Obama's summit represents a 'small step toward slowing the decline of international cooperation on nuclear issues', says Calabresi.
Ask an Obama Administration official why the President is bringing nearly 50 heads of state all the way to Washington just so they can collectively declare that loose nukes are bad, and you'll get a version of this: America can only be safe if international cooperation is strong.
That may be true, and hawks and doves in Washington agree there's little downside to the summit itself. But even the most idealistic internationalists know that the number of nuclear-armed states is likely to grow rather than shrink in coming years, weakening the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and increasing the production of dangerous materials around the globe. So, a more accurate definition of the summit's purpose may be that it is, at best, a small step toward slowing the decline of international cooperation on nuclear issues.
The gathering will produce more paper than progress, Administration officials concede. There will be the nonbinding communiqué, wherein the leaders will declare the dangers of nuclear proliferation. They will pledge to take new national and international measures to secure nuclear materials within four years. The summit will produce a "work plan" of steps that individual states will take to secure their nuclear materials; that too will be nonbinding. And individual countries will announce their own measures, to the extent that they want to do more.
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