President Barack Obama has outlined the dramatic goal of “a world without nuclear weapons,” even as he warns that the risk of a nuclear attack has increased as more nations acquire the devastating weapon and black market deals may put bombs in the hands of terrorists.
New School professor Jonathan Schell says Obama has promised some short-term moves including a new round of negotiations aimed at cutting nuclear-bomb inventories among current nuclear powers and preventing non-nuclear states from entering the nuclear club.
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Schell says, however, Obama’s position will be undercut by the inevitable double standard of having nine countries with significant nuclear stockpiles while the rest are pressured under the non-proliferation treaty to forego the bomb. Schell says the double standard is “most acute” in the Middle East where Israel has a sophisticated nuclear arsenal while the United States condemns Iran’s suspected moves toward building a bomb.
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