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Trump’s “Magical Moment” a Reminder of Hard Nuclear Security Work Ahead

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“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.

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