It was President Dwight Eisenhower who said, “I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.”
The citizens of America and Russia want peace, including disarming the two largest nuclear weapons arsenals in the world. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin must remember this June 16 when they meet at the summit in Geneva and beyond.
The summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un comes near the anniversary of one of President John F. Kennedy’s most famous speeches. JFK, in a 1963 commencement address at American University, proposed to the Soviet Union ending nuclear weapons testing.
If Trump and Kim are wise, they will follow up on JFK’s test ban proposal to strengthen their own peace effort.
Let’s begin with the fact that North Korea has just dismantled its nuclear test site. Why not take the next step and end all nuclear testing forever on the Korean peninsula and beyond.
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.
The Republican-led Senate has the power to ratify the test ban treaty. It can finish a journey started by one of their own, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who believed that ending testing was a step toward global disarmament. Ike did not want Americans to have carry the expensive burden of nukes forever.
Americans do need to pay more attention to nuclear weapons (“Presidential stakes are high for nuclear arsenal,” Editorial, May 25), especially as each citizen carries the heavy burden of their cost. Estimates have the United States spending $1 trillion over the next three decades on our nuclear arsenal.
President Obama makes a historic visit to Hiroshima, Japan this week. He is the first sitting president of the United States to visit the site of the first atomic bomb dropped on Japan during World War II. The threat of this ultimate weapon of mass destruction has loomed over mankind ever since the war. Leading the charge today for nuclear disarmament is a group called Global Zero.
I recently interviewed Mary Popeo, an activist who started the Boston chapter of Global Zero. She talks about getting the group started, what role they will play in this year’s presidential election, and how you can get involved.
Recently, a college student in Boston asked, “How can we get young people interested in nuke disarmament?” As a presidential election year is upon us, eliminating nuclear weapons should be taking center stage as a campaign issue.
Youth, after all, have the most at stake when it comes to nukes. For it is they who will be paying for these weapons of mass destruction for years to come. And it is an expensive tab.
While there has been much focus on the Iranian nuclear deal, we cannot forget about the nations that have nuclear weapons. Progress on global nuclear disarmament is stalled. That is because there is no treaty in force preventing new nuclear testing.
It’s not well known that Israel, Iran and the United States have all signed a nuclear arms control treaty. It’s the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans all nuclear test explosions.
Israel, Iran and the U.S. also host detection stations to make sure no country cheats this treaty. These are stations that detect seismic activity or radioactive particles that would signal a nuclear weapons explosion. This international monitoring system is meant to catch any country that tries to do secret nuclear tests in violation of the CTBT.