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Is Pope Francis really an ‘influencer’ on nuclear matters?
Pope Francis, Vatican, nuclear diplomacy
Nuclear diplomacy as well as anti-establishment movements across the world beg the same question: which elites’ judgement is still trusted? The likely disappointment following the upcoming Trump-Kim summit will be blamed on insufficient trust or untrustworthiness of one or both of the participants. Similarly, the demise of the 1987 Treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces is the outcome of the United States and Russia accusing each other either of breaching the terms of the Treaty or of scapegoating the other side. In this context of increasing distrust of elites and institutions as well as renuclearization of international politics, Pope Francis is a most interesting case to study: while facing a crisis regarding sexual abuse within the catholic church, he has remained a relatively popular figure even beyond believers; he also radicalised the Vatican’s stance against nuclear weapons policy. He unconditionally condemned use as well as threats of use of nuclear weapons on political and theological grounds. Is his judgement trusted? Is his leadership influential?