06/19/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Obama's 'Nuclear Spring'

Last week, President Obama hosted leaders from 46 other countries at a summit on nuclear weapons, focused on the threat of terrorists getting nuclear material. It ended with an agreement that each country would take measures to protect nuclear material used in bombs, civilian reactors, and power plants, and work together to reinforce international efforts.

The summit was the latest effort in what news reports are calling Obama's "nuclear spring," a broad initiative to revive U.S. arms-control efforts and elevate the role of international treaties in U.S. nuclear weapons policy. John Isaacs of the Council for a Livable World summed up the spring so far:

Stepping back from the past few frantic days on nuclear weapons issues, it is useful to realize how much has been accomplished. The last two weeks have arguably been the two most eventful weeks on reducing the dangers posed by nuclear weapons since the advent of the nuclear age.

• On March 29, President Obama, together with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen, announced that the U.S. and Russia had reached agreement on the 'New START' nuclear reductions treaty.
• On April 6, the United States released the results of a year-long review of nuclear weapons, called the Nuclear Posture Review.
• On April 8, Presidents Barack Obama and Dimitry Medvedev signed New START in Prague, Czech Republic.
• On April 12-13, the President convened leaders of 47 countries to agree on steps needed to secure and safeguard vulnerable nuclear materials and to cope with the worldwide terrorist threat.

Next up is the U.N. review conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty being held during May in New York City. Efforts will be made there to strengthen the treaty in order continue holding the spread of nuclear weapons in check, with a focus on countries such as North Korea and Iran who are challenging the treaty.

Let us hope and pray that these accomplishments are steps on the path to the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons.

Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street -- A Moral Compass for the New Economy, CEO of Sojourners and blogs at

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