Sunflower Newsletter: May 2017

U.S. to Launch Another Provocative Minuteman III ICBM Test
May 2, 2017
North Korea Doesn’t Want War – Trump Needs to Negotiate
May 15, 2017
Show all

Sunflower Newsletter: May 2017


Issue #238 – May 2017

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  • Perspectives
    • What Is Wrong With Trump’s Attack on Syria? by David Krieger
    • Growing Nuclear Dangers: What Would Dr. King Say? by Jackie Cabasso
    • Why Is There So Little Public Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War? by Lawrence Wittner
  • U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
    • U.S. Tests Minuteman III ICBMs Amidst Extreme Tensions with North Korea
    • Pentagon Officially Begins Nuclear Posture Review Process
  • War and Peace
    • Women of 40 Nations Urge Trump to Seek Peace in Korea
    • North Korea Launches Missile Following UN Security Council Meeting
    • Statements Regarding Military Action in North Korea
  • Nuclear Modernization
    • U.S. Flight Tests New B61-12 Nuclear Bomb
    • B61-12 Nuclear Bomb Production Cost Now Estimated 35 Percent Higher
  • Resources
    • This Month in Nuclear Threat History
    • Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons: A Pacific Islands Priority
    • A New Map for Relationships: Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet
    • 2017 NPT Briefing Book
  • Foundation Activities
    • Video Contest Winners Announced
    • NAPF to Screen “The Coming War on China”
    • Peace Literacy in Winnipeg
    • Poetry Contest Accepting Submissions
  • Quotes

 

Perspectives

What Is Wrong With Trump’s Attack on Syria?

Despite the illegality and inherent dangers of his military response, Trump seems to be getting a favorable reaction from the U.S. media. Nearly all U.S. mainstream media seems to have accepted the assumption that Assad was foolish enough to have launched a chemical attack, and have not questioned Assad’s responsibility for the chemical attack. It appears that neither the U.S. government nor media have conducted a thorough investigation of responsibility for the chemical attack, which should have been done prior to a military response.

For his violations of U.S. and international law in attacking Syria with 59 cruise missiles, it is highly likely that Trump will also be rewarded by the American people with an upward bump in his current ground-level job-approval rating. Too many Americans tend to like their presidents to be fast on the draw and follow the pattern of Ready, Fire, Aim.

To read more, click here.

Growing Nuclear Dangers: What Would Dr. King Say?

April 4 was the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s remarkably prescient speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” in which he laid bare the relationship between US wars abroad and the racism and poverty being challenged by the civil rights movement at home. “I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.” Tragically, Dr. King was assassinated exactly one year later.

Progress towards a global society that is fairer, peaceful and ecologically sustainable is interdependent. We are unlikely to get far on any of these objectives without progress on all. They are not “preconditions” for disarmament, but, together with disarmament, are preconditions for human survival. In our relationships both with each other and the planet, we are now hard up against the choice Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. warned about 50 years ago: nonviolence or nonexistence.

To read more, click here.

Why Is There So Little Public Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?

What is the response of the public to these two erratic government leaders behaving in this reckless fashion and threatening war, including nuclear war? It is remarkably subdued. People read about the situation in newspapers or watch it on the television news, while comedians joke about the madness of it all.

So why is there so little public protest today?

One factor is certainly the public’s preoccupation with other important issues, among them climate change, immigration, terrorism, criminal justice, civil liberties, and economic inequality. Another appears to be a sense of fatalism. Many people believe that Kim and Trump are too irrational to respond to reason and too autocratic to give way to public pressure. Finally―and perhaps most significantly―people are reluctant to think about nuclear war. After all, it means death and destruction at an unbearable level of horror. Therefore, it’s much easier to simply forget about it.

To read more, click here.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

U.S. Tests Minuteman III ICBMs Amidst Extreme Tensions with North Korea

On April 26, the U.S. Air Force conducted a test of its Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The United States deploys approximately 400 Minuteman III ICBMs armed with nuclear warheads in silos across Montana, North Dakota, Colorado and Wyoming.

Col. Chris Moss, Vandenberg’s 30th Space Wing commander, said the test launch was “an important demonstration of our nation’s nuclear deterrent capability.”

David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, said, “When it comes to missile testing, the U.S. is operating with a clear double standard: It views its own tests as justified and useful, while it views the tests of North Korea as threatening and destabilizing. What is needed is diplomacy rather than military provocations. Threats, whether in the form of tweets, nuclear-capable aircraft carrier groups, or nuclear-capable missile launches, only increase the dangers to us all.”

The Air Force has scheduled an additional Minuteman III test for May 3.

Veronica Rocha, “Air Force Launches Test Missile Off Central California Coast to Show Nuclear Deterrent Capability,” Los Angeles Times, April 26, 2017.

Pentagon Officially Begins Nuclear Posture Review Process

On April 17, the Pentagon announced the official commencement of the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The last NPR was completed in 2010. Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said that a final report would be ready by the end of 2017.

Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said that the NPR would examine perceived threats from countries such as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. It will also look at the modernization plans for the U.S. nuclear triad, which consists of land-based missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and bomber aircraft.

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) said, “I hope that it includes a thorough assessment of policy options that would allow us to avoid a costly and dangerous nuclear arms race; and that it properly analyzes the enormous risks inherent in lowering the threshold for using nuclear weapons.”

Rebecca Kheel, “Pentagon Starts Review of Nuclear Posture Ordered by Trump,” The Hill, April 17, 2017.

War and Peace

Women of 40 Nations Urge Trump to Seek Peace in Korea

In a letter sent to President Trump on April 26, women from 40 countries – including North and South Korea – urged him to defuse military tensions and start negotiating for peace. The letter, organized by Women Cross DMZ, urges President Trump to “initiate a peace process with North Korea, South Korea and China to replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement with a binding peace treaty to end the Korean War.”

Choe Sang-Hun, “Fearing Korean Nuclear War, Women of 40 Nations Urge Trump to Seek Peace,” The New York Times, April 26, 2017.

North Korea Launches Missile Following UN Security Council Meeting

On April 29, North Korea launched a missile test. According to the South Korean military, the test ended in failure. However, other observers have claimed that North Korea purposely detonated the missile after it flew only 30 miles.

The April 29 test came just hours after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson led a meeting at the UN Security Council about North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs. Secretary Tillerson said, “Failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences.”

North Korea Test-Fires Another Ballistic Missile, Heightening Tensions With U.S.,” The New York Times, April 28, 2017.

Statements Regarding Military Action in North Korea

On April 27, President Trump said, “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely. We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult.”

On April 18, Kim In-ryong, North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador, said that “a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment” and that North Korea is “ready to react to any mode of war desired by the United States.”

Andrew Lichterman of Western States Legal Foundation wrote, “There is no military solution to the Korea crisis. …If the government of the United States wants peace and a viable path to a nuclear-weapons-free North Korea, it should be ready to talk to North Korea’s government – immediately, directly, and without conditions.”

Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, wrote, “Trump and his advisers need to curb the impulse to threaten military action, which may increase the risk of catastrophic miscalculation. A saner and more effective approach is to work with China to tighten the sanctions pressure and simultaneously open a new diplomatic channel designed to defuse tensions and to halt and eventually reverse North Korea’s increasingly dangerous nuclear and missile programs.”

Nuclear Modernization

U.S. Flight Tests New B61-12 Nuclear Bomb

On March 14, the U.S. conducted its first successful flight test of the new B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb on an F-16 aircraft. The test, conducted in Nevada, demonstrated the F-16’s capability to deliver the nuclear weapon and tested the functioning of the weapon’s non-nuclear components, including the arming and fire control system, radar altimeter, spin rocket motors and weapons control computer.

The B61-12 nuclear bomb, which was “modernized” during the Obama administration, is expected to be deployed on the soil of five other nations – Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey – under the auspices of NATO nuclear sharing.

Inert Nuclear Gravity Bomb Passes First F-16 Flight Test,” Kirtland Air Force Base, April 13, 2017.

New B61-12 Nuclear Bomb Production Cost Now Estimated 35 Percent Higher

The Energy Department’s Office of Cost Estimating and Program Evaluation has projected that the cost of developing and producing up to 500 B61-12 nuclear bombs will be $10 billion through fiscal year 2026. The Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) estimated the program cost at $7.4 billion in last year’s federal budget. When the program was originally introduced, the full cost was projected to be $4 billion.

The B61-12 is intended to replace four types of B61 nuclear bombs with one model containing satellite-guided kits. Production was originally scheduled to begin in 2017. NNSA now projects that production will begin in 2020, although the Office of Cost Estimating and Program Evaluation projects that it will not begin until 2022.

John M. Donnelly, “Nuclear Bomb Program’s Budget 35 Percent Short: Report,” CQ Roll Call (paywall), April 28, 2017.

 Resources

This Month in Nuclear Threat History

History chronicles many instances when humans have been threatened by nuclear weapons. In this article, Jeffrey Mason outlines some of the threats that have taken place in the month of May, including the Kargil Conflict between India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed, which began on May 8, 1999.

To read Mason’s full article, click here.

For more information on the history of the Nuclear Age, visit NAPF’s Nuclear Files website.

Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons: A Pacific Islands Priority

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has published a new report entitled “Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons: A Pacific Islands Priority.” The report details the efforts of many Pacific Island nations that are at the forefront of the movement to ban nuclear weapons. It also describes the history of resistance to nuclear weapons, the timeline of nuclear weapon testing in the Pacific, and the long-term health impacts that nuclear testing has had on the people of these island nations.

To download a copy of the report, click here.

A New Map for Relationships: Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet

A new book by NAPF Associate, Dr. Martin Hellman, and his wife, Dorothie Hellman, is now available to download for free at https://anewmap.com. Alternatively, you can purchase a hard copy online from the NAPF Peace Store. The book addresses how to compassionately resolve conflicts in marriage and how to participate in solving conflicts at the international level.

Recently, the Hellmans gave a “Google Talk,” which is now available on YouTube. We encourage you to view this important talk, which explains what the Hellmans are trying to achieve through their work.

2017 NPT Briefing Book

The first Preparatory Committee meeting of the 2020 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review cycle starts in Vienna on May 2. Reaching Critical Will, a project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, has published a briefing book in preparation for the conference.

The briefing book provides a guide to understanding the NPT, and examines issues related to the modernization of nuclear weapons, nuclear doctrines and transparency, risks and consequences of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, the Middle East weapon of mass destruction free zone, and nuclear disarmament in relation to the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

To download a copy of the briefing book, click here.

Foundation Activities

Video Contest Winners Announced

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest. Contestants made videos of 2 ½ minutes or less about why this is the most dangerous period in human history, and what can be done to take civilization back from the brink. The winning video was made by Jonathan Blanton of Fullerton, California.

To watch the winning videos, click here.

NAPF to Screen “The Coming War on China”

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation will host a free screening of “The Coming War on China” on May 10 in Santa Barbara. The latest film by John Pilger, the Emmy and BAFTA Award-winning director, has not yet been released in the United States.

Pilger reveals what the media doesn’t – that the world’s greatest military power, the U.S., and the world’s second economic power, China, both nuclear-armed, are on their way to war. Pilger’s film is a warning and an inspiring story of resistance.

For more information about the film, click here. If you are in the Santa Barbara area and would like to attend, click here for more information.

Peace Literacy in Winnipeg

The good news of Peace Literacy has spread through parts of the Canadian province of Manitoba during Paul K. Chappell’s week-long April tour. Chappell, the Peace Leadership Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, was sponsored by Rotary District 5550 World Partners and Peace Days 365, with events organized by Rotarian David G. Newman, a former president of the Winnipeg Rotary Club and a board member of the Rotarian Action Group for Peace.

Chappell discussed Peace Literacy at the Rotary clubs of Winnipeg and Winnipeg-Charleswood, lectured at the Arthur V. Maturo Centre for Peace and Justice at the University of Manitoba, and gave a workshop on “Key Communication Tools for Peace Literacy” at the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. He also keynoted at the Manitoba Annual UNESCO school conference, met with educators, and spoke with indigenous, immigrant, and refugee groups.

To read more about Paul’s trip to Winnipeg, click here.

Poetry Contest Accepting Submissions

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation invites people of all ages from around the world to submit poems to the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry contest. This annual series of awards encourages poets to explore and illuminate positive visions of peace and the human spirit. The Poetry Awards include three age categories: Adult, Youth 13-18, and Youth 12 & Under. The deadline for entries is July 1, 2017. The winner of the adult category will receive a $1,000 prize, while the winners in the two youth categories will receive $200 prizes.

For more information and to read previous years’ winning poems, click here.

Quotes

 

“Fear is not just unpleasant: It can be our greatest enemy; it is being deliberately used to keep us from our own common sense, our own deepest truths.”

Francis Moore Lappé. This quote appears in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, which is available for purchase in the NAPF Peace Store.

 

“Weapons that risk catastrophic humanitarian consequences cannot possibly be viewed as providing people’s security. Protecting humanity requires courage, commitment and concerted action; it is time to put humanity first by prohibiting and completely eliminating nuclear weapons.”

Appeal issued by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement on April 28, 2017, in Nagasaki, Japan.

 

“From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, ‘Disarm, Disarm!’.”

Julia Ward Howe in her Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870.

Editorial Team

 

David Krieger
Elena Nicklasson
Carol Warner
Rick Wayman

 


Rick Wayman
Rick Wayman
Rick Wayman is Director of Programs & Operations at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.