Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

What is the Top Takeaway from the Nuclear Security Summit?

Apr. 07, 2014

By Graham Allison

What is the single most significant takeaway from last month’s Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague?

It is that, contrary to business as usual in government, President Obama and his colleagues were able to distinguish between the urgent

President Barack Obama and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte hold a press conference at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

and the important. In the midst of so many urgent challenges, including Russia’s seizure of Crimea, President Obama and others focused on a challenge even more important: ensuring that nuclear weapons-usable material never falls into the hands of terrorists.

When asked by reporters at The Hague how, with Russia’s actions in Crimea, he and the other heads of state gathered there could be talking about nuclear security, he said aptly, “Russia’s actions are a problem. They don’t pose the No. 1 national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.”

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For Academic Citation: What is the Top Takeaway from the Nuclear Security Summit?.” Nuclear Security Matters, April 7, 2014,