President Obama's Nuclear Security Summit — the largest U.S.-hosted meeting of world leaders since 1945 — is aimed at keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists by securing sketchy stockpiles of fissile materials. Americans are skeptical though: In a Washington Post poll, 56 percent of respondents doubt the summit will make the world safer from rogue nukes. Is it just a matter of time until terrorists get the bomb? (Watch Obama warn that the nuclear threat is on the rise)
The summit is already making us safer: Before the meeting even started in earnest, Ukraine "ponied up" with a "significant" contribution, says Spencer Ackerman in The Washington Independent. It will eliminate its sizable stockpile of highly enriched uranium in the next two years. Ukraine, home of Chernobyl, is the poster child for "nuclear insecurity," so this is a big deal. "Take that, Washington Post poll!"
"One deliverable nuke-summit achievement: Ukraine will get rid of its uranium"
Obama is over-promising: The summit's goal is certainly "laudable," says Michael Levi in The Washington Post. But unfortunately, it's simply "impossible" to lock down all weapons-grade nuclear material. The steps Obama is proposing are good ones, but offering them as a "silver bullet" to stop nuclear terrorism could "sap enthusiasm" for other necessary safeguards, including better port security and intelligence gathering.
"Impossibility of nuclear security"
These are just the first steps: People need to have "realistic expectations" for the summit, says William Hartung in Talking Points Memo. It won't make us safe from terrorists immediately. But given its very narrow goals, it has a "real chance at success." And if the summit produces more pledges like those from Ukraine, Canada, and Chile, "it will have been a rousing success."
"Nuclear Security Summit: Realistic expectations"