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.
President Donald Trump can be a peacemaker and lead the world in eliminating nuclear weapons. Or he could lead us into a dangerous nuclear arms race.
If he looks to history, the president will see that mutual disarmament can be in our best interests. This year marks the 200th anniversary of a disarmament agreement that unfolded in Cleveland’s own backyard.
At a press conference President Eisenhower stated, “the concept of atomic war is too horrible for man to endure and to practice, and he must find some way out of it.” In “The Road to Peace” read about President Eisenhower and President Kennedy’s pursuit of a nuclear test ban treaty, a first step in nuclear arms control with the Soviet Union. The attempt to control nuclear weaponry came at a time when the Soviet Union and the United States were engaged in the Cold War. Tensions were running high.
A lesser-known arms control measure is also discussed in the book, how the Soviet Union and the United States actually agreed to ban nuclear weapons from at least one part of the globe in 1959. Also read how a diplomat from Mexico led the struggle to create a nuclear weapons free zone in Latin America in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
“The Road to Peace” includes the struggles between America and Britain over the Great Lakes and the Oregon territory. The now peaceful border of the United States and Canada did not come about easily. Read about diplomatic initiatives after World War I when the great hope of mankind was an end to warfare. Also, there is a concluding section on the INF and Open Skies treaties. Featured in “The Road to Peace” are notable peace efforts by extraordinary statesmen who served in government here and abroad from 1812 to the 20th century. Lessons of diplomacy and cooperation between countries are applicable to today’s conflicts.
Table of Contents
1. War and Peace on the Great Lakes
2. The Oregon Treaty
3. Peace After the Great War?
4. Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
5. The First Nuclear Weapon Free Zones
Epilogue- The INF and Open Skies Treaties