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Nuclear Weapons

Beyond Nuclear advocates for the elimination of all nuclear weapons and argues that removing them can only make us safer, not more vulnerable. The expansion of commercial nuclear power across the globe only increases the chance that more nuclear weapons will be built and is counterproductive to disarmament.

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Tuesday
Nov142017

Watch a recording of today's U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on presidential authority to launch a nuclear first strike

Monday
Nov132017

John Oliver Is Worried Trump’s Kim Jong Un Tweet May Cause ‘a Nuclear Apocalypse’

As reported by The Daily Beast:

“Now, as for the president,” Oliver continued, “he’s been overseas all week, which should have been relaxing for the rest of us—until this happened last night.”

Oliver then threw to a tweet from @realDonaldTrump, the online alias of the biggest troll in Twitterville: the 45th president of the United States.

Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!

Sunday
Nov122017

Take Action: Tuesday Hearing on Presidential Nuclear Authority

Our friend, colleagues, and Alliance for Nuclear Accountability coalition partners, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, has issued the following alert:

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will hold an historic hearing this Tuesday, November 14, on the President’s authority to unilaterally choose to use nuclear weapons. According to Sen. Corker, this will be the first time since 1976 that the committee has examined the authority and process for using nuclear weapons.

You read that right: neither the Senate Foreign Relations Committee nor the House Foreign Affairs Committee have considered this vital issue in 41 years!

You are receiving this message because you have a Senator on the Foreign Relations Committee. It is vital that you contact your Senator immediately and ask her/him to attend Tuesday’s hearing and ask important questions.

You can reach your Senator’s office by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

You can also click here to send your Senator a message electronically.

Here are some points that we encourage you to make while contacting your Senator:

  1. The use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances would be unacceptable. 159 nations have signed on to a declaration that “it is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances.”
  2. Pope Francis just declared that even the possession of nuclear weapons “is to be firmly condemned.” You can read the full statement by Pope Francis here.
  3. The International Committee of the Red Cross has stated that there are no effective means of assisting survivors in the aftermath of a nuclear detonation.
  4. Congress currently has no say in whether a President can use nuclear weapons. The U.S. President can decide to launch nuclear weapons at any time, for any reason, without consulting Congress. Senate Bill 200, currently pending in the Foreign Relations Committee, would change that.

Please take a couple of minutes today to contact your Senator. We simply cannot miss this opportunity to have these issues raised in the U.S. Senate.

TAKE ACTION!

Friday
Nov102017

Pope Francis address today, calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons

Our friend, colleague, and Alliance for Nuclear Accountability coalition partner, Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, just sent the following message:

Here is the address that Pope Francis delivered today. I had the honor of greeting him personally today following his remarks.

https://www.wagingpeace.org/address-holiness-pope-francis/

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis

To participants in the international symposium “Prospects for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament,” sponsored by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

10 November 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I offer a cordial welcome to each of you and I express my deep gratitude for your presence here and your work in the service of the common good. I thank Cardinal Turkson for his greeting and introduction.

In this Symposium, you have met to discuss issues that are critical both in themselves and in the light of the complex political challenges of the current international scene, marked as it is by a climate of instability and conflict. A certain pessimism might make us think that “prospects for a world free from nuclear arms and for integral disarmament,” the theme of your meeting, appear increasingly remote. Indeed, the escalation of the arms race continues unabated and the price of modernizing and developing weaponry, not only nuclear weapons, represents a considerable expense for nations. As a result, the real priorities facing our human family, such as the fight against poverty, the promotion of peace, the undertaking of educational, ecological and healthcare projects, and the development of human rights, are relegated to second place (cf. Message to the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, 7 December 2014).

Nor can we fail to be genuinely concerned by the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects of any employment of nuclear devices. If we also take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned. For they exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict but the entire human race.  International relations cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation, and the parading of stockpiles of arms. Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity. Essential in this regard is the witness given by the Hibakusha, the survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, together with other victims of nuclear arms testing. May their prophetic voice serve as a warning, above all for coming generations!

Furthermore, weapons that result in the destruction of the human race are senseless even from a tactical standpoint. For that matter, while true science is always at the service of humanity, in our time we are increasingly troubled by the misuse of certain projects originally conceived for a good cause. Suffice it to note that nuclear technologies are now spreading, also through digital communications, and that the instruments of international law have not prevented new states from joining those already in possession of nuclear weapons. The resulting scenarios are deeply disturbing if we consider the challenges of contemporary geopolitics, like terrorism or asymmetric warfare.

At the same time, a healthy realism continues to shine a light of hope on our unruly world. Recently, for example, in a historic vote at the United Nations, the majority of the members of the international community determined that nuclear weapons are not only immoral, but must also be considered an illegal means of warfare. This decision filled a significant juridical lacuna, inasmuch as chemical weapons,  biological weapons, anti-human mines and cluster bombs are all expressly prohibited by international conventions. Even more important is the fact that it was mainly the result of a “humanitarian initiative” sponsored by a significant alliance between civil society, states, international organizations, churches, academies and groups of experts.

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio of Pope Paul VI. That Encyclical, in developing the Christian concept of the person, set forth the notion of integral human development and proposed it as “the new name of peace.” In this memorable and still timely document, the Pope stated succinctly that “development cannot be restricted to economic growth alone. To be authentic, it must be integral; it must foster the development of each man and of the whole man” (No. 14).

We need, then, to reject the culture of waste and to care for individuals and peoples laboring under painful disparities through patient efforts to favor processes of solidarity over selfish and contingent interests. This also entails integrating the individual and the social dimensions through the application of the principle of subsidiarity, encouraging the contribution of all, as individuals and as groups. Lastly, there is a need to promote human beings in the indissoluble unity of soul and body, of contemplation and action.

In this way, progress that is both effective and inclusive can achieve the utopia of a world free of deadly instruments of aggression, contrary to the criticism of those who consider idealistic any process of dismantling arsenals. The teaching of John XXIII remains ever valid. In pointing to the goal of an integral disarmament, he stated: “Unless this process of disarmament be thoroughgoing and complete, and reach men’s very souls, it is impossible to stop the arms race, or to reduce armaments, or – and this is the main thing – ultimately to abolish them entirely” (Pacem in Terris, 11 April 1963).

The Church does not tire of offering the world this wisdom and the actions it inspires, conscious that integral development is the beneficial path that the human family is called to travel. I encourage you to carry forward this activity with patience and constancy, in the trust that the Lord is ever at our side. May he bless each of you and your efforts in the service of justice and peace.

Wednesday
Nov082017

U.S. Sen. Corker to hold hearing on president's nuclear weapons authority

As reported by The Hill:

“A number of members both on and off our committee have raised questions about the authorities of the legislative and executive branches with respect to war making, the use of nuclear weapons, and conducting foreign policy overall,” Corker said in a statement announcing the Nov. 14 hearing.

“This continues a series of hearings to examine these issues and will be the first time since 1976 that this committee or our House counterparts have looked specifically at the authority and process for using U.S. nuclear weapons,” he continued. “This discussion is long overdue, and we look forward to examining this critical issue.”

The Markey-Lieu bill would require congressional authorization before the U.S. could launch nuclear weapons. 

The hearing witness list, as posted at the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee website, includes:

  1. General C. Robert Kehler, USAF (Ret.)
    Former Commander
    United States Strategic Command
    Alexandria, VA
  2. Dr. Peter D. Feaver
    Professor of Political Science and Public Policy
    Duke University
    Durham, NC
  3. The Honorable Brian McKeon
    Former Acting Under Secretary for Policy
    U.S. Department of Defense
    Washington, D.C.

CNBC has also reported on this story, including the start time for the hearing -- shortly after 10am Eastern.