Here's how. As preparation for the summit, the US signed a new treaty with Russia last week to reduce the nuclear stockpiles of both nations, and the Obama administration issued a revised nuclear arms strategy intended to reinforce the nation's nuclear deterrent.
Until recently there were many who doubted that the US would follow-through President Obama’s pledge in Prague last year to reduce its stockpiles. Many of the sceptics were British officials.
As a result, when the US administration were quetly looking for allies to back President Obama's policy, perhaps even dip their toes in the water first, Britain stayed silent. Now, post-healthcare, the US has jumped right in, leaving Britain to attend the summit, declare its support for the US policies but be drowned out by much larger and important nuclear states.
A real opportunity to lead was missed. If Britain had declared a few months ago a willingness to reduce its nuclear arsenal before anyone else, Britain would have been hailed as a real leader and earned gratitude from the US administration. Labour could just have let it slip they were thinking about including such a commitment in their manifesto. But they did not, even though such plans were proposed to No 10.
In today's world, using Britain's inbuilt international advantages - the English language, a UN seat, a dynamic economy, a history of freedom-promotion, effective armed forces and a nuclear arsenal - are key to countering any pressure from rising powers like China. In this case, Britain and the Labour government missed out.