President Obama completed a first meeting of world leaders on combating nuclear terrorism with a list of specific commitments from dozens of nations to eliminate or lock down nuclear materials, in what he called a “bold and pragmatic” program to finish the task in the next four years.
The meeting that Mr. Obama convened, and to a great degree stage-managed, was unlike any negotiations over arms control with the Soviets during the cold war or, more recently, the so-far fruitless talks to get North Korea to disarm. This was a far broader effort to persuade African, Latin American, Asian and European nations to agree on steps to deny terrorist groups the two materials necessary to make a bomb: plutonium and highly enriched uranium.
Mr. Obama began the session arguing that while superpower confrontation was far more remote, the risk of nuclear terrorism had never been greater, and he quoted the warning of Albert Einstein soon after the beginning of the nuclear age: “We are drifting towards a catastrophe beyond comparison.” [……]
He achieved some success[emphasis is mine].
At the end of two days of meetings, Mr. Obama could claim two major accomplishments: The summit meeting forced countries that had failed to clean up their nuclear surpluses to formulate detailed plans to deal with them, and it kicked into action nations that had failed to move on previous commitments.
A second summit meeting will be held in two years in South Korea, Mr. Obama said, to make sure countries are on track. [……]
Image source: Doug Mills, New York TImes