The shocking thing about nuclear weapons is that they seem to have lost their power to shock. While the nuclear deal that was just reached with Iran in Lausanne might suggest otherwise and is very good news, that effort should not obscure the bad news elsewhere. The momentum toward a nuclear-weapon-free world driven by U.S. President Barack Obama’s landmark 2009 speech in Prague, having faltered for the last few years, has now gone into sharp reverse.
President Vladimir Putin recently announced his readiness to put Russian nuclear forces on alert last year when Russia annexed Crimea, and even signaled plans to “surprise the West with our new developments in offensive nuclear weapons.” The world barely stirred. Meanwhile, China and India are steadily increasing the size of their nuclear arsenals, and Pakistan is doing so even faster, even spelling out plans to combine battlefield nukes with conventional weapons. Again, the world shrugs.
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