The much-postponed 50th anniversary NPT Review Conference ended in New York on Aug. 26 without an agreed final document.

Russia rejected the draft text because it expressed “grave concern” over military activities around Ukrainian nuclear power plants, including Zaporizhzhia that is currently under Russian control. Four days later the eighth and last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, died in Moscow, aged 91. It was a fitting symmetry in that Gorbachev had done more than any other leader of a nuclear-armed state to try to abolish nuclear weapons but failed.

In his State of the Union address in Jan. 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan addressed the Russian people: “The only value in our two nations possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they will never be used. But then, would it not be better to do away with them entirely”?