The Delicate Dance Between Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Arms
Obama and Medvedev's entente at the G-20 produced the most fruitful conversation in years on how to reduce the 24,000 nuclear weapons siloed in the US and Russia. Nuclear energy, however, is still on the table.
The details are still being fleshed out, but the joint statement from London signals definitive steps to get beyond the fricative Bush-Putin years.
But since every nuclear reactor is potentially an arms factory, one of the thorniest parts of any binding agreement will be the specifics on how to manage nuclear facilities for safe purposes moving forward.
Both countries envision nuclear power as a large part of their energy profiles in the coming years, and, anticipating potential conflicts between nonproliferation promises and energy needs, the two countries also agreed to implement Global Energy Security Principles proposed at the 2006 G-8 meeting in St. Petersburg.
"I don't think we can uninvent nuclear weapons. I think we can get to a situation where...a number of powers had only a couple of hundred total each and that would be the limit. I think that that would be a very positive step. I don't think it's worth talking about grand proposals for abolition unless we can get to that point and have the political will internationally to get to that point."
A recent Carnegie Endowment forum on the future of nuclear power
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The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.
- Iron Age Scandinavians only had access to poor quality iron, which put them at a tactical disadvantage against their neighbors.
- To strengthen their swords, smiths used the bones of their dead ancestors and animals, hoping to transfer the spirit into their blades.
- They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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