This letter to the editor was printed in the November 15, 2012, edition of The New York Times.
To the Editor:
We share with your editorial (“The Foreign Policy Agenda,” Nov. 12) the view that one of President Obama’s “singular contributions has been his vision of a world without nuclear weapons.” We would go further and suggest that realizing this vision would ensure Mr. Obama a legacy of honor, not only for America, but also for the world.
Your editorial adds a caveat that nuclear disarmament “is a lofty goal that won’t be achieved in his second term, or maybe for years after that.” We dissent from this bit of conventional wisdom that almost always accompanies the affirmation of the goal, nearly taking back what was so grandly proposed.
In our view, there has rarely been a better time to initiate a negotiated process of phased nuclear disarmament, and there is no reason that such a process should be stretched out over a long period. We are at one of those few times in international history with no acute conflict between major states.
In our view, the United States should prepare proposals for nuclear disarmament and convene an international conference of the nine nuclear-weapon states. Nothing could do more to restore America’s claim to world leadership. At the very least, President Obama would belatedly show that his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was not wrongly awarded.
Santa Barbara, Calif.
The writers are senior vice president and president, respectively, of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.