The United Nations Security Council at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, February 28, 2020. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

A statement on nuclear-weapon restraint isn’t historic if those who agree to it don’t intend to honor it.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE E arlier this month, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — the United States, the U.K., France, China, and Russia — issued a joint statement entitled “Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races.” The countries begin by writing, “[We] consider the avoidance of war between Nuclear-Weapon States and the reduction of strategic risks as our foremost responsibilities,” and they go on to affirm that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” The optimistic tone continues, and by the end the signatories have committed to “continue seeking bilateral and multilateral diplomatic approaches to avoid military

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