“The most reliable way to prevent both the proliferation and use of these weapons is through their total and verified elimination.” - Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon
|—||Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, United Nations General Assembly, September 21, 2011 - Report to the General Assembly “We The Peoples”|
“Opening statement by His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the opening session of the three day “11th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates - The Legacy of Hiroshima: A World without Nuclear Weapons” held in Hiroshima, Japan, from November 12th to 14th, 2010.”
Dear START Supporter,
Right now you have an opportunity to change history.
Today is the National Day of Action to reduce our nation’s nuclear stockpiles by demanding that the U.S. Senate ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
As you read this, activists from across the country are meeting with senators to deliver your letters and show them that we demand a reduction in our nuclear stockpiles. Even if you’re not in Washington, you can lend your voice to this powerful effort.
Call your senators right now and tell them to ratify New START before the end of the year.
Get your senators’ phone numbers , then watch this short video and share it with five friends—you’re part of a movement.
Demanding zero starts now! Pick up the phone and help change our nation’s future.
The world has enough nuclear weapons. In fact, we could use a lot less. The United States has 10,500 nuclear weapons. Russia has 14,000. The arms race is long since over, and it’s time we reduce the stockpiles and secure the materials before they fall into the wrong hands.
This past April, President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) which, if ratified by the U.S. Senate will, reduce each country’s nuclear stockpile by a third, and open up both nations’ programs for more transparent inspections and verification.
Let your senators know that this issue is important to you by sending them a letter and calling them right now.
Thank you for your support and activism,
The Demand Zero Team
Talking points for New START
If calling your senators’ offices about New START sounds frightening, it shouldn’t be. These are our elected officials, who are legally required to listen to what you have to say. It will take about two minutes, and you don’t need to have expert knowledge on the issue to voice your opinion.
Here is a quick guide to calling your senators on New START, from our partner organization WAND (Women’s Action for New Directions).
- Find out whether your senators support START or not at TakePart.com/START. You will find a list of every senator who currently doesn’t support START, along with their phone numbers.
- If one or both of your senators isn’t on the START page, it’s because they support the Treaty! Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to their office(s). Tell them thanks for all the support!
- Use this sample message when you call, or feel free to say whatever you like:
“Hello, my name is [your name]. I am calling from [your city/town], and I want to urge Senator ____ to support the ratification of the New START. I am hopeful that Senator _____ will support this treaty and the goal of a more safe and secure future when s/he votes on the New START Treaty on the Senate Floor. Could you please make sure the Senator gets this message?”
And that’s it! The receptionist will take note of your message and make sure it gets passed on. Let others know you took the time to call and update your Facebook or Twitter status!Read more at www.takepart.com
DUMP THE NUKES
Barack Obama needs to get real about actual cuts in America’s still-enormous stockpile of nuclear weapons — or his nuclear legacy won’t even match that of Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush.
So far, the president has made modest progress shrinking stockpiles and preventing new nations and terrorists from getting nuclear weapons. But these gains have been hard won, and his entire strategy is now at risk: Negotiating the New START treaty with Russia took too long, and political opponents slowed Senate approval.
Delay is dangerous. It threatens other planned efforts, including nuclear-test bans and a global lockup of all weapons materials. And it will create diplomatic havoc. Other countries agreed to stronger efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation based on Obama’s promise to convince nuclear-armed states to reduce their arsenals. If reductions stall, so will cooperation. Countries will hedge their bets, and nuclear materials and technology will spread.
But Obama can regain momentum by executing reductions that don’t depend on Russia or the Senate. The first President Bush did this in 1991, unilaterally eliminating more than 3,000 weapons and denuclearizing the U.S. Army and surface Navy. Obama should begin by taking limited measures: disclose how many weapons the United States has in its nuclear stockpile, step up the pace of dismantlement of the estimated 4,200 excess bombs (Bill Clinton took apart about 1,000 a year, George W. Bush just 300, and Obama could get to 450 easily), and immediately cut the deployed strategic weapons to 1,550, instead of waiting the seven years the New START treaty allows.
Then it’s time for bold moves: Obama should unilaterally reduce the active U.S. arsenal to 1,000 weapons (which is still three times more than U.S. Air Force experts judge are necessary) and remove the 200 U.S. nuclear bombs that remain in Europe.
Such cuts won’t hurt U.S. or global security in the least — and Obama has plenty of bipartisan, expert support for cuts of this size. They would put him on the road to fulfilling his compelling promise of a truly nuclear-free world.Joseph Cirincione is president of the Ploughshares Fund. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
A stagnant economy. Declining American influence. Dictators on the march abroad. And a more Republican Congress coming soon. Barack Obama is in big trouble. But it’s never too late.Foreign Policy has a plan, 14 in fact, for how the president can find his mojo again.
The American public is asking a fundamental question: Will the New START Treaty increase U.S. national security and reduce nuclear threats?
We began working together to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons in the 1980s, when the Cold War created a threatening environment that could lead to an all-out nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. It was a very real possibility.
Today, the nuclear threat has changed. The possibility of nuclear war has declined, but the chances of nuclear weapons being used by a terrorist group, or a rogue nation in a regional war, are increasing. These threats are fueled by the spread of nuclear weapons, materials and technology around the world.
With this new context, the goal of nuclear threat reduction grows ever more vital to U.S. security. After we reviewed the treaty and the testimony presented by experts, we now believe the American public can, with confidence, support this agreement.
It is likely to improve the security of the United States, and our allies, and lead to even greater international cooperation on nuclear risk reduction. The long, careful process to produce this treaty should increase cooperation on missile defense capabilities, which can provide an important measure of protection against an actual attack, or an accidental firing.
The New START treaty is relatively straightforward: The treaty sets lower ceilings on deployed strategic nuclear warheads and long-range ballistic missiles and bombers, with important provisions to verify the new terms. In our view, this represents a crucial step forward in reducing the nuclear threat.
We find three important reasons for support:
First, with the expiration of the 1991 START Treaty last December, there is no longer any agreement for monitoring strategic nuclear forces on both sides. The treaty’s provisions for data exchange and on-site inspection is likely to provide valuable information on Russian nuclear capabilities that we would not have otherwise. It is also likely to increase transparency and confidence on both sides — improving predictability, stability and security.
Second, New START reaffirms the long-standing principle of achieving greater nuclear reductions in the two nations that still control more than 90 percent of global nuclear inventories. This principle underpins our nonproliferation diplomacy worldwide, and helps open the door to even greater cooperation with other nations on the most pressing nuclear threat issues, including nuclear terrorism and the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea. Going forward, Washington and Moscow must increase our work together to further reduce nuclear threats.
Third, Washington and Moscow should expand use of the existing Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers – which we, and other members of Congress, established with President Ronald Reagan to further reduce nuclear threats.
For example, to improve both nations’ early warning capabilities, the centers could exchange data on global missile launches. Other nations could be integrated into this system. It could provide the basis for a joint initiative involving Russia, the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on a missile defense architecture for Europe that would help address other key issues, like tactical nuclear weapons vulnerable to theft by terrorists. Indeed, when the centers were proposed, they were envisioned to help prevent catastrophic nuclear terrorism. These initiatives can go forward with a New START Treaty.
Together, we have spent more than 50 years in the Senate working on national security issues, and our confidence in our nation’s treaty ratification process now leads us to urge the America public to support the New START Treaty.
Critics have expressed understandable concerns that the treaty might undermine the U.S. missile defense program, citing the preamble language on the relationship between strategic offensive and defensive arms; or the treaty’s prohibition on using existing strategic launchers for placement of missile defense interceptors, or Russian assertions of a right to withdraw.
There have also been legitimate issues raised about the importance of a strong U.S. commitment to maintaining the safety, security and reliability of our own weapons, given the treaty’s reductions and the continuing need for a strong nuclear deterrent in light of today’s threats.
The defense secretary, the leaders of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the general in charge of our missile defense program have all testified that New START is not a threat to U.S. missile defenses. Their statements are an important step in addressing the missile defense issue, as is the administration’s proposed 10-year nuclear stockpile plan.
These are important issues that must now be considered under our constitutional process and monitored in the years to come by the executive and legislative branches so that the treaty will merit broad and sustained bipartisan support.
The American public can be confident that this treaty enhances our national security.
U.S. officials said the conference’s final “action plan” at least represented a commitment by 189 nations to stand by the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The last review conference, in 2005, collapsed in failure, with many countries blaming the Bush administration.
“We’ve got the NPT back on track. There was so much criticism about 2005 … and a lot of doom and gloom about the treaty failing,” said one U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak on the record. “We have to hold this treaty together.”
The 40-year-old pact is built on a grand bargain: The original five nuclear powers promised to disarm gradually and all others foreswore the bomb. All treaty members were guaranteed access to nuclear energy, subject to the oversight of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).