Below is a letter that I sent to The New York Times about an editorial by their Editorial Board that appeared on April 6, 2015. Regretfully, they did not publish the letter because it makes a point that is too often overlooked in US nuclear policy: that the US cannot always be attempting to put out nuclear fires while, at the same time, helping to start and fan those fires by its own nuclear policies. Nuclear dangers need to be dealt with systemically through negotiations in good faith for an end to the nuclear arms race and for nuclear disarmament. That is what the Non-Proliferation Treaty requires and what the Marshall Islands is trying to achieve through its lawsuits against the nine nuclear-armed countries. Here is the letter:
Concerns expressed in your editorial, “Nuclear Fears in South Asia,” are well warranted. What seems obvious, but is unstated, is that India and Pakistan are modelling behavior long demonstrated by the US, Russia and other nuclear powers, all of which have policies of nuclear deterrence and are modernizing their nuclear arsenals.
We’ve already missed the non-proliferation train in South Asia. Now, the only sensible goal is nuclear disarmament, as required by Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and by customary international law for countries not parties to the NPT, such as India and Pakistan. This is the basis for the lawsuits brought by the Marshall Islands against all nine nuclear-armed countries at the International Court of Justice and separately against the US in US Federal Court. Rather than continuing to evade its obligations for nuclear disarmament, the US should take the lead in convening negotiations for nuclear zero. We owe it to ourselves and to the future of humanity.