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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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Thursday
Dec222016

BBC: "Donald Trump: US must greatly expand nuclear weapons"

Trump's alarming rhetoric regarding nuclear weapons didn't end on Election Day.

The BBC has just reported, in an article headlined "Donald Trump: U.S. Must Greatly Expand Nuclear Weapons," that the President-elect Tweeted on the morning of Dec. 22:

"The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes".

The BBC reported that Trump's Tweet came "hours after President Vladimir Putin said Russia needs to bolster its military nuclear potential."

Politico has also reported on these developments. Its article includes mention of Trump's call, during the campaign, for Japan, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea to be allowed to develop their own nuclear weapons arsenals.

Politico's coverage included the reported language from Putin:

Earlier Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on his country to "strenghten" its nuclear forces.

"We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems," he said, according to multiple news reports.

The BBC's coverage included this figure:

The US has 7,100 nuclear weapons and Russia has 7,300, according to the US nonpartisan Arms Control Association.

This accounts for the vast majority of nuclear weapons in the world. Quoted in a Huffington Post article, former U.S. Rep. John Tierney (D-MA), executive director of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, put it this way:

“Russia and the U.S. already own over 93 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenal ― more than enough to deter the other and destroy humanity. This is a time for both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to come to their senses. Billions of lives are at stake.”

Many hundreds or even thousands of those nuclear weapons in the U.S. and Russian arsenals remain on hair-trigger alert, 25 years after the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

The Washington Post's coverage of these developments includes this:

Trump’s suggestion would reverse a long-standing policy under both Republican and Democratic presidents to reduce the number and the role of nuclear weapons, said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms control Association. Russia and before it, the Soviet Union, hold a similar policy.

Since President George H.W. Bush’s administration, it has been U.S. policy not to build new nuclear warheads. Under President Obama, the policy has been not to pursue warheads with new military capabilities.

It has been estimated that modernizing the aging nuclear arsenal will cost $1 trillion over 20 years. Currently, the United States has just under 5,000 warheads in its active arsenal, and more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads.

“If Donald Trump is concerned about the rising costs of the F-35, he will be shocked by the skyrocketing costs of the current plan to modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal,” Kimball said. “Trump and his people need to explain the basis of his cryptic tweet. What does he mean by expand, and at what cost?”

The Washington Post has run a second article, entitled "Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin agree: Let's revive the nuclear arms race."

(See Beyond Nuclear's commentary and analysis of the Trump Transition Team's emerging nuclear weapons policies -- as well as its energy, climate, etc. policies -- in light of a leaked 72-item questionnaire it sent to the U.S. Department of Energy.) 

For some hopeful and welcome relief from Putin's and Trump's fearful and fearsome proposals, check out this moving Counterpunch article by John LaForge of Nukewatch Wisconsin, "In Sentencing Radical Pacifists, Judge Miles Lord Assailed 'Worship of the Bomb.'"

Wednesday
Dec142016

Senators Markey and Rubio Urge President-elect Trump to Strengthen Commitment to Alliances and Nonproliferation

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA)As posted at U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey's website:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Senators call for assurances of commitment to alliance institutions such as NATO, and firm opposition to the spread of nuclear weapons

Washington (December 14, 2016) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), members of the Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter today to President-elect Donald Trump calling on him to strengthen our system of alliances, including NATO and the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty, and long-standing nuclear nonproliferation policies. In the letter, the Senators stress the need to assure allies of America’s commitment to their defense and affirm opposition to the spread of nuclear weapons. By strengthening assurances of military protections to allies such as Japan and South Korea, the United States reduces incentives for allied nations to launch nuclear weapons programs of their own. [emphasis added]

“For more than seventy years, the United States has helped to construct and maintain the institutions of global peace,” write the senators in the letter to President-elect Trump. “Among the most important of these institutions are defensive alliances such as NATO, as well as multilateral treaties comprising the nonproliferation regime. We urge you to affirm that the United States will continue to support these institutions.” 

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

Thursday
Dec082016

Senator Markey Statement on Passing of Senator John Glenn

As posted on the website of U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA):

Washington (December 8, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement about the passing of astronaut and Senator John Glenn.

“John Glenn helped lift America’s gaze upwards to the constellation of possibilities – in space, in the halls of Congress, and in public life. From exploring the reaches of space, to working in the Senate for a nuclear weapons-free world, John Glenn was a hero for the entire planet. When I served in the House of Representatives, I was honored to work with him on Department of Energy oversight and nuclear nonproliferation. I am especially proud of having fought side-by-side – me in the House and him in the Senate – to try to stop the sale of nuclear material that contributed to a dangerous nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan. As a co-author of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act, John Glenn understood that the spread of nuclear weapons was one of the greatest threats facing the world, and he was indefatigable in his efforts to ensure history was on the side of peace, not annihilation. He was an inspiration and a pioneer, and he represented the very best of this nation.” (emphasis added)

Thursday
Oct132016

Stop new nuclear bomb – B61-12 – for Europe! Sign solidarity statement!

Marion Kuepker (GAAA, Gewaltfreie Aktion Atomwaffen Abschaffen, Germany's Non-violent Action for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, of Hamburg, Germany) has released the following action alert, in partnership with IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War), and Nukewatch Wisconsin:

 

Mushroom cloud rising above Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945 after U.S. dropped first atomic bomb on a city in history.Our campaign: "Büchel is everywhere - nuclear-free now!" Worldwide Solidarity, is calling for signatures of individuals internationally: please read on!

Please print up a hard copy of the U.S. solidarity statement, (or see handbill for other countries here) fill it out, and mail it to:

Nukewatch
740A Round Lake Road
Luck, WI 54853

or

GAAA c/o M. Küpker
Beckstr.14,
20357 Hamburg, Germany

See the English language website here.


Background Information

Stop new nuclear bomb -- B61-12 -- for Europe!

US citizens solidarity declaration needed -- strengthen the global network!

German campaign to send the existing US nukes back home, and to organize against the new B61-12 US nuclear bomb, which is planned to be built in the US by 2020 for five European countries (Italy, Belgium, Holland, Turkey and Germany):

Despite the end of the Cold War, about 20 US nuclear bombs are still deployed at a German Air Force Base named Büchel. German pilots will have to take off with these bombs in Tornado fighter planes when the order comes from the US president, through NATO (North American Treaty Organization), to drop them on their targets. This horrifying vision is part of the "nuclear sharing agreement" in NATO, with its nuclear detererence policy, and includes the first strike option.

These weapons of mass destruction – illegal under both German and international law -- are planned to be replaced by expensive (a $10 billion program), new, precision-guided nuclear weapons in the near future, through the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) nuclear weapons complex. All three national nuclear laboratories (the Y-12 Plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee; the Kansas City Plant, in Kansas City, KS; and Sandia Lab in Albuquerque, NM) are part of B61-12 construction, mainly through Boeing (tailfin kit: $1.8 billion), Lockheed Martin, Honeywell and Bechtel. With about 400 B61-12 bombs to be refurbished for Europe, that’s about $25 million per bomb, calculated by expert Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. (See his June 15, 2011 article.)

(See also a November 5, 2015 PBS Newshour article, "Photos: What an $8 billion nuclear bomb upgrade looks like.")

20 weeks of action at the Büchel base

Twenty weeks for twenty bombs – starting again on March 26*, 2017 until August 9th, groups and individuals will hold vigils and other kinds of nonviolent direct action (blockades, trespassing, etc.) at the Büchel base to pressure the government, leading up to the next election in Germany in September, 2017.

(*26 March 2010 cross-party motion calling on the government to work towards a withdrawal of nuclear weapons!)

And for those who can take a further step:

Declaration of Commitment

Our German-wide campaign, "Büchel is everywhere – nuclear free now!“ is organized by 50 organizations/groups. The active presence at Büchel is planned to be the beginning of a long-term phase of action to prevent the nuclear upgrade. The core element of the campaign is our Declaration of Commitment signature campaign where people declare in public (on our website):

"I will come to Büchel once a year and take part in an action until nuclear weapons are withdrawn, and I will actively commit to seeking a nuclear weapons-free world in the place where I am living."


We also plan to have an international week of action in 2017. If you are interested in joining, please contact: mariongaaa@gmx.de, or via our website: www.buechel-atombombenfrei.de, and let us know about any support you might need. All kinds of housing, including camping opportunities, exists in this beautiful volcanic region. There will be an office and a contact person nearby.

In 2016 we had 20 weeks of actions with 45 religious, peace, women, anti-nuclear, and other groups participating.

Besides the Declaration of Commitment, we also have a Declaration of Solidarity especially for people who cannot come, but who want to show their full support (please see above: sign on the other side of the page, and mail it to one of the addresses provided).

In Germany, the peace movement always risks the possibility of being considered "anti-American." With plenty of signatures from the US peace & justice movement, we can show that we are united in our vision for a nuclear-free world – also with indigenous peoples and other people of color, who are disproportionally impacted by the nuclear production chain. We don't want new nuclear weapons, and we believe the money should go to the people's real needs!

Wednesday
Oct052016

INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE DISMISSES MARSHALL ISLANDS’ NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT CASES WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE MERITS

Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation reports:

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the world’s highest court, delivered its judgments on preliminary issues in the Marshall Islands’ nuclear disarmament cases against India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom (UK)...

Phon van den Biesen, Co-Agent of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, said, “We are pleased that the Court recited its unanimous decision of 1996 that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects. Likewise we are pleased that half of the judges of the highest court in the world confirmed, as the Marshall Islands alleged, that jurisdiction exists here. Nonetheless it is difficult to understand how eight judges could have found that no disputes existed in these cases when they were filed. So that is very disappointing. It is particularly worrying that the World Court cannot be unanimous on what it takes to establish a dispute in the context of nuclear disarmament.”...

David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and a consultant to the RMI, said, “In bringing these lawsuits, Tony de Brum and the Marshall Islands have demonstrated the courage and determination to act and speak, based on conviction and bitter, tragic experience, for the benefit of all humankind. De Brum and the Marshall Islands made the choice to act in a constructive manner to find a path to end the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons. With the lawsuits, the Marshall Islands challenged the nuclear-armed states to show good faith in meeting the universal legal obligation to pursue and conclude negotiations on complete nuclear disarmament. The Marshall Islands itself has shown good faith fulfilment of that obligation in a dignified, respectful way, through court action.”...

Official statement from the government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands:

“While these proceedings were initiated by a previous government administration, and have been carried forward, the Marshall Islands has - for decades - repeatedly reminded the international community that our own burden and experiences with nuclear detonation must never again be repeated - this includes Marshallese who petitioned the United Nations in 1954 and 1956 to cease the nuclear testing program during its status as a UN Trust Territory. Recent nuclear tests in North Korea are a stunning example of clearly unacceptable risks which remain with us all.  

While it may be that there are several political pathways to sharply reducing - and eliminating - nuclear risk, further progress on nuclear disarmament appears stalled. Without further flexibility and political will by all sides of the table, and with all necessary actors - and without common agreement on a way forward, it is as though there is no visible path to a world free of nuclear weapons, and the peace and security which accompany it. Such a lack of progress is no way to honor or respond to the lesson that Marshallese people have offered the world.

We look forward to studying closely the Court's opinion before commenting further.” More.

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