“I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” — Barack Obama
1. A No First Use commitment will deemphasize the role of nuclear weapons in US security policy. This should be reflected in the new US Nuclear Posture Review, which is currently in progress. More than any other step the US could take, this will demonstrate to the world the US commitment to Article VI of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
2. De-alert nuclear arsenals, which remain on high alert status as a relic of the worst threats of the Cold War era. Negotiate in the current arms talks with Russia to take all nuclear weapons off high alert status. Understanding human fallibility, put the gift of increased time between the possibility of misperception or miscalculation and nuclear war.
3. Expand the concept of nuclear security for the Global Summit on Nuclear Security. We applaud President Obama for taking the initiative to convene this summit in March 2010. It provides an opportunity for states to go to the heart of nuclear security issues. All states are endangered by any state’s nuclear arsenal. It is not sufficient to focus only on nuclear terrorism. It is necessary to focus also on existing nuclear arsenals and potential proliferation. The bottom line is that nuclear security will require nuclear weapons abolition. We propose that each participating state come to the table with its own Roadmap to Abolition and open a dialogue on achieving a Nuclear Weapons Convention for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of nuclear weapons.
4. Support a Middle East Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone (MENWFZ) to prevent a regional nuclear arms race. The pursuit of a MENWFZ was promised when the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was indefinitely extended in 1995. Now, nearly 15 years later, there has been no progress. At the same time, nearly every country in the region seeks nuclear power programs, moving them closer to weapons programs. If double standards are not ended, Israel not challenged on its nuclear arsenal, and a MENWFZ not achieved, the region may see substantial nuclear proliferation, dramatically diminishing the prospects for achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.
5. Repeat the themes of the President Obama’s Prague speech in the United States. Bring home to all Americans, and particularly our national security establishment, that a world free of nuclear weapons is not a fantasy and that the US is committed to pursuing this goal with a sense of urgency. Continue to make the case to Americans that nuclear weapons do not and cannot provide for our security and we will be far safer and more secure in a world free of nuclear weapons.
David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org) and a councilor on the World Future Council.