Issue #259 – February 2019
|We have books for you. We’re working for peace on a global scale. But we want it to flourish in our personal relationships too. This month, we’re bringing back Dorothie and Marty Hellman’s book, A New Map for Relationships: Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet. For a donation of $15 or more in February, we’ll send you a copy.|
U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
Three Beliefs Guiding NAPF’s Work
Three beliefs have guided, motivated and propelled the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) from its creation in 1982 to the present.
First, peace is an imperative of the Nuclear Age. Second, nuclear weapons must be abolished before they abolish us. Third, change will come about by extraordinary ordinary people leading their leaders to choose peace and a world free of nuclear weapons.
The Foundation’s work is aimed at changing the world, person by person, community by community, and nation by nation. Our work is a matter of the heart, of doing the right thing for the children of the world and all generations to follow.
To read more, click here.
Welcome to the New Age of Nuclear Instability
The Trump administration has dismissed the INF as irrelevant because Russia has abrogated its commitment to it by developing a treaty-busting cruise missile of its own. The Russians, for their part, claim that it is the United States that started this race to the bottom by announcing its withdrawal from the Antiballistic Missile treaty in 2001 and building missile defense systems near Russia’s borders. Regardless, it should be kept in place.
The turn away from arms control agreements is not happening in a vacuum. The National Nuclear Security Administration, the part of the Department of Energy that oversees weapons production, announced this week that it has begun production of a new low-yield nuclear weapon that is about one-third as powerful as the bomb used on Hiroshima. These bombs are considered by some “small enough to use.” It could be ready for deployment by the end of the year.
To read the full op-ed in The New York Times, click here.
The World Is Two Minutes from Doom
We have to go back 66 years, to 1953, to find a time of equal danger: The Soviet Union had just tested a hydrogen bomb. Eastern Europe was in the iron grip of the Soviet Union. There was danger of a military conflict erupting in Berlin. And U.S. troops in West Germany, fully expecting an invasion, were preparing to use tactical nuclear weapons against the invaders.
In 2018, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists experts equated the nuclear danger to that dangerous time in the Cold War, setting the clock to two minutes to midnight. We have kept it there this year.
To read the full op-ed at CNN, click here.
Trashing Treaties: It’s Not Just Trump
There is no shortage of critics who have pointed out President Donald Trump’s monumental strategic mistake in unilaterally withdrawing the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. It is indeed a blunder of the highest degree that not only makes the Trump administration look incompetent and foolish, but also puts the United States’ European allies and all of us at greater risk of nuclear catastrophe.
President Trump has chosen to surround himself with dangerous advisors who, in defiance of President Reagan’s vision, choose to put all humanity at risk by pursuing a perpetual nuclear arms race. It’s not too late to reverse this trend, but the clock is ticking.
To read more, click here.
U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
Senator Warren and Representative Smith Seek to Establish “No First Use” Policy
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) have introduced bills in the Senate and House of Representatives that seek to establish that the policy of the United States is to not use nuclear weapons first under any circumstances.
The United States explicitly retains the option to be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict, even in response to a non-nuclear attack. The No First Use Act would codify what most Americans already believe—that the United States should never initiate a nuclear war.
“Chairman Smith, Senator Warren Introduce Bill Establishing ‘No First Use’ Policy for Nuclear Weapons,” House Armed Services Committee, January 30, 2019.
Senator Markey and Representative Lieu Introduce Bill to Eliminate President’s Sole Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons First
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) have reintroduced bills in the Senate and House of Representatives to prevent the president from launching a nuclear first strike without congressional approval.
Rep. Lieu said, “We introduced this bill under the Obama Administration but Trump’s Presidency has highlighted just how scary it is that any president has the authority to launch a nuke without Congressional consultation. I believed in 2016 what I still believe now: launching a weapon that has the power to instantly kill millions of people is an obvious act of war. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, Congress has the constitutional duty to decide when a nuclear first strike is warranted. As we’re now coming to realize, we could be one tweet that insults the president away from catastrophe.”
“Rep. Lieu and Sen. Markey Reintroduce Bill to Limit President’s Ability to Launch Nuclear First Strike,” Congressman Ted Lieu, January 29, 2019.
Senators Seek to Prevent a Nuclear Arms Race in 2019
Ten senators have introduced legislation that would pull the United States and Russia back from the brink of a 21st Century nuclear arms race. The bill is a response to the Trump administration’s suspension of the INF Treaty.
The Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2019 prohibits funding for the procurement, flight-testing, or deployment of a U.S. ground-launched or ballistic missile – with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers – until the Trump Administration provides a report that meets numerous specific conditions.
“Merkley, Senators Introduce Bill to Prevent Nuclear Arms Race,” Senator Jeff Merkley, January 31, 2019.
U.S. Suspends INF Treaty; Russia Follows Suit
On February 1, the Trump administration announced that it would be suspending the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, effective February 2. This crucial treaty required the United States and the former Soviet Union (now Russia) to eliminate all nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
Since July 2014, the U.S. has alleged that Russia was in violation of its INF Treaty obligation not to “possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile having a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers” or “to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.” In late November 2017, a senior U.S. national security official stated that the Novator 9M729, a land-based cruise missile, was the weapon that the United States believed violates the INF Treaty.
For its part, Russia alleges that the U.S. has violated the INF Treaty by deploying a component of a missile defense system — the Mark 41 Vertical Launch System — that is capable of launching offensive missiles. It also claims that the U.S. has used prohibited missiles in defense tests and that some U.S. armed drones are effectively unlawful cruise missiles.
“Trump Withdraws U.S. from INF Treaty,” Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, February 1, 2019.
U.S. and Russia Plan ICBM Test Launches
Just days after President Donald Trump suspended U.S. obligations under the INF Treaty, the United States and Russia both plan to conduct test launches of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.
Rick Wayman, Deputy Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, said, “While ICBMs would not have violated the INF Treaty, it is alarming that this extraordinary tension is coming to a head with major nuclear-capable missile tests just hours or days apart.”
He continued, “The Air Force always seeks to explain away ICBM tests as routine and disconnected from current geopolitical events. But there is nothing routine about rehearsing the annihilation of millions of people. President Trump’s reckless decision to torch the INF Treaty has put us all at even higher risk of nuclear catastrophe, and the United States’ ongoing testing of ICBMs must be viewed in this light.”
Janene Scully, “Vandenberg AFB to Conduct Minuteman III Missile Test Launch,” Noozhawk, February 4, 2019.
France Conducts Full-Scale Nuclear Attack Rehearsal
France has conducted an 11-hour mission to fully rehearse a nuclear weapons attack using its Rafale warplane. During the mission, France fired a missile from the aircraft, either with a mock nuclear warhead or no warhead at all.
France possesses approximately 300 nuclear weapons.
John Irish and Sophie Louet, “France Carries Out Rare Simulation of Nuclear Deterrent Strike,” Reuters, February 5, 2019.
More Countries Sign and Ratify Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
Momentum has continued into 2019 towards entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. So far this year, Cambodia signed the treaty, and St. Lucia and El Salvador deposited their instruments of ratification. In addition, the parliaments of South Africa and Panama have approved ratification of the treaty, and are expected to officially ratify soon.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will enter into force 90 days after the 50th country ratifies it. Currently there are 70 signatories and 21 ratifications.
To see the full list of which countries have signed on, click here.
Trump Administration Releases Missile Defense Review
The Trump Administration has released a long-delayed Missile Defense Review. The document calls for a significant increase in investment for missile defense, including space-based sensors and lasers.
The document also explicitly rejects the possibility of limiting missile defenses in the future. President George W. Bush unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, which removed limits that were placed on the program.
Paul Sonne, “Pentagon Seeks to Expand Scope and Sophistication of U.S. Missile Defenses,” Washington Post, January 16, 2019.
U.S. Nuclear Weapons to Cost Half a Trillion Over Next Ten Years
The Congressional Budget Office has released a new report that calculates U.S. spending on nuclear weapons over the next ten years will be between $494 billion and $559 billion. This is a major increase of $94 billion (23%) above the ten-year projection for 2017-26.
The increase from the 2017 to the 2019 reports is due to several factors. The report captures two additional years in the late-2020s when nuclear weapons “modernization” will be in full swing. It also calculates the costs of some of the additions from the Trump administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, and identifies increases in the projected costs of some programs.
To read the full report from the Congressional Budget Office, click here.
Mourning Armageddon: Music Video Shot in Russian Nuclear Bunker
As one of over a million people in Hawai’i who were told on January 13, 2018 that they were about to be hit by a nuclear missile, renowned Hawai’i artist Makana said, “Waking to an alert of a nuclear attack in Hawai’i got me thinking. Why is this even a possibility?”
When Makana found out that the U.S. and Russia possess over 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, he was inspired to travel to Russia.
To watch this powerful music video, click here.
Sole Authority: 2019 Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has launched its 2019 Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest. This year’s contest asks entrants to grapple with a very timely issue. The President of the United States currently has the sole authority to initiate a nuclear attack at any time for any reason, or no reason at all.
Contestants will make videos of three minutes or less about whether or not they think this policy is a good idea. If not, why not? Should it be changed? What should U.S. policy be instead?
The contest has three cash prizes and is open to people of all ages around the world. Videos must be submitted by April 1. For more information, click here.
NAPF Now Hiring 2019 Summer Interns
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is offering four paid summer internship positions in 2019 at its Santa Barbara office. Interns must have a demonstrated interest in gaining hands-on experience working with a non-profit educational and advocacy organization. Applications for these positions must be received by March 1, 2019.
For Summer 2019, we are hiring for four specific internship roles: Research and Writing Intern; Fundraising and Development Intern; Communications Intern; and Peace Literacy Intern.
For more information on each of these four roles, as well as application requirements, click here.
Women Waging Peace
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s online campaign, Women Waging Peace, highlights the outstanding work of women for peace and nuclear disarmament. Though progress is made every day, women’s voices are still often ignored, their efforts stonewalled and their wisdom overlooked regarding issues of peace and security, national defense, and nuclear disarmament.
Our sixth profile features Dr. Helen Caldicott. She is a physician and former Harvard University professor of pediatrics, has written seven books, co-founded Physicians for Social Responsibility, founded Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament, and is the President of the Helen Caldicott Foundation for a Nuclear Free Future.
Click here to read our interview with Helen Caldicott.
The other women leaders profiled in this series thus far are Ray Acheson, Cynthia Lazaroff, Makoma Lekalakala, Christine Ahn, and Bonnie Jenkins. Click here to see the full Women Waging Peace series.
Letter in the Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times published a letter to the editor by NAPF Deputy Director Rick Wayman on February 5. The letter was in response to a story about President Trump’s recent suspension of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Wayman wrote, “Ending the nuclear arms race and putting an end to the nuclear age need not be a partisan issue. After all, the freshly discarded INF Treaty was negotiated by President Reagan, who famously said, ‘Why wait until the end of the [20th] century for a world free of nuclear weapons?’ Trump has surrounded himself with dangerous advisors who, in defiance of Reagan’s vision, put humanity at risk by pursuing a perpetual nuclear arms race. It’s not too late to reverse this trend, but the clock is ticking.”
To read the full letter in the LA Times, click here.
“Nuclear weapons are the enemy of humanity. Indeed, they’re not weapons at all. They’re some species of biological time bombs whose effects transcend time and space, poisoning the Earth and its inhabitants for generations to come.”
— General George Lee Butler, former commander in chief of United States Strategic Command, the entity in charge of the United States’ nuclear weapons. This quote appears in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, which is available to purchase in the NAPF Peace Store.
“Two nuclear armed countries should not even think of a war; not even a Cold War because it could worsen any time. The only way is bilateral talks. Two nuclear armed countries at war is like a suicide.”
— Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, speaking about the need for Pakistan and India to achieve peace.
“We appeal to you and the Government to work with allies and to engage would-be adversaries to formulate security arrangements that do not rely on the threat of nuclear annihilation. As a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member, it is Canada’s prerogative to raise such issues within the alliance.”
— Canadian Council of Churches, in a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.