Has the world reached a stage where nuclear weapons may be used as bargaining chips in international politics?
December 1938 was a decisive month in human history: In Germany, the scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann discovered that when bombarded with neutrons, the atomic nucleus of uranium would split.
As the United Nations commemorated the International Day Against Nuclear Tests this week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lamented the fact that in a world threatened by some 17,000 nuclear weapons, not a single one has been destroyed so far.
Today is the fifth observance of the International Day against Nuclear Tests.
The tiny Pacific nation state of Marshall Islands - which depends heavily on the United States for its economic survival, uses the U.S. dollar as its currency and predictably votes with Washington on all controversial political issues at the United Nations - is challenging the world's nuclear powers before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
A group of about 20 "eminent persons" is to be tasked with an unenviable job: convince eight recalcitrant countries to join the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
North Korea, which has survived three rounds of diplomatic and economic sanctions since its first nuclear test in 2006, reacted with predictable fury, threatening to nuke the United States, in retaliation for a Security Council resolution imposing new sanctions against Pyongyang.
North Korea, which conducted its third nuclear test Monday, is following closely in the heavy footsteps of Israel as one of the world's most intransigent nations, ignoring Security Council resolutions and defying the international community.