April 28, 2010


Deep Thoughts Before Armageddon (Robert Wright, 4/28/10, NY Times)

Beginning any moment now, you’ll see a month-long trickle of news articles, op-eds and blog posts about the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference, which gets underway in New York City this Monday and lasts through May 28. Since the fate of the world could hinge on stemming the spread of nuclear weapons, and this goal could in turn hinge on strengthening the treaty at these every-five-years review conferences, you may feel you should read much of this coverage. And your likely failure to do so may cause guilt feelings.

I’m here to help. This column may not give you everything you need to know about what’s likely to happen at the conference, but I’ll do my best to make you feel you’ve paid your dues without a huge sacrifice of time.

And for those who are especially pressed for time, I’ll even preface my timesaving preview with a timesaving preview of my preview:

1) Though there will be a valuable airing of some urgently needed treaty reforms at this conference, none will get passed.

...it's not much of a problem and such as it is would be easily solved if we actually cared about it.

You'd think that after 70 years of whipping themselves into a hysterical frenzy with that "fate of the world" nonsense, people would be tired of the nuclear boogeyman, but the emotional wallow prevents coherent thought. But if you're not subject to their paranoid delusion, John Mueller's Atomic Obsession offers a dispositive dismantling of the idea that nukes are, or ever have been, an existential threat.

Of course, just because we need not be overconcerned about nukes does not mean that we should permit France, Pakistan and China to have them. We ought to require all three to surrender their weapons and make no more.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 28, 2010 1:02 PM
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