The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 marked an end and a beginning. The close of the Second World War ushered in a Cold War, with a precarious peace based on the threat of mutually assured destruction.
Today the world is at another turning point. The assumption that nuclear weapons are indispensable to keeping the peace is crumbling. Disarmament is back on the global agenda - and not a moment too soon. A groundswell of new international initiatives will soon emerge to move this agenda forward.
The Cold War's end, twenty years ago this autumn, was supposed to provide a peace dividend. Instead, we find ourselves still facing serious nuclear threats. Some stem from the persistence of more than 20,000 nuclear weapons and the contagious doctrine of nuclear deterrence. Others relate to nuclear tests-more than a dozen in the post-Cold War era, aggravated by the constant testing of long-range missiles. Still others arise from concerns that more countries or even terrorists might be seeking the bomb.
Copyright Project Syndicate, Reprinted with permission.