What was this great convocation about? To prevent the spread of nuclear material into the hands of terrorists. A worthy goal, no doubt. Unfortunately, the two greatest such threats were not even on the agenda.
The first is Iran, which is frantically enriching uranium to make a bomb, and which our own State Department identifies as the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world.
Nor on the agenda was Pakistan's plutonium production, which is adding to the world's stockpile of fissile material every day.
Pakistan is a relatively friendly power, but it is the most unstable of all the nuclear states. It is fighting a Taliban insurgency and is home to al-Qaeda. Suicide bombs go off regularly in its major cities. Moreover, its own secret service, the ISI, is of dubious loyalty, some of its elements being sympathetic to the Taliban and thus, by extension, to al-Qaeda.
So what was the major breakthrough announced by Obama at the end of the two-day conference? That Ukraine, Chile, Mexico and Canada will be getting rid of various amounts of enriched uranium.
What a relief. I don't know about you, but I lie awake nights worrying about Canadian uranium. I know these people. I grew up there. You have no idea what they're capable of doing. If Sidney Crosby hadn't scored that goal to win the Olympic gold medal, there's no telling what might have ensued.
Let us stipulate that sequestering nuclear material is a good thing. But, it is a minor thing, particularly when Iran is off the table and Pakistan is creating new plutonium for every ounce of Canadian uranium shipped to the United States.
Perhaps calculating that removing relatively small amounts of fissile material from stable, friendly countries didn't quite do the trick, Obama proudly announced that the United States and Russia were disposing of 68 tons of plutonium. Unmentioned was the fact that this agreement was reached 10 years ago -- and, under the new protocol, doesn't begin to dispose of the plutonium until 2018. Feeling safer now?
Friday, April 16, 2010
Charles Krauthammer skewers the President for his preening about the results of his nuclear summit while the real issues with nuclear weapons continue dangerously unresolved.