In the Trump era, the threat of nuclear war is the highest it’s been in decades. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has moved its famed doomsday clock from three minutes to two and a half minutes to midnight, midnight representing nuclear catastrophe. They cited President Trump’s reckless and ignorant comments on nuclear weapons as one of the main reasons for the change, and rightly so. Trump has asked “if we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them?” He’s called for greatly expanding our nuclear arsenal, and when questioned on the dangers of that proposal, he said “let it be an arms race.”
No one should have the power to unilaterally start a nuclear war, but Trump’s finger on the proverbial red button makes the need to change our nuclear command and control structure all the more urgent. As it stands, president Trump could launch a nuclear first strike unilaterally, with zero input from Congress. That’s why we’re working to build support for legislation from Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) that would require a declaration of war from Congress in order for the president to launch a nuclear first strike. You can click here to take action now by urging your members of Congress to support this important legislation.
We’re also advocating for the U.S. to take our nuclear weapons off of hair-trigger alert, a status that allows for their launch within a matter of minutes. Keeping our nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert increases the risk of accidental nuclear war. Since nuclear weapons were created, multiple close calls have occurred, for example when a flock of Canadian geese was once misinterpreted as an incoming Soviet nuclear bomber attack.
We’re working to stem the expansion of our nuclear arsenal that began under President Obama, but is escalating under Trump. This so-called “modernization” program is really a euphemism for rebuilding our nuclear arsenal from head to toe, at an estimated cost of $1.2 trillion (that’s $1,200,000,000,000) over the next three decades. Not only can our nation not afford this absurd price tag, this escalation is also contributing to a new nuclear arms race between virtually all the nuclear weapons states, but particularly the U.S. and Russia, making the whole world less safe.
To address this threat, we’re working to raise public and congressional opposition to this ill-advised escalation, and working to cut funding for the most destabilizing aspects of the expansion. In that vein, we’re supporting legislation known as the SANE Act, introduced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and named after Peace Action’s earlier name, the Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy, which would cut a modest but critical $100 billion from this nuclear weapons spending spree over the next ten years.
From the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to the New Start Treaty to the Iran nuclear agreement and others, we’re working to ensure that the U.S. lives up to its commitments under treaties and agreements we’ve already signed onto.
We’re also encouraging the U.S. to participate in further nuclear diplomacy with Russia and other nuclear-armed nations to accelerate the reduction of the world’s nuclear arsenals, and take steps to decrease the threat of nuclear war. Unfortunately, the U.S. and other nuclear-armed states boycotted the successful United Nations effort to negotiate a treaty banning nuclear weapons, but that didn’t stop Peace Action, and 122 of the world’s nations, from supporting and passing it through the U.N. General Assembly.
In the current geopolitical climate, one of the most pressing issues in need of nuclear diplomacy is the growing threat of war with North Korea. The U.S. must drop its preconditions and come to the table to see if we can first negotiate a freeze on North Korea’s nuclear weapons development.
This week, the United Nations will be undertaking the next step in a historic process toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. On July 7, 2017, after a series of negotiations, the passage of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons signified a fundamental shift in the global push for nuclear disarmament. September 20th marks […]
Washington, D.C. — September 19, 2017 — Addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President Donald Trump threatened to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea and possibly abrogate the Iran nuclear agreement. Kevin Martin, President of Peace Action and the Peace Action Education Fund, responded to the president’s speech, noting that “North Korea is a country […]
This article was originally published by Peace Voice. With North Korea’s alarming escalation of its nuclear weapons and missile programs, humanity faces our most dire nuclear situation since the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. We narrowly, and most historians agree it was mostly matter of luck, averted catastrophe then, and there have been many […]
This article was originally published on Huffington Post. The Trump administration’s recent mixed messages could well be causing a global outbreak of whiplash. On one day the Secretary of State takes to the airwaves and calls for bringing “Pyongyang to the negotiating table to begin a dialogue,” on another day the Secretary of Defense threatens a “massive […]
This article was originally published on Huffington Post. The roller coaster of U.S.-North Korea tensions is at a relative low ebb after weeks of rhetorical nuclear brinksmanship between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. That this dip in tension comes during the long-planned Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises shows just how tense things had become. Starting Monday the U.S. […]
Today, 62 House representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to do what he can to rein in President Trump’s recklessness on North Korea. The effort was spearheaded by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). In the letter, the signers offer their support for Tillerson’s recent statements calling for talks: “We strongly […]
Washington, D.C. — August 8, 2017 — In response to reports that North Korea may have achieved the capability to miniaturize nuclear weapons and mount them on its missiles, and in response to President Trump’s belligerent threat that more aggression from North Korea will be met with “fire and fury,” Jon Rainwater, Executive Director of […]
Washington, D.C. — August 4, 2017 — On August 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped the first nuclear bomb ever used in war on the city of Hiroshima, killing an estimated 80,000 people instantly. On August 9, the U.S. dropped a second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, killing another 70,000 mostly civilians. By December of 1945, most […]
Washington, D.C. — July 13, 2017 — On the eve of the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commonly known as the Iran nuclear agreement, and in response to reports that the administration plans to recertify Iran’s full compliance with the JCPOA, Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs […]
For Immediate Release: July 7, 2017 PEACE ACTION: U.N. Action on Nuclear Weapons Fundamentally Reframes Global Nuclear Weapons Debate Washington, D.C. — July 7, 2017 — In response to the announcement that the U.N. voted to adopt a treaty that calls for the total elimination nuclear weapons, Jon Rainwater, Executive Director of Peace Action, released […]