It didn’t get much coverage this weekend, but President Obama is in Seoul, South Korea for the second of his Nuclear Security Summits. While there, he talked to some of the troops at Camp Bonifas.
These nuclear summits are part of the Obama administration strategy to secure all loose nuclear material that could be used to make a bomb. He announced the first summit in his speech in Prague, in 2009. That first summit was held in 2010 in Washington DC, and was the largest gathering of heads of state called by a US president since 1945.
That first summit yielded impressive results. Ukraine agreed to give up all highly enriched uranium and to convert its nuclear power facilities to use low-enriched uranium instead. Mexico also agreed to give up all its highly enriched uranium as well, and in fact, all of that uranium is now safely within the United States.
The second summit has the following agenda items:
- To deepen our cooperation and to strengthen the institutions and partnerships which help prevent nuclear materials from ever falling into the hands of terrorists.
- To strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with the resources and authorities it needs to meet its responsibilities.
- To take specific and concrete actions to secure the nuclear materials and to prevent illicit trafficking and smuggling.
This is important stuff, and it is important to note that this is a very real accomplishment of the Obama administration that doesn’t seem to get any attention whatsoever from the political pundits. It might be because this is all pretty non-partisan stuff; everybody thinks securing nuclear material to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons is a good idea. There’s not much to argue about. Any president would probably want to accomplish what the president is actually accomplishing, and it is not controversial, so the horse race-obsessed talking heads on the teevee ignore it.
But whether or not President Obama is taking action that any president would want to do, the fact is that he is doing it effectively and rapidly. It might not be something to argue about, but it is definitely something that supporters of the president can point to as a measure of the seriousness and the competence of the president as the head of the executive branch of our government.
This stuff matters, a lot, and I am glad we have an adult in charge. I’d really rather not see Etch a Sketch in charge of this kind of stuff. It’s not that I think he would want a different result; I just haven’t seen anything from Etch a Sketch’s campaign that leads me to believe he would be as competent as the guy we currently have doing the job.