1. Continued reliance on nuclear weapons by powerful countries will lead to nuclear proliferation and increase the possibility of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups.
    1. Terrorists cannot be deterred from using nuclear weapons. Terrorist groups do not have a fixed territory, and it isn’t credible to threaten retaliation against a group that you cannot locate.
  2. A terrorist use of nuclear weapons against a powerful country could destroy cities and have many other detrimental effects on the social, political and economic fabric of the state.
  3. Graham Allison, an expert at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, thinks there is a 50 percent chance of terrorists using nuclear weapons over the next ten years.
  4. The only way to assure that terrorists do not obtain and use nuclear weapons is to dramatically reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world and bring all nuclear weapons and the material to make them under strict international control.
  5. To achieve this goal will require US leadership. If the US does not lead, there is no incentive for Russia to substantially reduce its arsenal, and consequently other states will not join in.
  6. US leadership for a nuclear weapons free world is very much in its own interest – to assure that terrorists do not obtain the only weapons that could inflict major damage on the US population, and to assure that major nuclear states do not use nuclear weapons by accident or design.
  7. A further reason that the US should provide leadership for a nuclear weapons-free world is that the US was the first country to develop nuclear weapons and to use them.
  8. An even more important reason for US leadership for a nuclear weapons-free world is to move toward creating a safe and sustainable world of opportunities for our children, grandchildren and generations to follow.
  9. Already some US leaders have seen the need for US leadership for a nuclear weapons free world and attempted to exercise such leadership. Ronald Reagan did so at a summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1986. Former high-level US officials Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, William Perry and Sam Nunn are calling now for such leadership.

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.