Washington, D.C. — January 25, 2018 — In response to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announcing its decision to move the Doomsday Clock—a metaphor for how close humanity is to nuclear catastrophe—from two and a half minutes to midnight to two minutes to midnight, Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs at Peace Action, released the following statement:
“It’s always sobering to be reminded just how close humanity is to destroying itself with nuclear weapons. It’s also telling that even in a year that saw the adoption of a U.N. resolution banning nuclear weapons worldwide, the risk of nuclear war is higher than its been in decades. The majority of the world is quite ready to live without the constant fear of nuclear war hanging over our heads, but the nuclear-armed nations of the world are acting like children who only follow the rules when the rules suit their perceived interests.
“One of the great tests of modern day presidents is whether their actions bring us closer to or farther from the nuclear brink. Under President Trump’s leadership thus far, it’s quite clear we’re accelerating in the wrong direction. The president’s upcoming Nuclear Posture Review, a draft of which was leaked earlier this month, is a roadmap for that wrong direction; a wish list of new and ‘more usable’ nuclear weapons and an expansion of the list of situations in which we might use nuclear weapons. Trump’s threats of nuclear war and regular taunting of other nuclear-armed nations have undoubtedly increased the risk of nuclear war. His vocal disdain for nuclear arms control agreements like the Iran nuclear accord and the New START Treaty have undermined hopes for future nuclear agreements, including on the Korean Peninsula.
“While a world with nuclear-armed egomaniacs presents plenty of reasons to despair, we must find ways to turn that despair into action to confront the threat posed by nuclear weapons head on. Besides international efforts like the U.N. nuclear weapons ban, building support for legislation in Congress to rein in the planned $1.7 trillion nuclear weapons spending spree and restrict the power of the president to launch nuclear attacks is paramount.”
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate of nuclear weapons spending over the next three decades is $1.2 trillion, which adjusted for inflation comes to $1.7 trillion.
The SANE Act, introduced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), would cut $100 billion of wasteful nuclear weapons spending over the next decade.
The Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act, introduced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), would prevent the president from launching a first-use nuclear strike without congressional approval.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced legislation to establish a no-first-use of nuclear weapons policy for the United States.
Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to international conflicts. The public may learn more and take action at www.PeaceAction.org