Don't Panic: Who should have nuclear weapons?

Every decade has its defining question.

In the '70s, it was, "Who wears short shorts?" In the '80s, the nation wondered, "Where's the beef?" In the '90s, we struggled to answer one simple question: "Can't we all just get along?" And during the '00s, with two disastrous wars and the looming threat of terrorism, Americans demanded to know, "Whatcha gonna do with all that ass/All that ass inside them jeans?"

Barely four and a half months into the '10s, it's perhaps too early to say for sure what this decade's defining question will be. If I had to guess, though, I think it'll end up being something like: "Who should have nuclear weapons?"

Throughout May, world leaders are meeting in New York to help answer that question. The meeting is a conference to discuss the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Active since 1970, the NPT allows five of its 189 signatory nations to have nukes. The U.S., Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom are allowed to have nukes. In exchange for the privilege, the five nations agree to refrain from using a nuke against a non-nuclear state and work toward the eventual elimination of their arsenals. Additionally, all signatories are recognized to have an inalienable right to peaceful nuclear energy production.

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(Photo illustration by Andisheh Nouraee)

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