|Francis, An Inspiration to Obama, Irma Arguello|
Irma Arguello, Infobae, 27 Mar 2014.
The meeting between Pope Francis and Obama could foreshadow opportunities for peace and the struggle against poverty if words translate into positive actions.
Obama said on arriving in Rome that he came to listen to a Pope who had arrived on the scene to help the poor and combat inequality. Nevertheless, poverty and inequality are not abstract concepts: they stem from the decisions made by rulers, both locally and internationally. For example, the armed conflicts and the arms race are responsible for much of the poverty and inequality that exists globally. The case of nuclear arsenals, seen as a key ingredient of international power, speaks for itself.
The United States spends around 2 million dollars per hour to sustain its nuclear arms complex, which fortunately has little if any chance of being used. If you take into account the expenditures of all nuclear armed states, which also includes Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea, this figure adds up to a total of 11 million dollars per hour. What is brutal about this situation is that this almost unimaginable level of spending is diverted from investments, needed to satisfy the most basic human needs, in the countries with arms (some of which have tremendous social deficits) and from international aid, which developed nations fund to fight extreme poverty.
We must ponder, without any additional delay, about how many millions could be fed, and how many hospitals, how much education and how much infrastructure could be put in place if these sterile investments were made with more noble ends. The possession of nuclear arms is also a clear question of inequality, as it helps to concentrate international power in hands of very few, and in this way, contaminates multilateral dialogue at the expense of respect and even-handed treatment of the interests of the non-nuclear weapon states.
All the same, the myth has feet of clay. The belief in nuclear dissuasion as a source of power, contrasts with the plausibility of an act of nuclear terrorism (which could not be dissuaded) that would have a devastating political and economic impact on both nuclear armed states, and non-nuclear weapons states, without distinction.
Not in vain President Obama arrived in Rome after having participated in the Third Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, which brought together 53 heads of states to debate measures to prevent nuclear terrorism. Unfortunately, little was discussed there about the risks of nuclear arms, or the humanitarian consequences of their existence and the pressing need for disarmament. Evidently, Obama cannot on his own solve all of these dilemmas in a nation in which portions of its leadership, on the one hand show sensitivity to social matters, but at the same time believe in armed solutions to conflicts and a national security based on nuclear arms.
In this first year of his papacy, Francis has positioned himself as a universal leader for peace, not only for Catholics but for everybody. It’s enough to see his role in key subjects like the crisis in Syria, where his positive influence opened the doors to a negotiated solution in a multilateral framework. His potential to do good, generating a change in the paradigm of international relations, is noteworthy, for his own conviction and style, and for being in the right place and time.
The time has come to tie together subjects on the international agenda that are frequently dealt with separately. Peace, poverty and inequality are all part and parcel of an international system of sustainable governance that has human beings in the forefront of its concerns. As such, today they are more than ever, mutually dependent. Francis does not need to say all of these things. It is enough that by way of open dialogue he inspire Obama to a genuine reflection leading the president to make the right decisions in favor of global security, prioritizing humans in all cases, instead of power games between nations. Also, that his intention and example may inspire other leaders, beginning with those of nuclear weapon states and their allies, to bet on peace, on the multidimensional structures to support it and on a progressive nuclear disarmament.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 17 Apr 2014.
A United Nations report Thursday said that Iran has reduced its stockpiles of sensitive uranium by 75% as part of a deal with six world powers seeking assurances of the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear program, Reuters news agency reported.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Iran had diluted half of its reserves of uranium with 20% enrichment.
Under the terms of the agreement, the other half of the country’s sensitive uranium reserves were to be converted to oxide. Reuters said that the U.N. agency reported that this process was halfway completed.
Global Security Newswire, 16 Apr 2014.
A terminated U.S. Army facility worker faces charges for holding what was thought to be a deadly form of uranium, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.Police detained 44-year-old Joseph Gibeau on Saturday after allegedly finding radioactive substances inside several lead-shielded containers at his home while responding to a domestic call, the newspaper reported on Tuesday. Two containers reportedly held a substance tentatively identified by authorities as uranium sulfate, a potentially lethal chemical.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 14 Abr 2014.
The leader of the global monitoring group that is helping oversee the eradication of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal said Monday President Bashar al-Assad’s government has no more margin for delays if it is to meet the June deadline for destruction of its arsenal.
Ahmet Üzümcü, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said the removal of the chemicals had fallen behind a revised schedule that called for the delivery process to be completed by April 27.
Global Security Newswire, 17 Apr 2014.
North Korea reportedly has deployed a mobile rocket launcher to its east coast in a possible sign that a threatened missile test is imminent.
A transporter-erector-launcher was detected moving toward the North's coast, an anonymous senior South Korean government official told the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper for a Tuesday report.
The mobile launcher was earlier fielded at the North's "central front," the official said. "North Korea made similar moves before the launch of its short-range FROG rockets and KN-09 ballistic missiles in late February and early March."
NPSGlobal Foundation, 13 May 2014.
A high-level U.N. official today opened a four-day conference on lethal autonomous weapons encouraging delegates to take bold action to assure that the ultimate decision to take life remain under human control.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 21 may 2014.
A study by security experts of a British university said that a Chinese businessman, who has been accused of supplying prohibited technology to Iran, may have begun manufacturing a key component of guidance systems for ballistic missiles, seriously threatening international peace and security.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 18 Apr 2014
The operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accidentally directed 200 tons of highly radioactive water to a building within the plant site that was not supposed to receive the contaminated water, the Japan Daily Press reported Thursday.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) told the Japan Daily Press that Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) ordered the company to monitor for leakage even though TEPCO assured that the facility was watertight.
TEPCO reported that the highly contaminated water, which is used for cooling the disabled reactors, had been mistakenly routed to a group of buildings that house the central waste processing facilities for the plant.
NPSGlobal Foundation, Apr 14, 2014.
A Japanese columnist today said Washington may soon force Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to accept traditional safeguards on its nuclear materials unless it backs down from its confrontational stance with neighboring countries.
Norihiro Kato, a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and literary professor at Waseda University, said in an Op-Ed piece in the newspaper that if Abe “continues on his confrontational agenda, his government may lose Washington’s support.”
By Godfrey Marawanyika & Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg, 10 Aug 2013.
Zimbabwe hasn’t signed an agreement allowing uranium exports to Iran, Deputy Mining Minister Gift Chimanikire said, after a media report the country entered into a deal to export the material used to build nuclear weapons.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 20 May 2014.
The state of New Mexico in the southwestern region of the United States has given the Los Alamos National Laboratory a deadline for securing 57 nuclear-waste barrels that were linked to a radiation leak in February, according to news reports.
New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn said the nuclear-waste drums may pose an “imminent” and “substantial” danger to health or the environment, NBC News reported. He said the laboratory had until Wednesday to propose how to secure the barrels to prevent further leaks.
Regional Postgraduate Course in International Security, Disarmament and Non-proliferation
An Excellent Educational Option for 2017
"Our vision: A World Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction"