Nuke Summit - Great Obama PR?

The “Nuclear Summit” comprised of representatives of 47 nations just concluded in Washington by President Obama may do some good, though not a single legal document was signed and the president himself admitted that “good will” was the operative vehicle for the keeping of promises made.

For instance, “India declared that it will build a center to promote nuclear security, in what experts called a significant change in its focus on the issue. Ukraine, Mexico, Chile, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and Canada agreed to dispose of hundreds of pounds of highly enriched uranium used in civilian facilities. The material, a key ingredient in nuclear bombs, can often be replaced for civilian uses with far-less-dangerous low-enriched uranium,” according to Washington Post writer Mary Beth Sheridan. Obviously, there’s no way to determine if any of this actually happens.

The effort seems to be what one might expect of the United Nations rather than the United States or any other member-nation. Is it fair to conclude that Barack Obama, whether intentionally or not, by his own volition one-upped UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of South Korea and established himself as the unofficial world leader, with all the resources (that still remain) of this nation to back his play?

Or did Obama recognize himself as the de facto world leader and simply let everybody know? If so, he hurt his claim in his nuke-speech last week when he, except in the case of North Korea and Iran, virtually took this country’s retaliation-by-nuke option off the table in the case of most any sort of attack by another nation, including WMD. Paper-tigers are laughable.

The president is justifiably concerned that terrorists or terrorist organizations could acquire a sufficient quantity and type of materials to make nuclear bombs, even though that’s a bit far-fetched from a practical standpoint. Can anyone envision al Qaeda, for instance, establishing the facilities that even Iran so far has not established in order to make a bomb? Al Qaeda doesn’t even have a country now, much less any location in which to build the apparatus necessary to make a bomb. Bin Laden’s best bet would be to hijack or purchase a bomb from Pakistan and even then he would have to get it in place.

The worry is not the BOMB. The worry has to do with the manufacture and deployment of other weapons of mass destruction such as Sarin gas or anthrax or mustard gas or just simple explosives of the type worn by the wannabe-martyr-homicide-suicide Muslim bombers around their midsections. This makes Obama’s recent announcement that this country would not respond with nukes if a state-maintained organization, such as al Qaeda/Afghanistan pre-9/11, blew up the subways (or gassed their inhabitants) in American cities. His threat of conventional response, whatever that is, would not bother the head honchos in countries/religions in which life is cheap to the point of being entirely expendable. Their response would simply be to “bring it on,” and American GIs would die.

If the leaders of countries such as Afghanistan, North Korea, Yemen, Iran or Somalia understood that entire cities would be nuked and wiped out if they undertook to use non-nuke weapons of mass destruction (deadly enough themselves to wipe out entire urban populations) to kill on American soil, they would think long and hard before sending their minions out to smuggle WMD into this country and use them. They should consider the achievements connected to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. So…Obama, if he contemplates further summits, would do well to make their subjects the wiping out of all WMD in all of their ugly forms by any method. He has the bona fides for this since this country, which has its share of WMD, has never used these toxic weapons.

One of the thorniest issues endemic to the nuke-subject has to do with the use, misuse, or nonuse of plutonium present in the spent fuel that is a byproduct of the operations of nuclear energy plants. There’s considerable disagreement about this among nations. Should the plutonium be extracted? It can be used in other reactors but it can also be used in bombs. Though extremely important, this matter was avoided at the president’s summit. Was it not considered as a nuclear element or simply too hot to handle (no pun intended)?

There are 438 reactor units throughout the world in at least 29 countries, meaning at least this many possible conduits of plutonium. Nearly a fourth of them are in this country so Obama for obvious reasons (at least to most people) may have wanted the subject off the table; however, it’s strange that none of the other countries insisted upon discussing this matter, unless, of course, they see plutonium as an invaluable commodity.

Obama has made much of enhancing this country’s image in the world (purging the stink of Bush, of course), so why didn’t he magnanimously just promise to give away the world’s greatest supply of plutonium or offer to destroy or weaken it? Maybe he was thinking that even the democrat-controlled Congress wouldn’t go for that inordinate-by-any-standard insanity. The summit provided great Obama PR, but its usefulness was/is most likely zilch.