Monday, April 12, 2010 at 8:25 AM
Barack Obama was the first non-white male to be elected president of the United States.
He then became the first president to sign a universal healthcare bill, despite the heroic efforts of other presidents to do so for over 100 years.
He then became the first president since Ronald Reagan to sign a significant nuclear reduction treaty with Russia.
And today, he has become the first president ever to host a summit on nuclear security.
This is a record any president would be proud to claim after a full term in office. Yet President Obama has already achieved all of this within the first two years of his presidency: a record of achievement that should erase all (reasonable) doubts about him becoming a transformative president “like Ronald Reagan.”
Meanwhile, his two-day summit on nuclear security marks the first time since the founding of the United Nations in 1945 that so many world leaders (47) have answered the call of a US president to come to America to address one issue. Which is clearly a testament to his preeminent stature as a world statesman – much to the chagrin of the Tea-Party, Republican-nutjob detractors who are trying so desperately to undermine, if not delegitimize, his presidency.
Having said all that, I have no idea what protocols these world leaders hope to come up with that will guarantee the security of all nuclear weapons and materials around the world. After all, I recall reading many credible reports about “loose nukes” proliferating as collateral damage with the disintegration of the Soviet Union during the 1990s.
Not to mention more recent reports about Pakistan’s notorious scientist, A.Q. Khan, selling that country’s nuclear technology like a commodity on the open market. This means, of course, that the leader of Pakistan has the most ‘splanin to do.
In this respect, I think it was an egregious oversight that Obama did not even invite the leader of North Korea – who clearly has even more ‘splanin to do. After all, where Iran has become a menace by playing chicken with Israel and the US with nukes it does not have, North Korea has become a pariah by playing a similar game with South Korea and the US with nukes it actually has. Besides, didn’t Obama run on a pledge to reach out to rogue states like North Korea….?
In any event, trying to implement global measures to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists like al Qaeda seems rather akin to trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. But it’s a noble effort, and I wish Obama and his fellow leaders well … for the sake of mankind.
Mr. Obama told reporters Sunday that terrorist organizations like al-Qaida are trying to secure nuclear weapons, and if they succeed it could change the global security landscape for years to come. He said terrorists would not hesitate to use those weapons. (VOANews.com, April 12, 2010)
It is worth noting, though, that even if he only gets these leaders to sign on to a non-binding agreement, that would be far more than presidents from Bush Sr to Bush Jr – all of whom voiced concerns about the menacing threat of loose nukes – managed to do.
On the other hand, there’s a real chance that this summit will end up producing little more than political carping about what gives countries like the US the right to determine which countries have the right to possess nuclear weapons. Not least because of the glaring double standards that the US applies in Israel’s favor in this respect. No doubt this is why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled instead of showing up to face this carping….
Apropos cancellations, anyone who can afford to cancel showing up for work in DC today and tomorrow would be wise to do so because most of the city is in literal lock-down, and the rest of it will be a virtual parking lot.