“Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet.” – President Trump, 2018 State of the Union address
President Trump is right: There’s no question that the world is not yet prepared for complete nuclear disarmament. Relations between the two largest nuclear powers, the United States and Russia, are at the lowest point since the Cold War, and both countries are beefing up their arsenals. North Korea remains a rogue actor, continuing to test nuclear weapons and missiles. And the dangerous global proliferation of nuclear technology and materials continues.
At the same time, work is underway and progress is being made on the key steps that must be taken on the long path toward a world without nuclear weapons. The realization of that vision, articulated so well by Ronald Reagan, will not be the result of a future “magical moment.” It will be the result of frustrating, protracted dialogue, negotiation, and verification over many decades. It will follow the type of tough, drawn-out negotiation that has seen the United States and Russian nuclear stockpiles shrink dramatically over the last 30 years.
Behind the grim headlines, here are examples of the kind of work now underway designed to build a safer world for future generations:
- The U.S. State Department, in partnership with
NTI, is working with more than 25 countries to
identify challenges associated with nuclear disarmament verification, then
develop potential procedures and technologies to address them.
- NTI and the Moscow-based Center for Energy and Security Studies produced a joint report in 2017 highlighting projects the U.S. and Russia could take to help reduce risks and increase strategic stability between our countries.
- In 2017, the IAEA, with the support of Warren Buffett and the Nuclear Threat Initiative, launched the International LEU Bank, which creates an important option for countries that want the benefits of peaceful nuclear energy, without the significant costs of uranium enrichment and without the risks of proliferation.
- NTI is working with China, through a succession of meetings and exercises, to help strengthen dialogue and nuclear security engagement between China, the United States, and others.
- NTI Co-Chairs Sam Nunn and Ernest Moniz published an op-ed providing a concrete recommendation that will help the United States Congress and Executive Branch better coordinate Russia policy so as to limit miscommunication and confusion.