Getting to Zero

Spencer Ackerman liveblogs from a conference on nuclear proliferation.

Proliferation — from Russia, North Korea, Iran and the freelance efforts of Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan — is at “a tipping point” that will be “irreversible, and dangerous beyond the imagination of most people,” [Former Defense Secretary William] Perry says. The world has been “moving backwards” on nuclear proliferation, “and each year we have moved ever closer to a nuclear catastrophe.” That’s why it’s time to take what used to be considered drastic action to “move toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.” Not reduce, eliminate. “That will not happen until the American government takes a strong leadership position,” Perry says, and claims that Obama sees it that way based on campaign statement. Wants Obama to hector the world on nuclear abolition, and “deep cooperation” with Russia on “mitigating the danger of nuclear terrorism.” Says it’s time to work with the Senate on ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty “12 years after we signed it.” Bob Joseph and Eric Edelman, Bush administration officials on the panel, look uncomfortable and whisper something to each other.