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Nuclear Proliferation

Nuclear power was the failed answer to the horrors of the atomic bomb - the so-called "Peaceful Atom." However, the two technologies are inextricably linked. Countries such as India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea clandestinely developed nuclear weapons using the infrastructure, technology and know-how of their "civilian" nuclear programs. Contained expansion of nuclear power across the globe only increases the chances of nuclear weapons development and is counterproductive to disarmament.

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Thursday
Oct052017

Peace Action: Defend diplomacy with Iran, support diplomacy with North Korea

Action alert from Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs, of Peace Action:

Urge Congress to speak up! Defend the Iran nuclear deal and support diplomacy with North Korea

Things are getting serious.

As President Trump continues insulting and threatening North Korea, undermining hopes for diplomacy and increasing the risk of war, he also appears poised to abandon the hard-won Iran nuclear agreement. As you know, that would be a disaster in its own right, but it would also be a disaster for the prospects of ever negotiating our way out of the crisis with North Korea.

The Iran agreement has been doing exactly what it was meant to: ensuring Iran’s paths to the bomb are all blocked. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) [1], the European Union [2], and over 80 nuclear policy experts [3] all say that Iran is adhering to the agreement. Even some of Trump’s top advisors Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford [4] and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis [5] agree the agreement is worth keeping.

Nonetheless, Trump has indicated he may decertify Iran’s compliance with the agreement on or before the October 15th deadline regardless of whether there is material evidence of a violation. That would then line up a vote in Congress on whether or not to reimpose sanctions on Iran, and that’s where you come in. Today, I need you to email your Members of Congress to urge them to defend diplomacy with Iran and support diplomacy with North Korea.

If Trump backs out of the Iran agreement, that would put war with Iran back on the table. At the same time, it would send a terrible signal to North Korea about the U.S.’s ability to stand by its international commitments, which could unravel any hopes of negotiating a similar agreement to scale back North Korea’s nuclear program.

If diplomacy with North Korea is taken off the table completely, war on the Korean Peninsula also becomes much more likely. To ensure the door to diplomacy stays open, and to prevent Trump from marching us into one or even two new wars of choice, members of Congress need to be speaking out in support of diplomacy with Iran and North Korea. That’s why I need you to email your Members of Congress today and ask them to protect the Iran agreement and call for direct talks with North Korea.

If Trump does decertify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, it will still be up to Congress to reimpose sanctions, and there are some indications that such a vote could be close. On top of Trump’s key military advisors urging him to stick with the agreement, Congressional Republicans are starting to think twice about walking away from the deal. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) [6] said he thinks Trump should “enforce the hell out of” the deal rather than back out of it. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said “I don’t think we should relieve Iran of its obligations.”

If stopping Trump from destroying the Iran agreement comes down to a vote in Congress, as it well may, we’re going to need all the votes we can get. If we hope to pressure the Trump administration to get serious about negotiating with North Korea, we’re going to need as many members of Congress speaking out as we can get.

Your activism around the Iran nuclear agreement was crucial to getting the deal through Congress and preventing a war. Now we need your activism again to protect that achievement and push for a similar agreement with North Korea. Email your Members of Congress Today and ask them to defend diplomacy with Iran and demand diplomacy with North Korea.

Humbly for peace,

Paul Kawika Martin
Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs
Peace Action

References:

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-31/iran-sticking-to-nuclear-agreement-with-powers-iaea-reports

[2] https://www.armscontrol.org/blog/2017-09-21/p51-iran-nuclear-deal-alert-september-2017

[3] https://www.armscontrol.org/pressroom/2017-09/more-80-nuclear-nonproliferation-experts-reaffirm-support-iran-nuclear-deal

[4] http://thehill.com/policy/defense/352463-top-general-says-iran-complying-with-nuclear-deal

[5] http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/03/jim-mattis-iran-deal-243411

[6] http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/03/trump-iran-nuclear-deal-republicans-243375

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Friday
Sep222017

If Trump kills the Iran deal, he may give the world another Rocket Man

Jeffrey Lewis, a scholar at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, published this column in the Washington Post.
Friday
Sep222017

Rouhani Lashes Back at Trump, as Iran Unveils New Missile

As reported by the New York Times.

It is important to note that not only the UN IAEA, but also the U.S. government (as signed by President Trump himself!), have acknowledged that Iran is abiding by the Nuclear Deal.

Thursday
Aug032017

US Military Eyes New Mini-Nukes for 21st-Century Deterrence

As reported by DefenseOne.

As the article reports:

But Congressional critics who say the proliferation of such weapons would bring less, not more security.

“I have no doubt the proposal to research low-yield nuclear weapons is just the first step to actually building them,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told Roll Call in February.  “I’ve fought against such reckless efforts in the past and will do so again, with every tool at my disposal.”

She also sounded a skeptical note against ‘tactical nukes in general. “There’s no such thing as limited nuclear war, and for the Pentagon’s advisory board to even suggest such a thing is deeply troubling.”

Describing the difference in blast effects from so-called "mini-nukes" and nuclear weapons orders of magnitude more powerful, the article reports:

The Air Force currently has gravity bombs that either have or can be set to low yields: less than  20 kilotons. Such a bomb dropped in the center of Washington, D.C., wouldn’t even directly affect Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. But a Minuteman III missile tipped with a 300-kiloton warhead would destroy downtown Washington and cause third-degree burns into Virginia and Maryland. [emphasis added]

But stating that areas just blocks outside the blast zone "wouldn't even [be] directly affected[ed]" ignores such impacts as conflagrations that would erupt and spread over a wide area, hazardous radioactive fallout blowing on the wind and flowing with the water, and the obliteration of the seats of each of our three branches of federal government -- the White House, the Capitol, and the Supreme Court. Of course, the entire country would be affected from the detonation of even a so-called "mini-nuke" in such a location! In fact, the entire world could well be affected, especially considering the potential U.S. response(s) to such an attack!

Tuesday
Jul042017

Trump warns China U.S. could go it along on pressuring North Korea after apparent ICBM test launch

As reported by the New York Times, Donald J. Trump warned Chinese President Xi that the U.S. could strike out alone in pressuring North Korea, after yesterday's missile launch that many analysts fear was a successful test of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), capable of reaching Alaska.

The U.S., China, and North Korea each have nuclear weapons arsenals (although the U.S.'s dwarfs the other two, especially North Korea's), and itself regularly has tested ICBMs for decades (as from Vandenberg Air Force Base in CA, to the Marshall Islands).