I can't describe how relieved I am to hear the current President speak with this kind of vision. Simultaneously I'm rather distressed by the hypocritical position the United States takes on nuclear weapons. It's a position that will never work - and the inherent cynicism that is the guaranteed result was already at work in me when Obama talked of continuing the missile program in Europe. Concerns about Iran are obviously a good reason, but there are other ways, and demanding that other people disarm, or not arm at all, is just silly when (according to Jeffrey Sachs) the United States spends more it's military than the rest of the world combined.
Despite that I applaud Obama for his vision - it's a critical vision, and I don't really see why we should discuss it not happening in our lifetime. Surely that's a good 40-50 years. Seems like a reasonable deadline to me, and posting it past that was a deflating moment in Obama's potentially historic speech.
Complete Nuclear Disarmament Now!!
From the text of the speech (released by Whitehouse as it was to be read):
"The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War. No nuclear war was fought between the United States and the Soviet Union, but generations lived with the knowledge that their world could be erased in a single flash of light. Cities like Prague that had existed for centuries would have ceased to exist.
Today, the Cold War has disappeared but thousands of those weapons have not. In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up. More nations have acquired these weapons. Testing has continued. Black markets trade in nuclear secrets and materials. The technology to build a bomb has spread. Terrorists are determined to buy, build or steal one. Our efforts to contain these dangers are centered in a global nonproliferation regime, but as more people and nations break the rules, we could reach the point when the center cannot hold.