Generation Prague 2012 Interviews
The State Department is focused toward engaging youth (under 30 years of age) on nonproliferation issues as the youth of today will become tomorrow’s leaders. Given that the “Generation Prague” youth are far removed from the issues of the Cold War days and yet the threat of nuclear proliferation remains to be one of our biggest concerns, the Generation Prague conference offered an opportunity to bring together the younger generation and engage in a conversation about nonproliferation challenges and together think of practical solutions.
On the margins of the Generation Prague conference, June 4, 2012, Washington Post Columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Dead Hand, David E. Hoffman, and students from U.S. universities discuss their views on President Obama’s Prague agenda, what nuclear nonproliferation means to them and offer contemporary solutions to the proliferation-related challenges that Governments are grappling with on a daily basis.
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Mahvash Siddiqui [State Department]: ...worked with me on the margins of the and he's flown in all the way from USC, University of Southern California. So Mike, tell us what do you think is the most important lesson of the past?
A: I’m majoring in history and economics so I’ll definitely take a historical view on this. The issue with proliferation issues, especially if you look at the past, is the nuclear arms race developed from a crisis, of course World War II, and mutual suspicion that followed. As we look to the future I’d say that, especially in post-Cold War terms, in the disarmament process we need to basically reassure all parties, not just the U.S. and Russia, which is traditionally the Cold War perspective, but we need to embark on multilateral talks between all nuclear powers. I feel that that is the new direction in the post-Cold War era, where bilateral becomes multilateral. That would probably be my biggest reflection from the past.
Mahvash Siddiqui [State Department]: Is that something that could apply to your generation well?
A: With regard to our generation, we’re very fortunate to have access and to live in this proliferation, per se, of social media and the internet. That’s very unique because anybody throughout the world who has access to the internet can basically be educated or can learn about these issues.