Issue #255 – October 2018
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U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
War and Peace
An Exchange on Nuclear Abolition
I want to thank the many commenters on my essay, “Nuclear Abolition: The Road from Armageddon to Transformation.” The comments were thoughtful, intelligent and sometimes passionate. Taken together, they give me hope that change is possible and humanity may somehow find a way through the current threat that nuclear weapons pose not only to human life but all complex life on our planet.
It is only by our commitment and acts of will that we may be able to keep hope alive, protect our world, and pass it on intact to future generations. We may not finish the task, but we must accept the challenge and engage in it with passion if we are to create the awareness, trust, cooperation and institutional framework to achieve the goal of nuclear zero.
To read more, click here.
Under (Maximum) Pressure
“Maximum pressure” or its predecessor “strategic patience” has failed to lead to North Korean denuclearization. What has worked to move North Korea, as this latest series of summits has demonstrated, is meeting, face-to-face, and building trust. After almost two years in the White House, President Trump has tried both “fire and fury” and meeting Kim in Singapore. And the outcomes are clear. Diplomacy and engagement has proven far more effective in moving North Korea toward denuclearization than military posturing and punishing sanctions. A resumption of maximum pressure, on the other hand, could lead to an escalation of the conflict, alienation of our South Korean allies, and even war.
To read more, click here.
ICAN Statement to UN High Level Meeting
We’re speaking here today as a voice of passion and persistence in the quest to make our world more secure, more just, and more equitable. For us, abolishing nuclear weapons is about preventing violence and promoting peace.
Some say this is a dream, that we live in a time of uncertainty and change, that we can’t or shouldn’t try to eliminate nuclear weapons now. But when is there not uncertainty and change? It is the only constant in our world.
What is true is that we live in a time where we spend more money developing new ways to kill each other than we do on saving each other from crises of health, housing, food security, and environmental degradation.
To read more, click here.
U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
U.S. Completes Final Design Review of New Nuclear Bomb
The National Nuclear Security Administration has announced the completion of the final design review of the United States’ new nuclear gravity bomb, the B61-12. The current timeline states that the first new bomb will come off the assembly line in March 2020.
The United States currently deploys approximately 150 B61 nuclear bombs in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. It is likely that the new B61-12 nuclear bombs will replace those currently stationed in those nations.
Aaron Mehta, “America’s Newest Nuclear Gravity Bomb Completes Design Review,” Defense News, October 1, 2018.
Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Takes Leap Forward
The United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) took a big step forward in the month of September, with nine nations signing the treaty and five depositing their instruments of ratification.
Angola, Antigua & Barbuda, Benin, Brunei, Guinea-Bissau, Myanmar, St. Lucia, Seychelles, and Timor-Leste all signed the treaty last month. Cook Islands, Gambia, Samoa, San Marino, and Vanuatu ratified or acceded to the treaty. This brings the total to 69 signatures and 19 ratifications. The TPNW will enter into force 90 days after the 50th nation deposits its ratification with the UN.
To stay up to date on the TPNW’s process, click here.
Radioactivity Found in Communities Around Nuclear Weapon Sites
Studies by Marco Kaltofen, a nuclear forensics expert and a professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, show that invisible radioactive particles of plutonium, thorium and uranium are showing up in household dust, automotive air cleaners and along hiking trails outside the factories and laboratories that for half a century contributed to the United States’ stockpile of nuclear weapons.
Kaltofen collected samples from communities outside three nuclear sites across the nation and found a wide variation of particle sizes. He said they could deliver lifelong doses that exceed allowable federal standards if inhaled.
Ralph Vartabedian, “Hidden Danger: Radioactive Dust Is Found in Communities Around Nuclear Weapons Sites,” Los Angeles Times, September 28, 2018.
War and Peace
North and South Korea Begin Removing Mines from Demilitarized Zone
On October 1, troops from North and South Korea began removing mines from the demilitarized zone (DMZ). The activities are related to a recent agreement between the two nations when South Korean President Moon Jae-in visited Pyongyang last month. President Moon said that the military deals agreed to in Pyongyang will “end all hostile acts on land, sea and sky between South and North Korea.”
Hyung-Jin Kim, “2 Koreas Begin Removing DMZ Mines to Ease Military Tensions,” Associated Press, October 1, 2018.
Japan Has Enough Material for Large Nuclear Arsenal
Thirty years ago, Japan began a project to build a nuclear “recycling” plant in Rokkasho that would turn nuclear waste into nuclear fuel. Today, $27 billion later, the plant is still not functional. Moreover, the Fukushima disaster in 2011 has significantly lessened Japan’s use of nuclear energy; only nine of the nation’s 35 nuclear reactors are currently operating. Of these nine, only four are capable of using the new type of fuel.
Over the past 30 years, Japan has amassed a stockpile of 47 metric tons of plutonium. Japan’s neighbors, particularly China and North Korea, are suspicious of Japan’s motives in possessing this quantity of plutonium, which is enough to make about 6,000 nuclear weapons. Japan claims that the plutonium is in a form that makes it difficult to convert to weapons.
Motoko Rich, “Japan Has Enough Nuclear Material to Build an Arsenal. Its Plan: Recycle,” The New York Times, September 22, 2018.
Obama Considered Attacking North Korea in 2016
According to Bob Woodward’s new book Fear: Trump in the White House, President Obama considered a pre-emptive attack on North Korea in 2016 following that country’s fifth nuclear weapon test.
“Even with his intense desire to avoid a war, Obama decided the time had come to consider whether the North Korean nuclear threat could be eliminated in a surgical military strike,” Woodward wrote. He continued, “The Pentagon reported that the only way ‘to locate and destroy — with complete certainty — all components of North Korea’s nuclear program’ was through a ground invasion. A ground invasion would trigger a North Korean response, likely with a nuclear weapon.”
Jesse Johnson, “Obama Weighed Pre-Emptive Strike Against North Korea,” Japan Times, September 12, 2018.
Alternative Nuclear Posture Review
Global Zero has published a new report that argues that the United States should adopt a deterrence-only approach to nuclear weapons, and phase out the land-based leg of the nuclear triad.
To read Global Zero’s new report, click here.
The Future of the Iran Nuclear Deal
On September 12, NAPF Deputy Director Rick Wayman gave a talk at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics entitled “The Future of the Iran Nuclear Deal.”
Wayman looks at the deal’s history and the broader foreign policy implications of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the deal — violating the agreement between the United States, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the European Union and Iran.
An audio file of the talk is available from Salt Lake City radio station KCPW.
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 Foundation’s 35th 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. NAPF has worked closely with ICAN as a Partner Organization since ICAN’s inception in 2007.
The event will take place in Santa Barbara, California. For more information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities, click here or call the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation at +1 805-965-3443.
Women Waging Peace
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has launched a new online campaign highlighting 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 second profile features Cynthia Lazaroff, a U.S.-Russian relations expert and an award-winning documentary filmmaker.
Click here to read our interview with Cynthia.
Nukes Are Nuts Stickers
We just got some new stickers in stock and are eager to share them with you! These 3″x3″ vinyl stickers are perfect for laptops, water bottles, or wherever you want to get across the message that nukes are nuts.
For a limited time, we’re offering up to 15 free stickers per person, including free postage within the United States. Click here to place your order. Be sure to check out our books, t-shirts, and tote bags while you’re at our online store!
For larger quantities, or if you are located outside the United States, please email email@example.com.
In the Shadow of the Bomb: Poems of Survival
NAPF President David Krieger has published a new book of poetry entitled In the Shadow of the Bomb: Poems of Survival. In his introduction to the book, Krieger writes, “Of what value are poems in the face of weapons of annihilation? Poetry can penetrate our hearts, bring beauty into our lives, awaken our passion, and present us with flashes of truth. Weapons of annihilation can only destroy — our hearts, beauty, passion, and truth.”
Click here to order your copy from the NAPF Peace Store.
Take a Moment to Say Thank You
In August, the California State Legislature passed an historic resolution calling on the United States to embrace the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, to make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of our national security policy, and to spearhead a global effort to prevent nuclear war.
Will you take a moment today to sign our note of thanks to California State Assemblymember Monique Limón, the author of this outstanding resolution? By introducing the resolution, which passed overwhelmingly, she has set a noble standard for other state legislators around the United States.
Click here to add your name to the thank-you note to Asm. Limón.
“If I have to recapitulate in a few words what I feel is the most important commandment for our generation, it is to fight indifference. Whatever happened, happened not only because the killer killed, but because the world was indifferent.”
— Elie Wiesel, the 1986 Nobel Peace Laureate. This quote appears in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, which is available to purchase in the NAPF Peace Store.
“He wrote me beautiful letters. And they are great letters. We fell in love.”
— U.S. President Donald Trump, speaking at a rally about his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“Investments in nuclear weapons are irresponsible. BNP Paribas is fueling the arms race by using its customers’ money to finance their potential death. That has to stop.”
— Martin Hinrichs of ICAN Germany, speaking about the billions of dollars in financing that the bank BNP Paribas provides to companies that produce nuclear weapons.