Disarmament Movement Needs Youth Involvement to Counter Cynicism

Disarmament Movement Needs Youth Involvement to Counter Cynicism

President Barack Obama's lofty pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons is off to a peculiar start. But the main reasons are not Kim Jong-il's nuclear saber-rattling on the Korean peninsula, the centrifuges continuing to spin in Iran, or even the political and technical reasons that skeptics highlight to mock President Obama's decision to recommit the U.S. to eliminating nuclear arsenals around the world.

Instead, the twin Achilles' heels of the "no nukes" quest are that patience, rather than urgency, is the prevailing attitude, and that the disarmament community has failed to engage youth movements as an antidote to the cynicism that permeates the entire debate.

While stating "clearly and with conviction" America's commitment to ridding the world of nuclear weapons, President Obama has stressed "patience" as a key component moving forward. But patience is a weak guiding principle when trying to achieve great things, and emphasizing it vis-à-vis nuclear disarmament is in stark contrast to the president's rhetoric as a White House candidate. On the campaign trail, then-Sen. Obama spoke of "the fierce urgency of now" in addressing the most pressing national and international challenges.

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