We Refuse To Be Targets in This Nuclear World

by Paul A. Olson, President Emeritus of Nebraskans for Peace and Kevin Martin, Executive Director of Peace Action

When Barack Obama was elected president, one of his stated hopes was the global elimination of nuclear weapons. Now that he is about to conclude his presidency, his hope (expressed in his visit to Hiroshima) is still that such weapons might be eliminated. But serious steps toward the elimination of nuclear weapons never happen. Almost a decade ago, four of our most powerful retired politicians—Sam Nunn, George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and William Perry—called for an initiative to end nuclear weapons, and nothing happened. Now William Perry, President Clinton’s former Secretary of Defense has written a book in which he argues, “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War, and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.” And still, nothing happens.

Recently, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano said, “Terrorism is spreading and the possibility of using nuclear material cannot be excluded” and argued for strengthened nuclear security against the use of fissile materials by terrorists. Indeed, Belgian police investigating the November 13 Paris terror attacks found ten hours of videotaping of a Belgian nuclear official located in the hands of known terrorists. What the jihadists would have done with the nuclear official or his information, had they gone further or been able to acquire radioactive material, can only be guessed. Today, we have over 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world and tons of fissionable material floating around—enough to destroy virtually all cultures. In addition, we have many scientists with the knowledge to provide nuclear weapons information to rogue regimes as did Pakistan’s Abdul Qadeer Khan, perhaps with the assistance of the Pakistani army.

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A Stark Nuclear Warning

Jerry Brown
The New York Review of Books
July 14, 2016 Issue

My Journey at the Nuclear Brink
by William J. Perry, with a foreword by George P. Shultz
Stanford Security Studies, 234 pp., $85.00; $24.95 (paper)

I know of no person who understands the science and politics of modern weaponry better than William J. Perry, the US Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1997. When a man of such unquestioned experience and intelligence issues the stark nuclear warning that is central to his recent memoir, we should take heed. Perry is forthright when he says: “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”1 He also tells us that the nuclear danger is “growing greater every year” and that even a single nuclear detonation “could destroy our way of life.”

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Nuclear security: Continuous Improvement or Dangerous Decline?

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist
Matthew Bunn, Martin B. Malin, Nickolas Roth, William Tobey
27 March 2016

World leaders face a stark choice at the final Nuclear Security Summit later this week: Will they commit to efforts that continue to improve security for nuclear weapons, fissile materials, and nuclear facilities, or will the 2016 summit be seen in retrospect as the point at which attention drifted elsewhere, and nuclear security stalled and began to decline? The answer will shape the chances that terrorist groups, including the Islamic State, could get their hands on the materials they need to build a crude nuclear bomb.

In a report we published late in March, we outline the shape of the threat and the steps that must be taken to keep potential nuclear bomb material out of terrorist hands.

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Nuclear Disarmament a Victim of the 2016 National Security State

by Loring Wirbel
Citizens for Peace in Space
Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Paris attacks of November 13 and the subsequent domestic terrorism events in Colorado and California killed more than just civil liberties in the waning days of 2015. Nuclear disarmament and arms control—already on life support since the NATO standoff with Russia began—has been universally snubbed, defeated and ignored. It’s bound to be a grim presidential-election year to come.

The U.S. and Russia maintain close to 15,000 nuclear warheads, split almost evenly between the two countries. President Obama pledged in his first year of office to reduce U.S. nuclear weapons by a third. But Michael Sainato said in a December 1 blog item in Huffington Post that Obama had done almost nothing to practically reduce those numbers. The Federation of American Scientists said he had done the least to implement arms reduction of any president in the nuclear era. In fact, a new nuclear arms modernization effort for land ICBMs, sea ICBM and bombers began under Obama that will cost the U.S. $963 billion—nearly $1 trillion—between now and 2040. And Obama is not encouraged to think otherwise. The Sept/Oct 2015 issue of Foreign Affairs, the house organ of the Council on Foreign Relations, was a special issue on the history of Obama’s foreign policy. Editor Gideon Rose ridiculed Obama for daring to believe in nuclear disarmament in 2009, and praised the realism of the new Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter.

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Crusading Former Pentagon Chief Says Nuke Danger is Growing

By Robert Burns
Dec. 29, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — Late in a life lived unnervingly near the nuclear abyss, William J. Perry is on a mission to warn of a "real and growing danger" of nuclear doom.

The 88-year-old former defense secretary is troubled by the risks of catastrophe from the very weapons he helped develop. Atop his list: a nuclear terror attack in a major U.S. city or a shooting war with Russia that, through miscalculation, turns nuclear. A terrorist attack using a nuclear bomb or improvised nuclear device could happen "any time now - next year or the year after," he said in an interview with reporters earlier this month.

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