from Kal Raustiala, Director, The Burkle Center for International Relations
Published: Tuesday, August 07, 2007
"The most spectacular event of the past half century is one that did not occur"
The 21st century has ushered in new security challenges to the international order, while older challenges persist. Among the most pressing is the threat of nuclear weapons. In accepting the Nobel prize for economics in 2005, Tom Schelling wrote the words above, remarking on the astonishing sixty years the world has enjoyed - astonishing because, despite possessing many thousands of nuclear warheads, the world has managed to refrain from using any of them in conflict.
We hope the same will be said after sixty more years. We have convened this conference at UCLA to examine the urgent nuclear challenges the world faces in the 21st century, and to explore solutions, or at least approaches, to these challenges. The situations in North Korea and Iran dominate the news today, but other problems exist as well. Tensions in South Asia, the accelerating demand for peaceful nuclear technology, the prospect of nuclear terrorism - these and many other threats are serious and difficult.
Are our existing multilateral regimes up to the task? Or will nations increasingly choose to take unilateral steps to prevent proliferation? While not all of the issues at stake in the field of nuclear proliferation can be addressed in a day-and-a-half, the conference format allows us to discuss many of the most significant. We have invited an outstanding set of speakers to UCLA, and I encourage each of you to attend as many of the panels as possible.
On behalf of UCLA, the Burkle Center for International Relations, the UCLA International Institute, and the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, I am very pleased to welcome you to this exciting and timely event.
Director, The Burkle Center for International Relations