Sunflower Newsletter: July 2018

By |2018-07-14T14:21:21-08:00July 2, 2018|

Issue #252 – July 2018

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  • Perspectives
    • Assessing the Trump-Kim Singapore Summit by David Krieger
    • Young Voices on Peace with North Korea by Alicia Sanders-Zakre and Catherine Killough
    • On the 50th Anniversary of the Non-Proliferation Treaty: An Exercise in Bad Faith by Alice Slater
    • How Citizens Helped to End the Cold War: Inspiration for Today by David Foglesong
  • U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
    • U.S. Continues Testing New B61-12 Nuclear Bomb
    • Downwinders Testify Before Congress
  • Nuclear Disarmament
    • Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un Meet in Singapore
    • Trump and Putin to Meet in Finland on July 16
  • War and Peace
    • U.S. and South Korea Indefinitely Postpone Some War Games
  • Nuclear Insanity
    • Hawaii Emergency Officials Slept on the Job
    • Germany Wants New Planes to be Nuclear-Capable
  • Resources
    • This Month in Nuclear Threat History
    • The Marshall Islands and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    • Missile Defense Featured in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
    • Weapon-Free Funds
  • Foundation Activities
    • Evening for Peace to Honor Current Nobel Peace Laureate
    • Sadako Peace Day on August 6
    • New NAPF Annual Report Now Available
    • Paul K. Chappell to be Keynote Speaker at Business Conference
    • Peace Literacy in Florida and Maine
  • Take Action
    • The U.S. Must End Its Support for the War in Yemen
  • Quotes

 

Perspectives

Assessing the Trump-Kim Singapore Summit

While the summit has relieved tensions between the two nuclear-armed countries, nuclear dangers have not gone away on the Korean Peninsula or in the rest of the world. These dangers will remain so long as any country, including the U.S., continues to rely upon nuclear weapons for its national security. Such reliance encourages nuclear proliferation and will likely lead to the use of these weapons over time – by malice, madness or mistake.

We can take some time to breathe a sigh of relief that nuclear dangers have lessened on the Korean Peninsula, but then we must return to seeking the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. An important pathway to this end is support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by the United Nations in 2017 and now open for state signatures and deposit of ratifications.

To read more, click here.

Young Voices on Peace with North Korea

We spoke with young people around the world who saw hope in the summit, and a chance to advance their own work—including the reunion of families divided by conflict, the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula, and a negotiated agreement that would lead toward the denuclearization of North Korea.

Captivated by North Korea’s nuclear tests and Trump’s reckless Twitter tirades, the media rarely pick up voices of the next generation. Young people and their work should inspire the United States to choose diplomacy over war and to pursue peace with North Korea. We decided not to ignore them this time.

To read more, click here.

On the 50th Anniversary of the Non-Proliferation Treaty: An Exercise in Bad Faith

On July 1, the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) turned 50 years old. In that agreement, five nuclear weapons states—the U.S., Russia, UK, France, and China—promised, a half a century ago, to make “good faith efforts” to give up their nuclear weapons, while non-nuclear weapons states promised not to acquire them.

It remains to be seen whether the NPT will continue to have relevance in light of the evident lack of integrity by the parties who promised “good faith” efforts for nuclear disarmament, and instead are all modernizing and inventing new forms of nuclear terror.

To read more, click here.

How Citizens Helped to End the Cold War: Inspiration for Today

Thirty years ago, when Ronald Reagan met with Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow and said that he no longer considered the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” many observers began declaring that the Cold War was over. While the important roles of Reagan and Gorbachev in the ending of Soviet-American enmity are widely remembered, it is often forgotten that Soviet and American citizens played active roles in overcoming the suspicion and hostility that had marred relations between the two countries for decades. Today, when American-Russian relations have deteriorated so badly that many now speak of a “new cold war,” it is important to remember how citizens made a difference in the ending of the old Cold War.

Even before Reagan and Gorbachev met for the first time at Geneva in November 1985, many Americans and Soviets launched initiatives to try to ease tensions between their nations. American and Soviet citizens were thus not merely observers of the end of the Cold War; they helped to make it happen in their own homes and communities.

To read more, click here.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

U.S. Continues Testing New B61-12 Nuclear Bomb

Despite its insistence that countries such as North Korea completely renounce nuclear weapons, the United States has continued to develop and test its new B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb at the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada.

The first full B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

NNSA, Air Force Complete Successful End-to-End B61-12 Life Extension Program Flight Tests at Tonopah Test Range,” National Nuclear Security Administration, June 29, 2018.

Downwinders Testify Before Congress

The impacts of uranium mining and nuclear testing persist today in many areas around the world. Communities neighboring uranium mines or downwind from nuclear test sites experience rates of cancer and other related health conditions that are truly debilitating–a multigenerational threat. While the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act has provided limited financial compensation for those exposed before 1972, provisions in the Act exclude communities impacted by dangerous radiation exposure after that time.

On June 27, numerous representatives of these communities testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. They spoke in support of a bill that would expand eligibility for compensation and support.

Bryan Pietsch, “Navajo, Others Testify for Bill to Expand Protections for ‘Downwinders’,” Cronkite News, June 27th, 2018.

Nuclear Disarmament

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un Meet in Singapore

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un met at a high-profile summit in Singapore on June 12. The two leaders signed a vaguely-worded document about denuclearization and security guarantees, and also promised that further meetings would take place between the two nations. The Singapore Summit marked the first time a sitting U.S. president met with the leader of North Korea.

Julian Borger, “Kim Jong-un Pledges Nuclear Disarmament at Summit with Trump,” The Guardian, June 12, 2018.

Trump and Putin to Meet in Finland on July 16

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will hold a summit in Helsinki on July 16. The summit was announced following a June 27 meeting between Putin and U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton.

“Your visit to Moscow gives us hope that we can make at least the first steps toward restoring full-scale relations between our countries,” Putin told Bolton at the opening of their meeting.

Russia and the United States together possess over 90% of the nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Both countries are aggressively modernizing their nuclear arsenals.

Henry Meyer and Stepan Kravchenko, “Trump Gives Russia a Pass on Meddling, Announces July 16 Putin Summit,” Bloomberg, June 28, 2018.

War and Peace

U.S. and South Korea Indefinitely Suspend Some War Games

Following the June 12 Singapore Summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, the United States and South Korea have agreed to indefinitely suspend many joint military exercises. These suspensions include Freedom Guardian, as well as two Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises. Additional suspensions may be made depending on productive negotiations with North Korea.

At a news conference following the June 12 summit, Trump said, “The war games are very expensive, we pay for the majority of them.” He continued, “Under the circumstances, that we’re negotiating … I think it’s inappropriate to be having war games.”

Idrees Ali, “Pentagon Indefinitely Suspends Some Training Exercises with South Korea,” Reuters, June 22, 2018.

Nuclear Insanity

Hawaii Emergency Officials Slept on the Job

A staff member from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has reported that employees of the agency watched movies and even slept on the job. The agency suffered scrutiny after an employee mistakenly sent out an alert warning of a ballistic missile attack last January. The employee mistook a drill for a real threat and terrified the public by releasing an emergency text message alert.

Lack of training and preparedness are cited as key concerns from Hawaii state workers employed at the Agency. In addition to concerns around the distractions of workers, one employee has highlighted the need for the Agency to cancel erroneous alerts. The call for systems of cancellation are seen as all the more important now considering the threat of human error and the widespread panic that can ensue within communities on the ground.

Workers of Hawaii Agency That Sent False Missile Alert Allegedly Slept on Duty,” CBS News, June 28, 2018.

Germany Wants New Planes to be Nuclear-Capable

Germany has information from the United States about the requirements for carrying U.S. nuclear weapons aboard their new Eurofighter Typhoon jets. The United States has not publicly answered the request, but it would likely be another 7-10 years before the Eurofighter is certified for nuclear missions.

The Eurofighter is part of Germany’s multi-billion euro plan to replace the current fleet of 89 Tornados. The U.S. is encouraging the increased spending on defense within Europe and is working to maintain a spot in European defense projects after “25 EU governments signed a pact in December to fund, develop and deploy armed forces together.”

Germany is one of five nations that hosts U.S. nuclear weapons on its territory. The other nations are Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey.

Andrea Shalal, “Germany Wants to Know if the U.S. Will Let it Carry Nuclear Weapons on its New Fighter Jets,” Business Insider, June 20, 2018.

 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 July, including U.S. President Donald Trump’s July 20, 2017 comment to high-ranking military officials that he wanted a ten-fold increase in the nuclear arsenal.

To read Mason’s full article, click here.

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

The Marshall Islands and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is one of the nations most impacted by the devastating effects of nuclear weapons. From 1946-58, the United States tested 67 nuclear weapons on RMI territory. The environmental and health consequences were catastrophic, and continue to this day.

In June 2018, Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) published a paper detailing how the RMI’s membership in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons would be compatible with its Compact of Free Association with the United States.

The RMI parliament is currently debating whether or not to sign the treaty. The IHRC paper argues that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the Compact of Free Association are legally compatible. The authors encourage the RMI to sign the treaty, and urge the United States to respect the RMI’s sovereign decision.

To read the full paper, click here.

Missile Defense Featured in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The July issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists looks at the expensive and ineffective—yet potentially destabilizing—international pursuit of ballistic missile defense with the help of an extraordinary lineup of the world’s top missile defense experts. The United States has spent tens of billions of dollars on ground-based missile defense, and no one is sure the system it bought can ever work, even against smaller nuclear countries like North Korea.

This issue is free to access online through August 2018.

Click here to access the issue.

Weapon-Free Mutual Funds

As part of its Divest from the War Machine campaign, Codepink has created a new website to track which mutual funds are involved in militarism and gun violence.

The campaign website states, “Aligning investments with values requires that you know what you own – but it’s almost impossible to know what individual companies you own if you’re invested through mutual funds. We’re starting to change that. It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of giant corporations, but you can harness your personal economic power to confront big business.”

Click here to visit the site.

Foundation Activities

Evening for Peace to Honor Current Nobel Peace Laureate

On October 21, 2018, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation will honor the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and Beatrice Fihn, ICAN’s Executive Director, at the 34th Annual Evening for Peace.

ICAN was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to bring about the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted at the United Nations in July of last year.

The event will take place in Santa Barbara, California. For more information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities, please call the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation at +1 805-965-3443.

Sadako Peace Day on August 6

On August 6, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation will hold its 24th annual Sadako Peace Day commemoration at La Casa de Maria in Montecito, California. This will be one of the first public events at La Casa de Maria since the catastrophic mudslides that devastated the retreat center and many other places in Montecito. Twenty-three lives were lost in the disaster. This year, we will reflect on the local situation in addition to remembering the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and all innocent victims of war.

The event, featuring music, poetry, and more, will take place from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. It is free and open to the public. For more information, click here.

New NAPF Annual Report Now Available

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has published its latest annual report with the title “We Can Change the World.” The report highlights the Foundation’s key achievements in 2017.

From our global work as part of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the negotiations for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, to the impressive foothold our Peace Literacy initiative has taken in communities around the United States and Canada, there is much momentum for NAPF to build on for the future.

The annual report also features an article about our Director of Programs, Rick Wayman, meeting Pope Francis last November, and an interview with one of our outstanding 2017 summer interns, Megan Cox.

To download a copy of our annual report, click here.

Paul K. Chappell to be Keynote Speaker at Business Conference

Paul K. Chappell, NAPF’s Peace Literacy Director, will give the keynote speech at the Gianneschi Leadership Institute on August 16. The speech is part of a week-long G3X Conference, which provides a forum for networking, continuing education and innovation for current and aspiring social-profit practitioners. The conference will take place at the Mihaylo College of Business at California State University Fullerton.

For more information, click here.

Peace Literacy in Florida and Maine

NAPF’s Paul K. Chappell will travel to Florida in July and Maine in August to provide important trainings to local teachers, students, activists, and others.

Paul will headline three days of events in Pompano Beach, Florida from July 20-22. Events include a lecture on “Our Human Needs and the Tangles of Trauma” and a day-long Peace Literacy workshop. For more information, click here.

Unity of Greater Portland, Maine is sponsoring a five-day Peace Literacy workshop led by Chappell from August 5-10. For more information about this workshop, click here.

Take Action

The U.S. Must End Its Support for the War in Yemen

The United States is backing what is currently the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. Recently, the Saudi-led coalition, with support from the U.S., has been bombarding the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah. In a country already suffering greatly from this prolonged war, this attack on Yemen’s main port is preventing vital humanitarian aid supplies from getting to those who desperately need them.

At least 15,000 civilians have already been killed in the war. Up to a million Yemenis have been affected by cholera. The UN reports that 10.6 million Yemenis are on the verge of starvation. At least 22 million Yemenis–80% of the country’s population–rely on the aid that comes through Hodeidah.

Please contact your Representative and Senators today and tell them to demand a halt to U.S. support for this large-scale humanitarian disaster.

Click here to take action.

Quotes

 

“The indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons carries a high risk of catastrophe. Is there a military justification for continuing to accept that risk? The answer is no.”

Robert S. McNamara, former U.S. Secretary of Defense. This quote appears in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, which is available to purchase in the NAPF Peace Store.

 

“Forcing desperate young parents to surrender custody of their weeping children because they were unable to comply with restrictive immigration rules is a disgrace to our great country. Such cruelty should be condemned as a crime against humanity.”

Ben Ferencz, a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Tribunals and member of the NAPF Advisory Council, speaking about President Trump’s policy of separating families at the border.

 

“Seventy years of division and hostility, however, have cast a dark shadow that makes it difficult to believe what is actually taking place before our very eyes.”

— South Korean President Moon Jae-in, referring to the progress being made to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Editorial Team

 

Kate Fahey
David Krieger
MacKenzie Leger
Carol Warner
Rick Wayman