years ago.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

It’s not a dream, it’s actually very easy if you’re in the position of the United States. What is difficult for the US is disarming while at the same time retaining absolute supremacy and dictator status over the world.

All they have to do is start the ball rolling by eliminating their foreign based arsenal so as to reduce their 10 000+ stockpile to a domestic defensive capability only.
Then to give themselves some needed credibility they will have to stop further breaking NNPT treaty obligations and withdraw all financial (app. $4 billion / year) and military aid to Israel, which is prohibited by the treaty if the aid recipient is in possession of illegal nuclear weapons.
Then they need to treat as equals ALL states with illegal nuclear weapons programs, which puts Israel on the same level as Iran and North Korea..

Easy… The stage will then be set for some legitimate negotiations.

But that’s not what we’re trying to do is it…
We’re really trying to find a way for these global dictators to look like they care, while protecting the prime objective at all costs, preserving supreme US power over the world community.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

[…] by clever diplomatic maneuvering which sidestepped the divisive question of whether Obama’s “dream” should be achieved through reliance on Magic Ponies or by means of the Care Bear […]

Posted by 9-28-2009 | Drive Time Happy Hour | Report as abusive

brian,a lot countries object to American interference even the ones who are prepared to take aid in spite of these objections,particularly when they have some sort of natural catastrophe,and when America is normally the first to show up.Incidentally was it only a rumour that Clinton handed a 600 million bribe to North Korea?.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

sorry, you’ve lost me..
This has no relevance to my comment or the topic. The only aid I was talking about is the illegal aid to Israel (recipient of the largest aid package from the US), which is banned under the NNPT. The topic is about nuclear disarmament and the USA’s refusal to take it seriously, as the worst offender in the history of WMD’s.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Going along the lines with what most people have been saying, the U.S. will not give up nuclear weapons. Obama’s “dream” is like a wish for world peace, an impossible matter that people still wish for anyhow. Have you heard of Asia Chronicle News? The site has lots of in-depth analyses and commentaries related to the whole nuclear disarmament issue. Worth a read I think. www.asiachroniclenews.com

Posted by hotaruSTAR16 | Report as abusive

[…] chamber it is not. … Because Obama wanted the Security Council meeting to be about his own dream of a nuclear-free world. The president, reports the New York Times citing “White House officials,” did not want […]

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