Baltimore Sun Oped: Rewind the Doomsday Clock with Diplomacy

It’s getting closer to midnight and the horrific possibility of nuclear war. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists just moved the Doomsday Clock forward 30 seconds to 11:58 — two minutes to the dreaded witching hour.The North Korean nuclear standoff and the lack of global progress toward disarmament has increased the alarm. President Donald Trump has not helped either, with his reckless tweets and threats to “totally destroy North Korea.”

Beatrice Fihn of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) warns, “The actions and policies of the nuclear-armed states are winding the Doomsday Clock towards midnight. We have been lucky to avoid conflict through intentional or accidental means, but recent posturing and the false alarms in Hawaii and Japan show our luck is about to run out if we don’t move quickly.”

The Doomsday Clock first appeared on the cover of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists magazine in 1947. It was a warning to the public that nuclear catastrophe could be near. The clock is meant to spur action to control the threat of nuclear weapons. The Bulletin’s recent action put the Doomsday Clock at the closest it’s been to to midnight since 1953 when the United States and Soviet Union tested hydrogen bombs. President Dwight Eisenhower sought nuclear arms control with his Atoms for Peace proposal late that year.

See my full commentary at The Baltimore Sun:

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The Hill Oped: A State of the Union that fights hunger

President Trump, in his 2018 State of the Union, can make a powerful statement for feeding the hungry. The president can set the tone for the whole year in taking action against hunger at home and abroad.

With famine threatening Yemen, South Sudan, the Congo, Nigeria and Somalia the leadership of the United States is desperately needed. History shows we can rise to the occasion.

When President Harry Truman made his 1946 State of the Union, a gathering storm of famine was looming over Europe. That continent was still reeling from the destruction of World War II.  Hunger was everywhere. In his address, delivered in writing to Congress, Truman said “It is imperative that we give all necessary aid within our means to the people who have borne the ravages of war.”

See my full commentary at The Hill

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NY Daily News Oped on Congo Hunger Emergency

President Trump’s vulgar comments about Africa are bad enough. Far more disturbing is his lack of action fighting world hunger, especially that continent’s famine threat.

The United Nations just sounded the alarm of famine threatening the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This war-torn nation has millions of displaced civilians, many of them farmers. Without the planting of crops, food supplies are nonexistent.

War victims in the Congo need the assistance of the UN World Food Program, UNICEF and other relief agencies. But funding is dangerously low. Starvation will claim many lives unless we act now.

See my full commentary at the NY Daily News:

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Share Dr. King’s belief in ‘three meals a day’ for the hungry

One of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dreams was a world free from hunger, which is vital for achieving equality among all peoples. We can celebrate Martin Luther King Day by joining his quest to end hunger at home and abroad.

As Dr. King proclaimed in his Nobel Peace Prize speech, “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”

See my full commentary at the Raleigh News & Observer:

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On Veteran’s Day, thoughts on building a lasting peace

Just eight days before the Nov. 11, 1918 Armistice ending World War I, my great uncle, Ira Pitzer, was killed during battle in France. His mother was overcome with grief for the rest of her life, a tragedy shared by so many families who have served in the military.

Veterans Day is to honor the service and sacrifice of the men and women in the armed forces. But Veterans Day also should mean something more, an inspiration to win a lasting peace.

As President Dwight Eisenhower once proclaimed on Veterans Day: “Let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”

See my full commentary in the Des Moines Register:

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Newsweek Oped on Halloween and Feeding the Hungry

The National Retail Federation says Halloween spending on candy and costumes will reach 9.1 billion this year.

To put that in perspective, the U.S. Food for Peace program, which fights world hunger, normally gets around 1.5 billion in funding a year.

The U.S. McGovern-Dole program, which feeds hungry school children overseas, might get 200 million a year from Congress.

Now imagine if even just a portion of that 9.1 billion from Halloween went to feed the hungry. The ghost of Halloween’s past tells us it can.

See my full commentary at Newsweek.

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Rohingya Victims Need Food, Peace and Justice

Co-authored with Brenna Gautam, a J.D. Candidate at Georgetown University Law Center.

Imagine waking up tomorrow and having to flee your home with only the food and supplies you can carry, not knowing when or if you will ever be able to return.

Your homeland could be a paradise: its climate dips into lush tropical temperatures, and its mountain ranges soar to beautiful heights. But as a displaced person, heavy rains and heat slow your escape, and the mountains become a death trap, stranding thousands of your people without food.

No matter how dangerous escape is, you can’t go back: there is only “fires, bullets, knives” from where you came. So, you keep forcing yourself forward, stumbling onwards for miles over rough terrain. There is no end in sight, and the hope of finding safety as a refugee beyond your own borders seems idealistic at best.

This situation is playing out in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Myanmar. Conflict has erupted in Mynamar’s Rakhine state. The government is driving out members of the Rohingya minority: more than 200 villages have been burned and refugees have recounted harrowing stories of mass murder and rape.

See the full column at the HuffPost.

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