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On nuclear weapons, nations must cooperate to avoid catastrophe

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“Since the end of World War II, the United States and our allies have relied on the ultimate threat of mutual assured destruction for our security, as the Soviet Union did and Russia does now,” writes former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn in an op-ed published in the Washington Post, published on the day President Obama visited Hiroshima. “Today, with nine nations possessing nuclear arms and terrorists seeking them, this strategy has become increasingly hazardous and decreasingly effective.”

As President Barack Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima, Nunn, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chairman of the Board of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, highlighted the importance of communication between states in maintaining security. “Cold War dangers compelled dialogue between Washington and Moscow on nuclear security and strategic stability.  This dialogue is dangerously absent now, even as our planes and ships have close encounters in Europe and the Middle East,” he writes.

Senator Nunn lists a series of practical steps the United States and international community can take now to reduce the threat of nuclear conflict or nuclear terrorism, and argued for citizens and leaders alike to imagine the consequences of a nuclear weapon. “The day after a nuclear weapon explodes, God forbid, what would we wish we had done to prevent it?  Why don’t we do it now?”

Read the opinion here.

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