We go to press in a state of high suspense. What will happen next week? There have been hopeful turns in the plot recently. Obama has decided not to install missile defences in Poland and Czechia, but to use existing missiles that can be launched from ships in the Mediterranean and soon from mobile land-based launchers. They are meant to thwart Iran's presumed intention of being able to use nuclear bombs against NATO. Naturally, Russia is pleased, having believed themselves to be America's true intended target.
But is Russia pleased enough to impose stronger sanctions against Iran for its failure to stop its enrichment program? Germany is expected to toughen its position on Iran, but Russia has argued against imposing further sanctions. Will it now go along, responding to Obama's new missile defence plan? The outcome is still unpredictable.
In late September, before you receive this magazine, Obama will chair a session of the UN Security Council and will announce even bolder plans regarding nuclear disarmament. He will ask for a stronger version of the deal underlying the Non-Proliferation Treaty, proposing that nuclear powers adopt more radical disarmament measures in return for stronger global efforts to stop further proliferation. While the US, Britain, and probably Russia will pave the way for a world without nuclear weapons, the Security Council resolution may be weaker than Obama would like -- mainly because France wants a vaguer promise: "to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons."
This time we have two articles about Iran, for it poses one of the most serious issues of the day, especially because of its presumed aspirations for nuclear weapons. We have one solution to propose here. Iran wants a bomb to show its hostility to Israel, which has had nuclear weapons for decades. Let's demand a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East, which would require Israel to disarm its own nuclear weapons. This will be hard. So far, Obama has been unable to persuade Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank. But we can push for it!