Saturday is the official International Day of Peace. Thursday is the opening of high-level nuclear disarmament talks at the United Nations in New York.
Those two dates set a particularly embarrassing bookend for the US, which is planning a pair of test launches for nuclear-capable Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) during the same period.
Once the day of peace is over, the first of the ICBMs will launch promptly on Sunday, according to officials familiar with the schedule, and will be sent from Vandenberg AFB to the Marshall Islands. A second test is set to coincide with the opening of the disarmament conference.
Nuclear disarmament groups are sharply critical of the tests, and even moreso of the timing, saying that the tests are a “slap in the face” to the conference goers that are supposed to be discussing a universal ban on the arms.
While President Obama has made much of supporting disarmament in theory, in practice the US, and all the other permanent members of the UN Security Council, have opposed a universal ban on them, and the US and others continue to pour money into “modernization” efforts of the hugely expensive weapons.