On October 6, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for its work bringing about a treaty banning nuclear weapons (a good summary of the treaty and negotiation process is here). This was exciting news for the nuclear disarmament community after, frankly, what has been a dispiriting few years—dangerous presidential rhetoric that could lead to a nuclear confrontation with North Korea; worries that the new administration’s review of U.S. nuclear policies could result in new nuclear weapons capabilities and an expansion if the role of nuclear weapons in security policy; a continued deterioration in relations with the United States’ only nuclear peer, Russia; and, most recently, news that President Trump plans to take action that would likely lead to the collapse of the Iran nuclear agreement (aka the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA), which was a signature diplomatic achievement negotiated in part by NTI’s new CEO, former Secretary Ernest J. Moniz (his most recent defense of the JCPOA is here).
It is also a mark of personal pride for me to work for an organization whose founder and co-chairman, former Senator Sam Nunn, along with former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, called for working toward a world without nuclear weapons through a series of steps in their seminal 2007 Wall Street Journal op-ed (first in a series). Their powerful statement helped to spur a global movement that brought the vision of a world without nuclear weapons into the mainstream—a vision that was then adopted as policy by the Obama administration. The foundation they laid for ICAN’s work was recognized in reporting on the Nobel Peace Prize.