…and the dreamland of too many Canadians. The president needs to take reality seriously; so do we. I posted this April 5:
Fewer nukes better be good nukes
Now the Globe and Mail’s editorial shows good sense (usual on foreign affairs) in taking a clear look President Obama’s call for a world free of nuclear weapons:
The bomb is here to stay
Leading the world out of the global recession, restoring America’s moral leadership in the world, overhauling the U.S. health-care system, tackling global warming, eliminating poverty at home and abroad, and triumphing over jihadism in Pakistan and Afghanistan – there is so much resting on the narrow shoulders of U.S. President Barack Obama. Yet Mr. Obama has now upped the ante with a call for a “world without nuclear weapons.”
It is an incontrovertible wish. The existence of large stockpiles of nuclear weapons is a terrible legacy of the Cold War, and as the President said, while “the threat of global nuclear war has gone down … the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up.” More countries have joined the nuclear club, including Pakistan. Iran is in pursuit of the bomb. North Korea has launched a long-range ballistic missile. Terrorists are working assiduously to acquire or build nuclear weapons. Any steps to reduce the proliferation, to reduce the risk of a nuclear attack, are obviously welcome.
But Mr. Obama cannot seriously believe that a world without nuclear weapons is possible. And if, as he says, it likely will not happen in his own lifetime, why then raise the stakes in such an extravagant way, so that nothing short of expunging all nuclear weapons from the Earth will be deemed a success?
The Obama administration has established the goal of (a) negotiating by the end of the year a new strategic-arms reduction treaty with Russia, (b) U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, (c) a new treaty that “verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons,” (d) a plan to strengthen the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and (e) “a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years.”
This is an ambitious agenda for a president and a country that face so many other great challenges. But add to it the “goal of a world without nuclear weapons,” and Mr. Obama’s vision and ambition may exceed his grasp. Laudable, and indeed inspirational, as his imaginings may be, the President has gone beyond Wilsonian idealism, into the territory of Obamaian Utopianism.
It is time now for the President and his administration to concentrate on fulfilling promises already made.
More from Anne Applembaum:
Yes, We Can . . . Disarm?
Obama’s Quixotic Rallying Cry for the World
A Wall St. Journal editorial:
The Nuclear Illusionist
Obama’s ‘moral authority’ won’t deter Tehran or Pyongyang.
A World Without Nukes — Just Like 1939
Interesting that two of the pieces are in the Washington Post.
Back at home, Lounge Lizard Larry Martin of the Globe and Mail lives in a typically Canadian elite fantasyland; he wants Canada to “do something” in an arena where we have close to zero influence:
Halting nuclear madness: Where’s Canada?
More from Mr Martin last month:
Traditionally, Canadian governments pursue disarmament. A good question is whether there’s ever been such silence on nuclear proliferation and arms stockpiling as we’ve had from Team Harper. It’s like it’s not a problem.
…by and large, Ottawa is ignoring causes for which it would usually be engaged. Africa is largely forgotten. In Darfur, the International Criminal Court is pursuing a sitting head of state in connection with genocide. But as former justice minister Irwin Cotler points out, Canada – a force in creating the ICC – has shown little interest. The same, he says, is the case in Rwanda, where our foreign assistance for the indemnification of the horrors of 15 years ago has been cut…
More Canada! More Canada! Regardless of whether anything useful might actually be achieved. Words not deeds count–because those words make us feel good about ourselves, that is to say morally self-important and personally self-satisfied. Juvenile.