As Tooker brings in the New Year in a jail cell in the Netherlands for protesting an American nuclear weapons facility, let us reflect on what Peace on Earth really means. -a
“The nuclear bomb is the most anti-democratic, anti-national, anti-human, outright evil thing that man has ever made. If you are religious, then remember that this bomb is Man’s challenge to god. It’s worded quite simply: We have the power to destroy everything that You have created.” Arundhati Roy
Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, the United States and the former Soviet Union engaged in a nuclear arms race that, at its height, saw the deployment of some 80,000 nuclear weapons, many of which were thousands of times more powerful than those that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At the present time, ten years after the end of the Cold War, eight countries have a total of some 36,000 nuclear weapons, more than 95% of which are in the arsenals of the United States and Russia.
Nuclear weapons have drained resources, including scientific ones, from productive uses. A recent study by the Brookings Institution found that, since the beginning of the Nuclear Age, the US alone has spent more than $5.5 trillion on nuclear weapons programs. The US continues to spend some $25-$35 billion annually on maintaining, testing, and developing its nuclear arsenal. All of these misspent resources represent lost opportunities for improving the health, education, and welfare of the people.
Furthermore, due to the conditions of social disintegration in the former Soviet Union, there is increased concern that nuclear weapons or weapons-grade nuclear material may fall into the possession of additional countries, criminals, or terrorists. The breakup of the former Soviet Union has also weakened Russia’s early warning system, since many parts of this system were located outside of Russia. Hence, given the limited time available to make decisions about whether or not a state is under attack, the result could be a miscalculation or an accidental launch of nuclear weapons.
Moreover, the failure of the nuclear weapon states to eliminate their nuclear arsenal will likely result in the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other nations. If the nuclear weapon states continue to maintain the position that nuclear weapons preserve national security, it is only reasonable that other nations with less powerful military forces will also decide that a nuclear arsenal is necessary to maintain national security, as well.
Distinguished leaders throughout the world — generals, admirals, scientists, Nobel Laureates, and heads of state and government — warned of the dangers inherent in relying upon nuclear weapons for defense. The leaders of nuclear weapon states have not heeded these warnings. If nuclear weapons are relied upon for defense, sooner or later they will be used, by accident or by design. The fact that we have had these weapons in our midst for some fifty years provides no assurance that they will not be used in the future.
There is a way out of this dilemma. Man invented nuclear weapons. While it is not possible to “dis-invent” them, or as some say “to put the genie back in the bottle,” it is possible to abolish them under strict and effective international control. Nuclear weapons threaten the future of humanity. Hence, it is a highly sensible goal for humanity to seek to abolish these weapons.
Take a stand for a better world! Promote global efforts for peace and non-violence! Provide energy and momentum to a worldwide effort to rid the planet of weapons of mass destruction! Support re-allocation of resources to ensure a sustainable global future! Sign the petitions to abolish nuclear weapons!
A. Abolition 2000 (petition to abolish nuclear weapons)
B. No Star Wars/No BMD
C. Make Nuclear Weapons a Thing of the Past
D. De-alert Nuclear Weapons (Back from the Brink Campaign)
E. Abolish Nuclear Weapons Petition (by Proposition One Committee)