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The news that North Korea just tested another nuclear weapon is a bracing reminder that the sword of nuclear holocaust still hangs over our heads.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was easy to comfort ourselves with the thought that this threat was no longer looming.
The idea that the superpowers would destroy the Earth seemed so 1962.
But the United States and Russia still have thousands of nuclear weapons aimed at each other and on hair-trigger alert.
North Korea has the bomb, and Kim Jong-un, as we've just seen, is recklessly flexing those warheads.
Meanwhile, tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan are also on the rise.
That's why it's so important tonight that President Obama, in his State of the Union address, outline a path toward nuclear disarmament.
The United States and Russia, who hold 95 percent of the world's nukes, ought bring their warheads way down, and I'm glad Obama seems to be moving in that direction.
And then they should call a conference of all nuclear powers and start hammering out an agreement for the abolition of every single nuclear weapon.
To get there, smaller nuclear powers like North Korea need to be assured that the larger powers, like the United States, won't destroy them once they relinquish their warheads.
And China needs to be reassured that the United States is not trying to dominate it with Washington's "tilt to the East."
We've been lucky for the past 68 years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
At some point, our luck -- and the world's luck -- is going to run out if we don't get rid of these omnicidal weapons.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Republicans Take Abusers' Side on VAWA."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.