On Sunday, December 10, the Nobel Committee will award the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
President Obama has won the Nobel Prize for his Prague vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. As the opposition complains, “He hasn’t done anything yet,” I dare you to ask why. Yes, healthcare reform, the economy and even climate change have dominated the airwaves for the majority of the new President’s first term, but behind the scenes the Obama administration has been hard at work crafting what the Nobel Committee called, “a new climate in international politics.”
The President set the stage for a world free of nuclear weapons in his Prague agenda. Since that time, he has commenced negotiation of a new arms control treaty with Russia; committed to seek ratification and entry into force of a global nuclear test ban treaty; served as the first U.S. president to chair a United Nations Security Council meeting on nuclear disarmament; pledged to secure all “loose nukes” within four years and far more. The President has not only stated his intention to pursue disarmament, he and his administration have pursued that intention with a fervor we have not seen from a U.S. President in years, maybe ever.
The Nobel Committee’s award demonstrates once again the popularity that President Obama has garnered overseas. It is here at home, though, where the President needs true support. In recent days, the “sounds of silence” have reached deafening heights; not only from Congress, but from the American public. Passivity seems to have set in at a time when it is most important to seize the moment. Youth, in particular, too far removed from the Cold War to sense a real danger, have stepped back from the issue of arms control to tackle nearly every other issue on the books. Why not disarmament?
In a time when nuclear terrorism, nuclear proliferation and thousands of weapons on hair-trigger alert in the United States and Russia still constitute a real and growing danger, the youth of America have chosen to turn away. It is these youth that have powered the most important movements throughout history and must continue to do so.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) needs Senate support for ratification. Right now, voices such as Jon Kyl (R-AZ) are dominating the debate and beating nuclear weapons issues to the backburner.
If your biggest complaint is that the President hasn't done anything yet, stand up and lend a hand.