The two day summit in Washington (just ended yesterday) focused on combating nuclear terrorism. Yet it saw only 47 heads of state invited and in attendance. Why weren't all the rest invited? Conspicuously absent were Iran, North Korea and Israel.
Iran and North Korea, one supposes, because they are labeled pariah states and Israel (invited, but declined!?) because of its clandestine nuclear arsenal (that everyone knows exists).
The reason given for the conference was preventing terrorists from acquiring a nuclear weapon (or a dirty bomb of spent nuclear waste materials) and the security measures needed in place by each state to prevent such an occurrence.
But logic says every state with a nuclear program would have a concern of nuclear materials falling into terrorists hands including those who are most despised. And to take that logic further, any state that could be found directly associated with terrorists acquiring and then detonating such a device would surely be retaliated against (most probably by the U.S.) assuring it's own annihilation.
It made no sense to exclude the above named states.
There is only one world and like it or not, one world community of nations (including the most despised).
To intentionally exclude nations from such a conference is a direct snub and enhances their paranoia and suspicion, particularly of the U.S. and its intentions.
Sanctions don't work, regardless of their severity. North Korea suffered some of the harshest sanctions and still developed a small nuclear arsenal. Sure it is known to have sold nuclear technology and missile parts on the black market to a variety of states. But exclusion and isolation of them has not lessened their paranoia and fear of being attacked. It has only been heightened.
Iran and the mullahs in charge may be anti democratic and oppress its people. That's what dictatorships of any stripe are and do to its people. Yet even the mullahs are not suicidal, exposing the Iranian nation to certain annihilation if they were seen connected to letting their nuclear materials to fall in the hands of terrorists and those materials detonated and traced to Iran. In this case it would be absurd for Shiite Muslim majority Iran supplying terrorist al Qaeda Sunni jihad Muslims with any weaponry, no less nuclear.
And what of Israel not attending this conference? What excuse did they offer to not attend? With a not so secret arsenal of some 200 nuclear weapons and the means to deliver and they are nowhere to be found. Their absence is laughable as well as hypocritical.
And what about some of the nuclear wannabe countries or even the failed states of Somalia and Sudan; what about Yemen?
For was this conference not just some grand stand play initiated by the U.S., held in the U.S. with President Obama holding court as the Keynote speaker.
The idea of a conference of national heads of states brought together for the purpose of security against terrorists acquiring a nuclear device was a good one.
But when you exclude certain "players" (countries and leaders) because they don't fit your idea of legitimacy or their behavior doesn't knuckle under to U.S. pressure tactics, you then miss the chance of getting an umbrella agreement with all countries and their heads of state.
This was a missed opportunity to do just that. A world conference was what it should have been; not just the preselected and favored nations.
The world has changed. There are no credible, imminent threats from any country in the world. Only non state actors pose a threat and even that threat is containable through cooperation, intelligence and information sharing.
For the world to be safe from nuclear annihilation all nuclear arsenals would have to be banned and destroyed. Regrettably, we are nowhere near that goal.