Issue #251 – June 2018
Violating the Iran Deal: Playing with Nuclear Fire
President Trump has demonstrated yet again why he lacks the understanding, intelligence and temperament to be president of the United States. By violating the Iran nuclear deal, he is undermining the security of the U.S., our allies and the world.
America, beware. Trump has just fired another serious warning shot across the bow of democracy, one that bodes ill for the nuclear non-proliferation regime, for peace and for the future of our democratic institutions. Once again, Trump has shown clearly that he is not fit to be president, and his impeachment should be undertaken as a matter of urgency.
To read more, click here.
Men with Fragile Egos Should Not Have the World’s Faith Placed in Them
We cannot rely on piecemeal agreements on nuclear weapons to guarantee our safety. Men with fragile egos should not have the world’s faith placed in them to solve these existential crises.
Instead, we already have a solution. These weapons are now prohibited by treaty, and it is a matter of getting every state on board. Last year 122 nations adopted the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the UN, and it is well on its way to becoming international law.
Quite simply, the possession of nuclear weapons by anyone is a grave humanitarian threat that we cannot countenance. South Koreans should not have to go to bed at night wondering if a Tweet sent from across the Pacific will mean they won’t wake up in the morning.
To read the full article at CNN, click here.
20 Years of Nuclear tests by India and Pakistan
While the global diplomatic circuits, international media and opinion makers are busy discussing whether North Korea would de-nuclearize itself, or if Iran would go nuclear, there seems to be a complete silence this month as the world’s only nuclear-armed neighbors with ongoing conflicts complete 20 years of their nuclear tests conducted in May 1998.
The Doomsday Clock statement this year mentioned the “simmering tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.” It refers to the “threats of nuclear warfare” hanging in the background “as Pakistan and India faced each other warily across the Line of Control in Kashmir,” a reference to the surgical strikes by the Indian military across the LoC on September 29.
To read more, click here.
Gaza: Grief, Horror, Outrage, Remembering
How can one not feel intense grief for the young Palestinians who out of despair and fury joined the Great March of Return, and so often found death and severe injury awaiting them as they approached the border unarmed!!?
This was not a gratuitous event, or something that happened spontaneously on either side. After 70 years of Palestinian suffering, with no end of torment in sight, to show the world and each other their passion was what would be seen as normal, even admirable, demonstrating a spirit of resistance that endured after decades of repression, violence, humiliation, and denial of the most fundamental of rights. After 70 years of Israeli statehood, this violent confirmation of our worst fears and perceptions, seals a negative destiny for Israel as far as the moral eye can see.
To read more, click here.
U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
President Trump Decides to Unilaterally Violate Iran Nuclear Deal
On May 8, U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, reversing the 2015 agreement signed by former President Obama. Trump made his decision as “the fulfillment of a bedrock campaign promise and as the act of a dealmaker dissolving a fatally flawed agreement,” but has received much backlash from the international community as well as domestic, including a public rebuke from Obama.
As expressed by French President Emmanuel Macron, people fear that with Trump’s decision, “the international regime against nuclear proliferation is at stake.” It will also hold economic implications as the U.S. will return to strict sanctions against Iran and the countries that do business with Iran.
Mark Landler, “Trump Abandons Iran Nuclear Deal He Long Scorned,” The New York Times, May 8, 2018.
June 12 Summit Between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un Is Back On
On May 24, Donald Trump sent a letter to Kim Jong-un (see Quotes section, below) cancelling their June 12 summit in Singapore. However, after a multi-day visit to the United States by Kim Yong-chol, a former North Korean intelligence chief and top nuclear arms negotiator, Trump announced that the summit is back on.
Trump cited North Korea’s “open hostility” in the May 24 letter cancelling the summit. Just eight days later, on June 1, Trump said, “We’re over that, totally over that, and now we’re going to deal and we’re really going to start a process.”
Peter Baker, “Trump Announces Summit Meeting with Kim Jong-un Is Back On,” The New York Times, June 1, 2018.
Three Nations Ratify Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in May
During the month of May, three nations ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Palau ratified on May 3, followed by Austria on May 8, and Vietnam on May 17. This brings the total number of ratifications to 10, with more expected in the coming weeks.
The treaty will enter into force once 50 countries ratify the treaty.
“Signature/Ratification Status of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, May 31, 2018.
War and Peace
International Delegation of Women Gather in South Korea to Advocate for Peace
On May 25, peace activists, foreign policy experts, and ordinary Koreans rallied outside the U.S. embassy in South Korea to rebuke President Trump’s cancellation of the Trump- Kim summit. The protestors expressed fear that Trump’s cancellation of the summit will put the Korean Peninsula in greater danger, and urged him to reconsider diplomatic discussions.
“The people of both North and South Korea, and especially women, have worked too long and have come too close to reaching the first steps towards the signing of a Peace treaty to see the talks collapse,” said Christine Ahn, Korea expert and member of the NAPF Advisory Council. “We know that diplomacy can be difficult. However, peace in the Korean Peninsula cannot have any more setbacks. It’s been too long. It has been overdue more than 70 years.”
Jake Johnson, “Warning Against ‘Return to Rhetoric of Nuclear Annihilation,’ Koreans and Anti-War Voices Demand Trump Resume Peace Talks,” Common Dreams, May 25, 2018.
U.S. Expands Nuclear Arsenal While Demanding Others Disarm
On May 10, the Pentagon and Energy Department announced plans that seem to prepare “for an era of nuclear buildup.” The U.S. now plans to repurpose the Savannah River Site in South Carolina to annually produce at least 50 plutonium pits, the grapefruit-sized atom bomb that works as part of a chain reaction to ignite thermonuclear fuel and produce an explosion “1,000 times as powerful as the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.”
The Los Alamos National Laboratory is also expected to produce at least 30 plutonium pits per year.
David Sanger and William Broad, “As U.S. Demands Nuclear Disarmament, It Moves to Expand Its Own Arsenal,” The New York Times, May 14, 2018.
Air Force Nuclear Missile Guards Used LSD
Six airmen of the Air Force Nuclear Missile Corps at F.E. Warren Air Force Base were convicted for the use and/or distribution of LSD. These men, alongside the eight others that were punished, were in charge of guarding nuclear weapons considered to be “among the most powerful in America’s arsenal.” The accused service members were from the 90th Missile Wing, which operates one-third of the 400 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles that are on constant high alert in underground silos scattered across the northern Great Plains.
“I absolutely just loved altering my mind,” one of the convicted airmen told the judge.
“Air Force Troops Guarding Nuclear Missiles Used LSD,” Los Angeles Times, May 24, 2018.
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 June, including the June 28, 1958 test of a thermonuclear weapon by the United States in the Marshall Islands. The Oak test, at 8.9 megatons, or more than 600 times the power of the U.S. bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, was one of the largest nuclear explosions ever on Earth.
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 Devastating Legacy of Nuclear Weapons Testing in the Pacific
Two new reports from Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute (one about Kiribati and the other focused on Fiji) detail the humanitarian, human rights and environmental impacts of the Kiritimati and Malden Island nuclear weapons tests. The reports also show how the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), recently adopted by 122 governments at the United Nations, offers a groundbreaking framework for assisting victims and remediating environments contaminated by nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific.
Click here for the report about Kiribati, and here for the report about Fiji.
Poet Climbs Runit Dome to Expose Radioactive Legacy
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, an acclaimed poet and activist from the Marshall Islands, explores the nuclear testing legacy of the Marshall Islands through the legends and stories of Runit Island. This six-minute film is beautiful, powerful, and haunting.
Click here to watch the video.
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.
Peace Literacy Spotlight: Canadian Educators and Students
NAPF Peace Literacy Director Paul K. Chappell recently traveled to Winnipeg for a number of important events with educators and students. Joining Chappell for educator events in Winnipeg were: Shari Clough, Oregon State University Professor, Phronesis Lab Director, and Peace Literacy Curriculum Coordinator; Colleen Works, Corvallis High School Vice-Principal and 2011 Oregon State Teacher of the Year; and Susan Radford, a middle school teacher in Everett, Washington who has been developing lesson plans for middle school students based on Chappell’s work.
Chappell and the Peace Literacy Team gave a one-day Peace Literacy workshop to over 70 participants from the Manitoba Department of Education and Training ICAB (Instruction, Curriculum, and Assessment Branch) and two days of Peace Literacy training to over 280 teachers, students, and administrators from across Canada at the National UNESCO Associated Schools Network Conference at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Chappell also spoke to kindergartners and their fifth grade buddies on empathy and peace.
To read more about these exciting developments in Canada, click here.
Letter in the Los Angeles Times
On May 11, just a couple of days after President Trump announced that he will violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, the Los Angeles Times published a letter to the editor by Rick Wayman, NAPF’s Director of Programs. Wayman pointed out the extreme hypocrisy of all of the parties involved in negotiating the deal with Iran, all of whom possess nuclear weapons themselves.
He wrote, “The problem runs much deeper than a demagogue who willfully and unnecessarily violated a multilateral deal that was working. Nuclear weapons are illegitimate tools of coercion and mass killing.”
He went on to praise the nations that are signing and ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which is an unmistakable signal of a country’s rejection of nuclear weapons.
To read the full letter, click here.
30th Annual DC Days
Representatives of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation participated in the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability’s 30th Annual DC Days lobbying event in Washington, DC from May 20-23. NAPF summer intern Kate Fahey joined Director of Programs Rick Wayman for a day of issue and lobbying training, followed by three days of meetings with members of Congress and key staffers on nuclear weapons and waste issues.
Over 60 experts and activists from around the U.S. took part in this year’s DC Days.
Disarmament Education Report Submitted to UN Secretary-General
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation submitted a report to the United Nations Secretary-General on its disarmament education efforts from 2016-18. NAPF’s report will make up part of António Guterres’s report to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
NAPF highlighted its many publications by NAPF staff David Krieger, Rick Wayman, and Paul K. Chappell, the hundreds of public lectures on the need for nuclear weapons abolition and Peace Literacy, and engagement with students through NAPF’s internships and Peace Literacy Program.
To read NAPF’s report to the UN Secretary-General, click here.
“There is no time left for anything but to make peacework a dimension of our every waking activity.”
— Elise Boulding. This quote appears in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, which is available to purchase in the NAPF Peace Store.
“When it comes to using a nuclear weapon, restraint is a good thing.”
— A letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signed by 32 former national security officials regarding the proposed low-yield warhead for the U.S. submarine-launched ballistic missile.
“You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”
— U.S. President Donald Trump in a letter to Kim Jong-un announcing Trump’s decision to cancel their June 12 summit in Singapore.