United States and Russia Lead the World with Most Nuclear Weapons

SOURCE: Federation of American Scientists
SOURCE: Federation of American Scientists

By BILL MARSH

In April 2010, President Obama met in Washington, D.C., with leaders from 46 other countries to discuss the danger of nuclear weapons. Russia, China, Israel, Pakistan and India were among the countries involved. Obama encouraged world leaders to reduce their supplies of nuclear materials. He claimed that nuclear weapons could be used by terrorists.

However, some people question whether terrorist groups present a real danger. John Mueller, a professor at Ohio State University, said in an interview on the Democracy Now! news program that terrorists are “unlikely to be able to get a nuclear weapon, and certainly not in any time soon.”

Israel, Pakistan and India, which are U.S. allies, made no promises to reduce their nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia agreed to reduce their supply by one-third. However, the two countries have enough weapons to destroy the world in a nuclear attack. The United States is still the only country that has used nuclear weapons in war, in the bombing of Japan in 1945.

Obama did not invite Iran to the meeting because the U.S. government claims that Iran will not honor the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Political leaders in Iran say that the United States is using nuclear weapons to terrorize other countries, including Iran, with a threat of attack.

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TERRORISM: the use or threat of violence by groups, including governments, for political reasons.

NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY: an agreement started in 1970 to limit the spread of nuclear weapons.