If a frog is dropped into a pot of scalding water, it will sense the danger and immediately jump out. However, if a frog is dropped into a pot of tepid water and the water temperature is gradually raised, the frog will succumb rather than trying to escape.
We humans are like the frog in this story. At the onset of the Nuclear Age we were dropped into a pot of tepid water and here we sit as the temperature of the water rises. ******
“We cannot bear the thought that human life can disappear from this planet, least of all, by the action of man. And yet the impossible, the unimaginable, has now become possible. The future existence of the human species can no longer be guaranteed. The human species is now an endangered species.” -Sir Joseph Rotblat
“Nuclear weapons are the enemy of humanity. Indeed, they’re not weapons at all. They’re some species of biological time bombs whose effects transcend time and space, poisoning the earth and its inhabitants for generations to come.” -General George Lee Butler
The Rio Conference
When the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development convened in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, nuclear weapons – arguably the most serious threat to the human future – were not on the agenda. It seems surrealistic that the leaders of the world’s nations gathered in Rio de Janeiro could devote nearly two weeks to the subjects of the environment and sustainable development without addressing, or at least acknowledging, the dangers of nuclear weapons.
The Declaration issued from the Rio Conference contains 27 principles. None of them mention nuclear dangers, although one mentions warfare and one mentions peace. Principle 24 states: “Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.” Surely if warfare is destructive of the environment, nuclear warfare – if warfare would be an adequate way to conceptualize the extent of the devastation and annihilation caused by the use of nuclear weapons – would immeasurably aggravate the damage.
Nuclear warfare has the potential to destroy cities, countries, even humanity itself. Given the magnitude of the potential dangers of nuclear weapons, it is surprising that these dangers did not rise to the level of inclusion in the Rio Conference.
Principle 25 of the Rio Declaration states: “Peace, development and environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible.” While true, this principle also does not sound an alarm regarding the magnitude of danger inherent in the nuclear weapons policies of the states that possess these weapons.
One other principle of the Rio Declaration deserves mention. Principle 1 states: “Human beings are at the center of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.” Surely, this would include freedom from nuclear annihilation. Perhaps a corollary to this principle should be the oft-repeated statement of those who survived the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: “Nuclear weapons and human beings cannot co-exist.”
There are many possible explanations for why the Rio Conference did not take up the issue of nuclear weapons. Perhaps the delegates to the Rio Conference in 1992 had their hands full with other problems related to environment and sustainable development, of which there were many. Perhaps dealing with issues of nuclear dangers seemed too confrontational to the nuclear weapons states. Perhaps the organizers of the Rio Conference believed that nuclear weapons issues would be better dealt with in disarmament forums.
Whatever their reasons for leaving nuclear weapons and their dangers to humanity off the Rio agenda, the Conference failed to deal with what is arguably the most acute present danger to human survival, sustainable development and environmental security. When the Conference was held in 1992 the Nuclear Age, which was initiated by the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in World War II, was 47 years old. The temperature in the pot in which the frog is treading water had grown very warm indeed.
Nuclear Weapons: Warnings, Promises and Failure to Act
We are approaching the ten-year anniversary of the Rio Conference, and the water temperature has continued to rise. Not that there have not been warnings. Many of the greatest individuals of the 20th century have spoken out against nuclear weapons. The list is impressive: Albert Camus, Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, Albert Schweitzer, Jacques Cousteau, Mikhail Gorbachev, the XIVth Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Religious leaders, military leaders and political leaders have spoken out. Nobel Laureates have spoken out, but the frog still treads water as the temperature rises.
Since the Rio Conference, there have been a number of key events related to the elimination of nuclear weapons. At the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Treaty was extended indefinitely. At that time, the nuclear weapons states promised the completion of negotiations for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the early conclusion of negotiations for a ban on the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons, and “determined pursuit…of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goals of eliminating those weapons….”
We have learned, however, that the promises of the nuclear weapons states mean very little. A Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was completed, but has yet to be ratified by some key states, including the United States and China. Negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty have not yet gotten off the ground. And the “determined pursuit” promise has led only to systematic and progressive efforts to maintain a two-tier structure of nuclear weapon “have” and “have-not” states.
In 1996, the International Court of Justice considered the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons. The Court concluded that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be generally illegal, but could not decide whether or not it would be illegal if the very survival of a state were at stake. The Court did make clear, however, that there could be no legal threat or use if such use would not discriminate between soldiers and civilians or if such use would cause unnecessary suffering. It is difficult to imagine any possible use of nuclear weapons that would not violate these principles of international humanitarian law.
The Court was unanimous in concluding: “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.” The nuclear weapons states have largely ignored this strong and clear opinion of the highest court in the world.
In August 1996, the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, composed of a distinguished group of experts from throughout the world convened by the Australian government, issued its report. The Commission stated: “The proposition that nuclear weapons can be retained in perpetuity and never used – accidentally or by decision – defies credibility. The only complete defence is the elimination of nuclear weapons and assurance they will never be produced again.”
The Canberra Commission viewed the existing situation of a world divided into nuclear “haves” and “have-nots” as discriminatory, unstable and therefore unsustainable. They wrote: “Nuclear weapons are held by a handful of states which insist that these weapons provide unique security benefits, and yet reserve uniquely to themselves the right to own them. This situation is highly discriminatory and thus unstable; it cannot be sustained. The possession of nuclear weapons by any state is a constant stimulus to other states to acquire them.”
The Canberra Commission recommended a series of immediate steps: taking nuclear forces off alert; removal of warheads from delivery vehicles; ending deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons; ending nuclear testing; initiating negotiations to further reduce United States and Russian nuclear arsenals; and agreement amongst the nuclear weapons states of reciprocal no first use undertakings, and of a non-use undertaking by them in relation to the non-nuclear weapon states.
In December 1996, a group of some 60 retired generals and admirals from throughout the world issued a statement in which they said: “We, military professionals, who have devoted our lives to the national security of our countries and our peoples, are convinced that the continuing existence of nuclear weapons in the armories of nuclear powers, and the ever present threat of acquisition of these weapons by others, constitute a peril to global peace and security and to the safety and survival of the people we are dedicated to protect.” Among other urgently needed steps, the generals and admirals agreed that “long-term international nuclear policy must be based on the declared principle of continuous, complete and irrevocable elimination of nuclear weapons.”
In February 1998, 117 civilian leaders, including 47 past or present presidents and prime ministers, issued a statement calling the threat of nuclear conflict “intolerable,” and invoking a “moral imperative” for the elimination of nuclear weapons. They called, as had the Canberra Commission, for immediate steps to reduce nuclear dangers, including the development of “a plan for eventual implementation, achievement and enforcement of the distant but final goal of elimination.” They also called for consideration of a ban on the production and possession of large, long-range ballistic missiles.
“The world is not condemned to live forever with threats of nuclear conflict, or the anxious fragile peace imposed by nuclear deterrence,” the civilian leaders stated. “Such threats are intolerable and such a peace unworthy. The sheer destructiveness of nuclear weapons invokes a moral imperative for their elimination. That is our mandate. Let us begin.”
In May 1998, India demonstrated the unsustainability of the global nuclear balance by testing nuclear weapons with Pakistan following closely in India’s footsteps. Both countries demonstrated their nuclear capabilities, and held mass public demonstrations lauding the scientists and political leaders who had given them these new powers. South Asia suddenly became a flashpoint of nuclear danger.
In June 1998, the foreign ministers of eight middle power states (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden) expressed their concern for the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament and called for action by the nuclear weapons states. In a Joint Declaration issued in Dublin on June 9th, the foreign ministers called for a New Agenda to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world. They stated: “We can no longer remain complacent at the reluctance of the nuclear-weapon states and the three nuclear-weapons-capable states to take that fundamental and requisite step, namely a clear commitment to the speedy, final and total elimination of their nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons capability and we urge them to take that step now.”
More recently, at the 2000 Non-Proliferation Review Conference, the parties to the treaty, led by the middle power states calling for a New Agenda, agreed to 13 practical steps to further the goal of nuclear disarmament. Among the new promises made by the nuclear weapons states were “an unequivocal undertaking…to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals…” and a promise to preserve and strengthen the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty “as a cornerstone of strategic stability and as a basis for further reductions of strategic offensive weapons….” The nuclear weapons states have thus far shown no progress on the first promise, and the US is thwarting the second promise by threatening to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to deploy a National Missile Defense system.
Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been the preeminent military and economic power in the world. The United States is the leader of NATO and has the potential to lead the world to achieve the promises of eliminating nuclear weapons. The United States, however, has not demonstrated any inclination to lead in this direction. Through eight years of the Clinton administration, the United States made no further agreements toward achieving nuclear disarmament. In fact, under Clinton’s leadership the United States and Russia postponed the date to achieve the disarmament levels set forth in the START II agreement from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2007. Russian President Putin offered to reduce strategic nuclear arsenals in a START III agreement from START II levels of 3,500 to 1,500 or lower. Clinton failed to respond. He may be remembered as the President who had the greatest opportunity to end the nuclear weapons threat but lacked the vision and/or courage to do so.
Whereas Clinton may have lacked vision altogether in the area of nuclear disarmament, George Bush has a confused and dangerous vision. Bush sees the primary nuclear threat to the United States arising from so-called “rogue” nations such as Iran, Iraq and North Korea. He seeks to build a missile shield to protect the United States, its friends, allies and troops from a ballistic missile attack by such smaller hostile states. To do so, he would abrogate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the treaty the US promised to preserve and strengthen at the 2000 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. This has led to expressions of grave concern on the part of Russia, China and a number of US allies. US deployment of a National Missile Defense, as envisaged by Bush, could result in undermining the entire structure of arms control agreements that have been built up over many decades and initiate new arms races.
While Bush has also made more positive proposals for the unilateral reduction of the size of the US nuclear arsenal to the lowest level consistent with national security and for further de-alerting of the US nuclear arsenal, these proposals would provide a better basis for global stability if they were made in the context of multilateral agreements and were made irreversible. The US has also continued to develop a new nuclear warhead, the B61-11, a warhead claimed to be capable of earth penetration and bunker busting. It has a smaller yield and is presumably a more usable nuclear warhead. The US has also indicated in a 1997 Presidential Decision Directive (PDD 60) that it would use nuclear weapons in response to a chemical or biological weapons attack on the US, its troops or allies.
The bottom line is that the US and the other nuclear weapons states seem intent upon continuing to rely upon their nuclear weapons for the indefinite future, regardless of their promises made in the context of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the destructive effects on the prospects for global security resulting from their shortsighted policies.
The frog grows more lethargic as the water temperature rises.
Nuclear weapons have not been used in warfare since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This has led to the comforting illusion that they will never be used again. But as long as these weapons exist in the arsenals of the world’s nuclear weapons states, there remains the possibility that they will be used – by accident or design. So long as these weapons exist, they will also be a spur and incitement to the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other countries.
What is the likelihood that nuclear weapons will be used again in warfare? This is perhaps an impossible question to answer, but we know that the answer is not zero. We also know that relations between states can alter rapidly. Further, we know that there have been numerous instances in which states have considered using nuclear weapons or in which they have come close to accidental launches. One such incident occurred in 1995 when the Russians mistook a joint US-Norwegian rocket launch for an attack on their country. President Yeltsin, a man noted for excessive drinking, was awakened in the middle of the night to make the decision on whether or not to launch a retaliatory strike against the US. Yeltsin extended the time allotted to him to make the decision, and disaster was averted when it became clear that the missile was not aimed at Russia.
Nuclear weapons do not protect any country, and it makes no sense to endanger the security of the world in a futile attempt to provide security to a few countries. Therefore, nuclear weapons must be abolished. This goal is in accord with security interests, international law and the moral foundation of all religions.
Sustainable development presupposes protecting natural resources and the environment. The mining of uranium, the testing of nuclear weapons, and the ongoing problems of storing nuclear wastes present serious challenges to the environment and human health. The greatest challenge to sustainability, however, comes from the very existence of nuclear weapons, which pose a threat to humanity and all living things that surpasses other dangers. This threat must be addressed, and cannot be swept aside by those who otherwise express concern for the planet’s well being.
When the International Court of Justice rendered its opinion on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, the Court pointed out: “The destructive power of nuclear weapons cannot be contained in either space or time. They have the potential to destroy all civilization and the entire ecosystem of the planet.” In this way nuclear weapons are unique.
How Did the Frog Get Into the Pot?
The frog did not just jump into the pot. Someone dropped it in, someone with his own motivations. Likewise, the situation in which we now find ourselves with respect to nuclear weapons did not just occur. It was created and maintained by national leaders and others with their own motivations for wanting nuclear weapons and tolerating nuclear dangers.
The Nuclear Age began with reasonable intentions. Émigré scientists, refugees of Hitler’s policies in Germany, worried about the danger of Hitler developing a nuclear weapon and its implications for the war in Europe. Leo Szilard, a brilliant Hungarian scientist, convinced his friend Albert Einstein to sign a letter to President Roosevelt warning of this danger. The letter encouraged Roosevelt to initiate a project to explore the creation of weapons that would unlock the power of the atom. The project began slowly, but when the United States entered World War II it expanded dramatically. Thousands of scientists and engineers worked on the top-secret Manhattan Project that resulted in the creation of the world’s first atomic weapons.
Many of the scientists who had worked on creating the atomic bomb, led by Leo Szilard, tried to convince Roosevelt and then Truman that the bomb should not be used against Japan. A petition to President Truman drafted by Szilard and signed by 68 members of the Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago, stated: “The development of atomic power will provide the nations with new weapons of destruction. The atomic bombs at our disposal represent only the first step in this direction, and there is almost no limit to the destructive power which will become available in the course of their future development. Thus a nation which sets the precedent of using these newly liberated forces of nature for purposes of destruction may have to bear the responsibility of opening the door to an era of devastation on an unimaginable scale.”
The petition to President Truman was dated July 17, 1945, less than three weeks before the first atomic weapon was used at Hiroshima. When President Truman heard of the bomb’s “success” at Hiroshima, he said, “This is the greatest thing in history.” Truman believed that it might take the Soviet Union 20 years to develop an atomic bomb. It took them four years. From that point until the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 the world experienced a nuclear arms race that would result in deployment of tens of thousands of ever more powerful nuclear weapons capable of destroying most life on Earth.
Understanding the Frog’s Malaise
The first thing that is necessary to understand about our present situation is that there is not just one frog in the pot. We are all in a nuclear cauldron, potentially sharing a common tragic fate. Some have already died – the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the uranium miners, the victims of nuclear experiments, the downwinders of nuclear tests, the soldiers and indigenous peoples deliberately exposed to nuclear tests. There will also be countless future generations that will pay the price — in genetic mutations, deformities, cancers and leukemias — of the radioactive legacy of preparing for nuclear war.
The second thing necessary to understand is that those who have kept the frog in the pot are able to ignore the dangers to the frog so long as their goals are achieved. Many politicians, military leaders and academics believe that nuclear weapons make them more secure. In many respects, they do not believe that they are in the pot with the rest of us or, if they do, they believe that their personal gain outweighs the risks of disaster. They are true believers and they have constructed deeply held myths, which they have perpetuated to support their recklessness.
The third thing necessary to understand is that there is no technological fix to the frog’s dilemma. No fancy umbrella over the pot will protect the frog from demise. The nuclear dilemma will not be resolved by a missile shield to protect against so-called “rogue” nations. Not only is it unlikely that a missile shield could ever be effective, but it is a way for certain countries to continue to rely upon nuclear weapons. A US missile shield will also be guaranteed to halt progress on nuclear disarmament with Russia and lead to new nuclear arms races in Asia. It is a costly and dangerous approach, which will decrease rather than increase security from nuclear dangers.
What Keeps the Frog in the Pot?
It was more than an oversight that nuclear weapons issues were not on the agenda at the Rio Conference, the world’s most significant conference for environment and sustainable development. Keeping the frog in the pot has been a matter of policy for the nuclear weapons states, and this policy has not been effectively challenged.
If the frog continues treading water as the temperature rises, it will eventually die. Why does the frog fail to take action to save itself while the water temperature rises? If we can ascribe to the frog some human reasoning skills and other human characteristics, the following may be some of the principal factors that explain its failure to act, and also ours.
Ignorance. The frog may fail to recognize the dilemma. It may be unable to predict the consequences of being in water in which the temperature is steadily rising.
Complacency. The frog may feel comfortable in the warming water. It may believe that because nothing bad has happened yet, nothing bad will happen in the future.
Deference to Authority. The frog may believe that others are in control of the thermostat and that it has no power to change the conditions in which it finds itself.
Sense of Powerlessness. The frog may fail to realize its own power to affect change, and believe that there is nothing it can do to improve its situation.
Fear. The frog may have concluded that, although there are dangers in the pot, the dangers outside the pot are even greater. Thus, it fails to take action, even though it could do so.
Economic Advantage. The frog may believe that there are greater short-term rewards for staying in the pot than jumping out.
Conformity. The frog may see other frogs treading water in the pot and not want to appear different by sounding an alarm or acting on its own initiative.
Marginalization. The frog may have witnessed other frogs attempt to raise warnings or jump out, and seen them marginalized and ignored by the other frogs.
Technological Optimism. The frog may understand that there is a problem that could lead to its demise, but believe that it is not necessary to act because someone will find a technological solution.
Tyranny of Experts. Even though the frog may believe it is in danger, the experts may provide a comforting assessment that makes the frog doubt its own wisdom.
Turning Down the Heat
There are a number of important steps that can be taken to turn down the heat on nuclear dangers. Proposals for moving forward have been set forth in the statement of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, in the statements of the generals and admirals and the civilian leaders, and in the 13 Practical Steps for Nuclear Disarmament set forth in the 2000 Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Turning down the heat on nuclear dangers is primarily a question of political will. Without political will progress will continue to be slow to non-existent. With political will to reduce nuclear dangers and achieve a nuclear weapons free world, important steps can be taken that would rapidly improve global security, including the following actions:
1. De-alert all nuclear weapons and de-couple all nuclear warheads from their delivery vehicles.
2. Declare policies of No First Use of nuclear weapons against other nuclear weapons states and policies of No Use against non-nuclear weapons states.
3. Establish international accounting and control systems for all nuclear weapons and weapons-grade nuclear materials.
4. Reaffirm the commitments to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and cease efforts to violate that Treaty by the deployment of national or theater missile defenses, and cease the militarization of space.
5. Sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, cease laboratory and subcritical nuclear tests designed to modernize and improve nuclear weapons systems, cease construction of Megajoule in France and the National Ignition Facility in the US and end research programs that could lead to the development of pure fusion weapons, and close the remaining nuclear test sites in Nevada and Novaya Zemlya.
6. Support existing nuclear weapons free zones, and establish new ones in the Middle East, Central Europe, North Asia, Central Asia and South Asia.
7. Commence good faith negotiations to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention requiring the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons, with provisions for effective verification and enforcement.
8. Publicly acknowledge the weaknesses and fallibilities of deterrence: that deterrence is only a theory and is clearly ineffective against nations whose leaders may be irrational or suicidal; nor can deterrence assure against accidents, misperceptions, miscalculations, or terrorists.
9. Publicly acknowledge the illegality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons under international law as stated by the International Court of Justice in its 1996 opinion, and further acknowledge the obligation under international law for good faith negotiations for nuclear disarmament in all its aspects.
10. Publicly acknowledge the immorality of threatening to annihilate millions, even hundreds of millions, of people in the name of national security.
11. Set forth a plan to complete the transition under international control and monitoring to zero nuclear weapons by 2020, with agreed upon levels of nuclear disarmament to be achieved by the NPT Review Conferences in 2005, 2010 and 2015.
12. Begin to reallocate the billions of dollars currently being spent annually for maintaining nuclear arsenals ($35 billion in the U.S. alone) to improving human health, education and welfare throughout the world.
Taking the Frog Out of the Pot
Those who put the frog into the pot are not likely to be the same ones to take the frog out. We need new leadership and, as Einstein warned, a new way of thinking. There is only one way out of the pot, and that is by cooperation on a global scale. Absent such cooperation and the leadership to attain it, further nuclear proliferation and the use of nuclear weapons by accident or design are inevitable.
Once the water in the pot has heated up, it is doubtful that the frog can get out of the pot by itself. The frog’s dilemma can only be resolved by getting it out of the pot or turning down the heat. To resolve the nuclear dilemma confronting humanity will require cooperation – cooperation among people, cooperation among countries. Currently the nuclear weapons states, led by the United States, are blocking that cooperation. That is why it is so essential for US citizens to press their government for leadership in achieving agreement for the verified elimination of nuclear weapons in all countries. It is also why the leadership of the middle power countries calling for effective nuclear disarmament is also so important.
The frog may need help getting out of the pot, but this help is unlikely to be forthcoming unless it asks for help. To end the nuclear threat to humanity requires all of us to raise our voices and demand the elimination of nuclear weapons.
A Final Word
Nuclear weapons are not weapons of war. They are devices that kill indiscriminately, and their use cannot be confined to soldiers in combat. Nor is their threat limited in time or place. It affects humanity across the globe and across time. This threat, along with the damage nuclear weapons have already done to the environment, will be our generation’s legacy to the future inhabitants of the planet – if we are able to keep the planet intact.
Nuclear weapons are the tools of fools and cowards. Those who promote these evil tools should be removed from leadership. They are the ones who have kept the frog in the pot and are manipulating the controls on the heat. They will stay in control until the people of this planet act in concert to change the rules, reach accords for cooperative and sustainable development, and end the nuclear weapons threat to humanity and all life.
The word croak has two meanings. One is the sound of a frog’s voice. The other is slang for “to die.” By recognizing the frog’s malaise and using our voices, we have the possibility to prevent the widespread death and destruction that will be the predictable result of continuing to base national security on the threat to use nuclear weapons. If we fail to recognize the seriousness of the frog’s malaise and fail to act on our own malaise, the result could be tragedy beyond imagination.
In 1955 Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein issued a manifesto signed by themselves and some of the greatest scientists of the time. In that manifesto, they stated: “There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge and wisdom. Shall we instead choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? We appeal, as human beings to human beings: remember your humanity and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death.” The choice is still before us.
*David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
Play a Role in Ending the Nuclear Weapons Threat
If you and others do nothing, humanity will eventually face a nuclear holocaust that in a worst case could end human life on Earth.
The nuclear weapons threat will not diminish or go away if good people who care about a sustainable human future do nothing. If you would like to play a role in ending the nuclear weapons threat to humanity, I encourage you to take these steps.
1. Educate yourself. A good place to begin is the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s web site: www.wagingpeace.org. At this web site you will find a wealth of information on nuclear dangers as well as ideas for action. At this site you can sign up as a free online participating member of the Foundation and receive the monthly e-newsletter, The Sunflower.
2. Educate others. Spread the word. Help your family and friends to realize the danger and lack of sustainability of some nations continuing to rely upon nuclear weapons. You can send information to others from the Foundation’s web site.
3. Take Action. Sign the Appeal to End the Nuclear Weapons Threat to Humanity, and ask others to sign it. You can do this online at the above web site. Encourage political leaders to support the elimination of nuclear weapons and to oppose abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty by the United States.
Appeal to End the Nuclear Weapons Threat to Humanity[This Appeal, initiated by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, has been signed by some of the world’s great peace leaders, including Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the XIVth Dailai Lama, and Queen Noor of Jordan. The Appeal has been signed by 37 Nobel Laureates, including 14 Nobel Peace Laureates.]
We cannot hide from the threat that nuclear weapons pose to humanity and all life. These are not ordinary weapons, but instruments of mass annihilation that could destroy civilization and end most life on Earth.
Nuclear weapons are morally and legally unjustifiable. They destroy indiscriminately – soldiers and civilians; men, women and children; the aged and the newly born; the healthy and the infirm.
The obligation to achieve nuclear disarmament “in all its aspects,” as unanimously affirmed by the International Court of Justice, is at the heart of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
More than ten years have now passed since the end of the Cold War, and yet nuclear weapons continue to cloud humanity’s future. The only way to assure that nuclear weapons will not be used again is to abolish them.
We, therefore, call upon the leaders of the nations of the world and, in particular, the leaders of the nuclear weapons states to act now for the benefit of all humanity by taking thefollowing steps:
De-alert all nuclear weapons and de-couple all nuclear warheads from their delivery vehicles.
Reaffirm commitments to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Commence good faith negotiations to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention requiring the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons, with provisions foreffective verification and enforcement.
Declare policies of No First Use of nuclear weapons against other nuclear weapons states and policies of No Use against non-nuclear weapons states.Reallocate resources from the tens of billions of dollars currently being spent for maintaining nuclear arsenals to improving human health, education and welfare throughout the world.
13 Practical Steps for Nuclear DisarmamentThe following text is excerpted from the 2000 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review ConferenceFinal Document.
The Conference agrees on the following practical steps for the systemic and progressive efforts to implement Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and paragraphs 3 and 4(c) of the 1995 Decision on “Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non Proliferation and Disarmament”:
1. The importance and urgency of signatures and ratifications, without delay and without conditions and in accordance with constitutional processes, to achieve the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
2. A moratorium on nuclear-weapon-test explosions or any other nuclear explosions pending entry into force of that Treaty.
3. The necessity of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in accordance with the statement of the Special Coordinator in 1995 and the mandatecontained therein, taking into consideration both nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation objectives. The Conference on Disarmament is urged to agree on a programme of work which includes the immediate commencement of negotiations on such a treaty with a view to their conclusion within five years.
4. The necessity of establishing in the Conference on Disarmament an appropriate subsidiary body with a mandate to deal with nuclear disarmament. The Conference on Disarmament is urged to agree on a programme of work which includes the immediate establishment of such a body.
5. The principle of irreversibility to apply to nuclear disarmament, nuclear and other related arms control and reduction measures.
6. An unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all States parties are committed under Article VI.
7. The early entry into force and full implementation of START II and the conclusion of START III as soon as possible while preserving and strengthening the ABM Treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability and as a basis for further reductions of strategic offensive weapons, in accordance with its provisions.
8. The completion and implementation of the Trilateral Initiative between the United States of America, the Russian Federation and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
9. Steps by all the nuclear-weapon States leading to nuclear disarmament in a way thatpromotes international stability, and based on the principle of undiminished security for all:
– Further efforts by the nuclear-weapon States to reduce their nuclear arsenals unilaterally.
– Increased transparency by the nuclear-weapon States with regard to the nuclear weapons capabilities and the implementation of agreements pursuant to Article VI and as a voluntary confidence-building measure to support further progress on nuclear disarmament.
– The further reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons, based on unilateral initiatives and as an integral part of the nuclear arms reduction and disarmament process.
– Concrete agreed measures to further reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons systems.
– A diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies to minimize the risk that theseweapons ever be used and to facilitate the process of their total elimination.
– The engagement as soon as appropriate for all the nuclear-weapon States in the process leading to the total elimination of their nuclear weapons.
10. Arrangements by all nuclear-weapon States to place, as soon as practicable, fissile material designated by each of them as no longer required for military purposes under IAEA or other relevant international verification and arrangements for the disposition of such material in peaceful purposes, to ensure that such material remains permanently outside of the military programmes.
11. Reaffirmation that the ultimate objective of the efforts of States in the disarmament process is general and complete disarmament under effective international control.
12. Regular reports, within the framework of the NPT strengthened review process, by all States parties on the implementation of Article VI and paragraph 4 (c) of the 1995 Decision on “Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”, and recalling the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice of 8 July 1996.
13. The further development of the verification capabilities that will be required to provideassurance of compliance with nuclear disarmament agreements for the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear-weapon-free world.