A World Free From Nuclear Weapons
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 Red Button
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.
Stop a New Nuclear Arms Race
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.
Protect and Promote Nuclear Diplomacy
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.
Related Blog Posts
Donald Trump wants more nukes. How is that going to help defuse the crisis in Korea? This article was originally published on Foreign Policy in Focus. The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) released by the Trump Administration last week is self-perpetuation by the nuclear weapons establishment at its worst. It advocates astonishing increases in nuclear weapons, […]
Washington, D.C. — February 2, 2018 — In response to the release of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review scheduled for today, Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs at Peace Action, released the following statement: “Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review runs diametrically counter to the longstanding international and bipartisan consensus that nuclear-armed […]
Washington, D.C. — January 25, 2018 — In response to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announcing its decision to move the Doomsday Clock—a metaphor for how close humanity is to nuclear catastrophe—from two and a half minutes to midnight to two minutes to midnight, Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs at Peace Action, released the […]
A version of this article was originally published on CommonDreams.org. Another war with North Korea would be disastrous. It could easily go nuclear. It should be unthinkable, and there are peaceful diplomatic alternatives. For South Korea, which would bear the brunt of any conflict with North Korea, there is no military option. As a group […]
Washington, D.C. — December 12, 2017 — In response to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson proposing direct talks with North Korea without preconditions, Jon Rainwater, Executive Director of Peace Action, released the following statement: “At long last, the administration has dropped the unattainable precondition that North Korea agree to denuclearize prior to negotiations. This more […]
This article was originally published on U.S. News and World Report. North Korea’s latest apparent intercontinental ballistic missile test after a two-month lull raises a troubling question: Is this the end of “the calm before the storm” the president referred to in October after a meeting with top military brass? One way or another, a storm is coming. Only time […]
Washington, D.C. — November 20, 2017 — In response to President Trump’s designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, Jon Rainwater, Executive Director of Peace Action, released the following statement: “North Korea has sponsored and committed terrible acts, but the critical question right now is how do we resolve this nuclear crisis […]
As Trump Visits Asia, Civil Society in the U.S., South Korea, and Japan Call for Bold Shift in Policy to Avert War in Korea
WASHINGTON — November 6, 2017 — Today, hundreds of national civil society organizations from Japan, South Korea and the United States issued a joint statement calling for a diplomatic resolution of the crisis of belligerent rhetoric between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Based in countries whose populations could […]
This article was originally published in The Hill. Days before President Trump’s first presidential trip to Asia, where the crisis with North Korea will be high on the agenda in meetings with leaders in Japan, South Korea, and China, members of Congress are reasserting their constitutional role as gatekeepers of American military action, a critical […]
Washington, D.C. — October 31, 2017 — In response to the new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the projected costs ($1.2 trillion) of U.S. nuclear forces from 2017-2046, Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs at Peace Action, released the following statement: “It’s truly fitting that the CBO’s new projections are […]