Issue #258 – January 2019
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War and Peace
A Message to Today’s Young People: Put an End to the Nuclear Weapons Era
Nuclear weapons were created to kill indiscriminately. That means women, men, children – everyone. Even during war, under the rules of international law, that kind of mass killing is illegal. It is also immoral.
As young people, you have a unique ability to influence today’s political and military leaders throughout the world to put an end to the nuclear era. For your own future, and that of all humanity, will you accept the challenge and join in advocating for a Nuclear Zero world?
To read more, click here.
Renew Arms Control, Don’t Destroy It
A hard-earned lesson of the Cold War is that arms control reduces the risk of nuclear war by limiting dangerous deployments and, even more important, by creating channels of communication and understanding. But President Donald Trump and his National Security Advisor John Bolton appear to have forgotten, or never learned, that lesson.
In late October, Trump announced an intent to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo subsequently stated that the U.S. will suspend implementation of the treaty in early February. While U.S. signals have been mixed, initiation of withdrawal at that point or soon thereafter appears likely.
To read the full op-ed at Inter Press Service, click here.
Labor Sets the Right Course on Nuclear Disarmament
On the final afternoon of the recent 48th [Australian] Labor national conference, Anthony Albanese took to the podium to announce that a future Labor government will sign and ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. He declared that “people who change the world are ones that are ambitious,” after three days of intense negotiations on nuclear policy among senior Labor parliamentarians.
It is beyond time for Australia to quit our role as nuclear enabler for the United States. The nuclear weapon ban treaty presents us with a persistent question; will we join the global majority and contribute to the consensus against these WMDs, or remain implicated in the nuclear threat?
To read the full op-ed in The Sydney Morning Herald, click here.
The Measured Normalization of a Nuclear State
The passing year marked the 20th year of the May 1998 nuclear tests in Pokhran, the 10th year of the unprecedented exception from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) that the Indian government achieved in 2008, and the last effective year of the ultra-nationalist Modi government as it enters its lame-duck phase in early 2019.
The deceptive calm and seeming indolence on the part of the Indian government makes it easy to miss the details and the deeply worrying patterns of an unmistakable push for a massive nuclear weaponization and energy expansion that we should all be concerned about.
To read more, click here.
Russia Tests Hypersonic Missile
On December 26, Russia announced a successful test of its Avangard hypersonic missile. The missile, which can travel 20 times the speed of sound, is designed to take an elusive path toward its target, thus nullifying the effect of any current missile defense system.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Russians were “forced” to develop the missile in response to U.S. President George W. Bush’s unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002.
Bill Chappell, “Russia Will Deploy New Hypersonic Missile Systems in 2019, Putin Says,” NPR, December 27, 2018.
Trump Calls the Arms Race Crazy
In a December tweet, President Trump complained about the high cost of the arms race with Russia and China, calling it “uncontrollable” and “crazy.”
Trump wrote, “I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I,
Lolita Baldor, “Trump Complains About Cost of ‘Uncontrollable’ Arms Race,” Associated Press, December 3, 2018.
War and Peace
U.S. to Reconsider Travel Ban to North Korea
Stephen Biegun, the State Department’s special representative for North Korea, said that the United States will review its ban on travel to North Korea in order to help facilitate humanitarian aid shipments to the isolated country.
“I’ll be sitting down with American aid groups early in the new year to discuss how we can better ensure the delivery of appropriate assistance,” Biegun said.
U.S. sanctions against North Korea have been enforced so vigorously that aid groups have been unable to transfer cash for their daily operations in the North, or even take any metal objects there.
Choe Sang-hun, “U.S. Will Review Travel Ban on North Korea, Envoy Says,” The New York Times, December 19, 2018.
Trump Administration Breaks Agreement with California for Cleanup of Nuclear Meltdown Site
The Trump Administration’s Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it intends to leave 98% of the contaminated soil in its area of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) not cleaned up, despite admitting that would violate the legally binding agreement it entered into with California in 2010.
The SSFL is one of the most contaminated sites in the state. It housed ten nuclear reactors, one of which suffered a partial nuclear meltdown and three others also experienced serious accidents. There was a plutonium fuel fabrication facility and a “hot lab” which cut up highly irradiated nuclear fuel shipped in from around the country. Radioactive and toxic chemical wastes were burned for years in open-air pits. There were tens of thousands of rocket engine tests. All of these activities and sloppy environmental practices resulted in widespread radioactive and toxic chemical pollution of soil, groundwater and surface water.
“Trump Administration Breaks Agreement With California for Cleanup of Nuclear Meltdown Site,” Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles, December 19, 2018.
U.S. Strategic Command Tweets Bomb Threat on New Year’s Eve
The United States Strategic Command, the unified military force that controls the nation’s thousands of nuclear weapons, tweeted and then deleted a threat to drop something “much, much bigger” than the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball.
The bombs being dropped in the video accompanying the tweet were massive “conventional” bombs. However, Strategic Command is known for its control of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Zachary Cohen and Barbara Starr, “U.S. Military Tweets, Deletes New Year’s Eve Message About Dropping Bombs,” CNN, December 31, 2018.
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary is 31-Year Veteran of Boeing
Patrick Shanahan, who was named acting Secretary of Defense after James Mattis resigned in December, previously worked for Boeing for 31 years before joining the Pentagon. Boeing makes billions of dollars each year from U.S. military contracts, including nuclear weapons.
Shanahan’s spokesperson Lt. Col. Joe Buccino said, “Under his Ethics Agreement, Mr. Shanahan has recused himself for the duration of his service in the Department of Defense from participating in matters in which the Boeing Company is a party.”
Given Boeing’s significant number of military contracts, this claim will likely prove to be untrue.
Ellen Mitchell, “Acting Defense Chief Recuses Himself from Matters Involving Boeing,” The Hill, January 2, 2019.
Senator Bought Raytheon Stock Days After Pushing for Massive Military Budget
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) bought between $50,000 and $100,000 worth of stock in weapons manufacturer Raytheon just days after pushing for a record $750 billion military budget for Fiscal Year 2020.
After being questioned about why he made this purchase, Inhofe’s office said the senator contacted his financial adviser to cancel the transaction and instructed him to avoid defense and aerospace purchases going forward.
Lachlan Markay, “Sen. James Inhofe Bought Defense Stock Days After Pushing for Record Pentagon Spending—Then Dumped It When Asked About It,” The Daily Beast, December 12, 2018.
An Unsettled Year in Nuclear Weapons
John Mecklin, Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, compiled a list of eight articles published by the Bulletin in 2018 that convey the unsettled year that has passed.
In 2018, the world’s arms control architecture teetered on the brink of collapse as the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and threatened withdrawal from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Negotiations between the United States and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear program stalled. And Hawaii went through 38 dreadful minutes of believing it was under nuclear missile attack.
To read Mecklin’s list, click here.
Joint Statement of U.S. Civil Society Groups in Support of the Current Peace Process in Korea
Over 150 civil society groups in the United States, including the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, issued a joint statement in support of the peace process in Korea. The statement says that, after more than six decades, it is time to end the Korean War. The war stopped in 1953 with an Armistice Agreement, but a peace treaty among the warring parties has never been signed.
To read the full statement in The Nation, click here.
Peace Literacy 2018 Highlights and 2019 Preview
In 2018, NAPF Peace Literacy Director Paul K. Chappell brought a transformative curriculum for a peace literate classroom, community, and culture to events in 16 states and five Canadian provinces. He spoke to more than 8,500 educators, students, and community leaders in more than 67 lectures and 19 workshops.
In 2019, Chappell will partner with dedicated educators around the country to bring professional development opportunities to teachers and administrators. He will also conduct many workshops and lectures for Rotary International chapters, and will co-teach an honors course on Peace Literacy with Oregon State University Professor Sharyn Clough.
To read the full update on Peace Literacy, 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 fifth profile features Bonnie Jenkins, founder and President of Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS).
Click here to read our interview with Bonnie Jenkins.
The other women leaders profiled in this series thus far are Ray Acheson, Cynthia Lazaroff, Makoma Lekalakala, and Christine Ahn. Click here to see all the full Women Waging Peace series.
Article in Gensuikyo Tsushin
The Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Gensuikyo) invited NAPF Deputy Director Rick Wayman to write an article on California’s adoption of a resolution embracing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The article was translated into Japanese for distribution to Gensuikyo activists across Japan.
To read the full article in English, click here.
Thank Senators for Invoking the War Powers Resolution
In December, the Senate voted 56-41 to stop U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. This is the first time the Senate has ever invoked the 1973 War Powers Resolution.
This war, for which the U.S. has supplied bombs, intelligence, and logistical support, has directly caused what the United Nations calls the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
Click here to take action.
“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased to worship life and obey the laws of life.”
— Lewis Mumford. This quote appears in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, which is available to purchase in the NAPF Peace Store.
“We are small, but we can have a big impact.”
— Auckland Statement on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Click here to read the full statement.
“If the US responds to our initiative and pre-emptive efforts by taking reliable and corresponding practical action, our relationship will continue to progress at an excellent and great speed through the process of taking more concrete and groundbreaking measures.”
— Kim Jong-un, in a January 1, 2019 video message.