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Nuclear Disarmament – Countdown to Zero

BERLIN – In his first speech in Berlin since taking presidency,  Barack Obama announced a spectacular commitment to nuclear disarmament. Continuing on the vision he put forth in a speech in Prague four years ago, Obama said the US could reduce the number of its own nuclear weapons arsenal to one third of the already agreed arms reductions, to around 1,000 strategic warheads from the previous goal of 1,550. Obama also suggested  two high-level summits on the topic of nuclear arms, one in the Hague next year and one hosted by the US in 2016 focused  on securing nuclear materials and preventing nuclear terrorism.

The earlier "New START" agreement negotiated between the US and Russia has committed both countries to reduce their number of nuclear weapons to no more than 1,550 strategic warheads in total by the year 2018; Obama's speech in Berlin promised even more cuts than required by this treaty, with the ultimate goal of a world rid of nuclear arms. Moreover, he called for a global pact for nuclear disarmament, saying, "These are steps we can take to create a world of peace and justice".

The actual implementation of the disarmament plans would still require approval of the Senate and negotiations with Russia, which has already replied in a frosty manner to the reduction plans. For instance, Russian President Putin pointed out that the development of conventional weapons was about to yield non-nuclear arms with the same strike capability as strategic nuclear arms.

Nevertheless, Obama's speech sets an important tone of nuclear non-proliferation for the remainder of his presidency, while he also mentioned the need for a global nuclear test ban treaty and a ban on the production of materials needed for nuclear bombs. The latter remain practically difficult to implement but still set an important vision for a world void of the nuclear threat.

We invite you to watch the following trailers on the topic of nuclear disarmament and nuclear energy:
  • COUNTDOWN TO ZERO by Lucy Walker is a documentary film released in 2010 which argues that the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons has increased since the end of the Cold War due to terrorism, nuclear proliferation, theft of nuclear materials and weapons, and other factors.
  • THE ATOMIC CAFE by Jayne Loader and Kevin Rafferty is a disturbing collection of 1940s and 1950s United States government issued propaganda films designed to reassure Americans that the atomic bomb was not a threat to their safety.
  • INTO ETERNITY by Michael Madsen is a documentary on the safety of nuclear storage.
  • ATOMIC ALERT by Thomas Johnson gives a thorough understanding of the strategic issues linked to nuclear energy and its risks on an international level, including public health, waste management, environmental and political issues.