Sunflower Newsletter: February 2018

Sunflower Newsletter: February 2018
  • Perspectives
    • With Nuclear Weapons, Evacuation Is Not an Option by David Krieger
    • Approaching the Apocalypse, the Doomsday Clock Moves Forward by Bob Dodge
    • We Can Avoid War with North Korea if We Listen to Women Peacemakers by Erica Fein
    • The U.S. Has Military Bases in 80 Countries. All of them Must Close. by Alice Slater
  • U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
    • Trump Nuclear Posture Review Calls for New Nuclear Weapons
    • U.S. Plans Nuclear Missile Tests During Olympic Truce
  • War and Peace
    • South Korean Foreign Minister Says Military Option Is Unacceptable
    • India Tests Long-Range Missile that Can Reach Most of China
  • Nuclear “Modernization”
    • Outgoing Head of U.S. Nuclear Agency Warns They Are Already Operating at Capacity
  • Nuclear Insanity
    • Hawaii False Alarm Was Not an Accident
    • A Tragic Past at China’s Mao-Era Nuclear Plant
  • Nuclear Waste
    • Sweden Denies Nuclear Waste Permit
  • Resources
    • This Month in Nuclear Threat History
    • North Korean Nuclear Capabilities in 2018
    • The Deterrence Myth
  • Foundation Activities
    • Announcing the 2018 Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest
    • Preventing War: Crisis and Opportunity with North Korea
    • NAPF Intern Publishes Article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
    • Join Us This Summer for a Rewarding Internship
  • Take Action
    • Stop an Unconstitutional War with North Korea
  • Quotes

Perspectives

With Nuclear Weapons, Evacuation Is Not an Option

My wife and I and other members of our family have been living through the nightmarish disaster that struck our community of Montecito. First came the fire and then came the floods.

In our community, we have been living through radical uncertainty from forces of nature. But we also live daily with the radical uncertainty of nuclear survival, which is not a force of nature, but rather a man-made threat. It is a threat entirely of our own making, and it can be remedied by facing it and doing something about it, namely convening the nuclear-armed countries to negotiate the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of these weapons. And, as a step prior to this, or simultaneously, to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which includes prohibitions on the development, deployment, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons.

To read the full article at The Hill, click here.

Approaching the Apocalypse, the Doomsday Clock Moves Forward

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has just moved their Doomsday Clock forward to two minutes to midnight. Midnight represents nuclear apocalypse. The Clock is recognized around the world as an indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies. Each year the decision to move the Clock, or not, is determined by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 15 Nobel laureates.

In making this year’s move to two minutes to midnight, the Bulletin stated that “in 2017, world leaders failed to respond effectively to the looming threat of nuclear war and climate change, making the worlds security situation more dangerous than it was a year ago–and as dangerous as it has been since World War II.”

To read more, click here.

We Can Avoid War with North Korea if We Listen to Women Peacemakers

The U.S. and North Korea have been at war for 67 years. Between 1950 and 1953, the Korean War killed over two million Koreans, 36,500 American troops, and hundreds of thousands more from other countries on both sides. Since then, a united Korea for well over a thousand years has given way to a stark division. Hundreds of thousands of family members physically torn apart by war and outside aggressors know that with each passing day, hope fades that they will reunite.

But now, conventional thinking isn’t just continuing the status quo—it’s putting us on a path to renewed war. If we want to truly achieve peace, we must listen to the voices of those who have witnessed the human costs of war on the Korean Peninsula. And, on all sides of the negotiating table, women must be heard.

To read more, click here.

The U.S. Has Military Bases in 80 Countries. All of them Must Close.

On the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Baltimore University hosted more than 200 activists in the peace, environment, and social justice movements to launch a timely new initiative, the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases.

In a series of panels over two days, conference speakers from every corner of the globe proceeded to describe the extraordinary cruelty and toxic lethality of U.S. foreign policy. We learned that the United States has approximately 800 formal military bases in 80 countries, a number that could exceed 1,000 if you count troops stationed at embassies and missions and so-called “lily-pond” bases, with some 138,000 soldiers stationed around the globe.

To read more, click here.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

Trump Nuclear Posture Review Calls for New Nuclear Weapons

The Trump administration released its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) on February 2. The document calls for new “low-yield” nuclear weapons in order to “enhance deterrence by denying potential adversaries any mistaken confidence that limited nuclear employment can provide a useful advantage over the United States and its allies.”

Despite overwhelming expert opinion that introducing more “low-yield” nuclear weapons will lower the threshold for actual use of nuclear weapons, the document states that such action will “raise the nuclear threshold…making nuclear employment less likely.”

Ashley Feinberg, “Exclusive: Here Is a Draft of Trump’s Nuclear Review. He Wants a Lot More Nukes,” Huffington Post, January 11, 2018.

U.S. Plans Nuclear Missile Tests During Olympic Truce

The U.S. Air Force plans to conduct two test launches of its Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile in February, while the Olympic Truce is meant to be in force.

“There are two launches currently scheduled for February that have been scheduled for three to five years” to test the reliability and accuracy of the Minuteman III missiles, according to Captain Anastasia Schmidt, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Global Strike Command, which manages ICBMs and long-range bombers.

The Air Force has cancelled or postponed Minuteman III launches in the past due to unfavorable weather, technical problems, and other reasons. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has called on U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis to postpone these provocative ICBM launches at least until after the Olympic Truce ends in March.

Anthony Capaccio, “U.S. Sticks to ICBM Test-Flight Plan Despite North Korea Tensions,” Bloomberg, January 11, 2018.

War and Peace

South Korean Foreign Minister Says Military Option Is Unacceptable

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, South Korea’s Foreign Minister, Kang Kyung-Wha, emphasized the need for the North Korean crisis to be solved with diplomatic, not military, means. She urged the U.S. to avoid military options, saying, “This is our future at stake.”

Kang also commented on the recent Olympic Truce, which has brought a lull in tensions and a rare opportunity for dialogue between the two countries. She said, “This is an opportunity for engagement and a peaceful engagement around the Olympic Games, and we just need to make the best of it.”

Soyoung Kim, “South Korea Minister Says Military Option ‘Unacceptable’ on North Korea Crisis,” Reuters, January 25, 2018.

India Tests Long-Range Missile that Can Reach Most of China

On January 18, India conducted a successful test of its Agni 5 ballistic missile, a long-range missile that travelled over 3,000 miles. The test is significant to India’s relationship with its most powerful neighbor, China, which it can now reach with the new ICBM technology. India previously did not have the technology to reach “high value” targets in China with nuclear weapons, but this test demonstrated its ability to threaten Chinese coastal cities, such as Shanghai.

Despite a generally non-hostile relationship between China and India, previous conflicts have caused tensions between the two countries, such as a recent border dispute over land in the Himalayas. It is unclear how India’s newest achievements in nuclear technology will affect their relationship.

Kai Schultz and Hari Kumar, “India Tests Ballistic Missile, Posing New Threat to China,” The New York Times, January 18, 2018.

Nuclear “Modernization”

Outgoing head of U.S. Nuclear Agency Warns They Are Already Operating at Capacity

Frank Klotz, the outgoing head of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), warned that the agency does not have the ability to engage in additional nuclear weapons “modernization” projects. Klotz said, “We’re pretty much at capacity in terms of people… We’re pretty much at capacity in terms of the materials that we need to do this work. And we’re pretty much at capacity in terms of hours in the day at our facilities to do this work.”

The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review calls for even more work on existing and new nuclear weapons. Klotz expects the NNSA will require even more funding than the initial estimate of $350 billion over the next 30 years, as warhead manufacturing, infrastructure improvements, and construction of processing facilities will all be necessary to complete the “modernization” program.

Aaron Mehta, “As Trump Seeks New Nuke Options, Weapons Agency Head Warns of Capacity Overload,” Defense News, January 23, 2018.

Nuclear Insanity

Hawaii False Alarm Was Not an Accident

A January 13 emergency alert sent to cell phones in Hawaii warning of an incoming ballistic missile was a false alarm, but it was sent by an emergency worker who believed the state was under attack. The employee of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency was fired after mistaking a drill for a true emergency.

The text message, in all caps, read, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” The message was not corrected for 38 minutes, leading to widespread panic throughout the state.

Laurel Wamsley, “Worker Who Sent Hawaii False Alert Thought Missile Attack Was Imminent,” NPR, January 30, 2018.

A Tragic Past at China’s Mao-Era Nuclear Plant

Jinyintan, a remote city in China’s northwest region, has become a monument to China’s nuclear weapons development during the Mao era, and a tourist attraction for domestic travelers. The city was home to Plant 221, the hub of Mao’s nuclear weapons program. At its peak, 30,000 scientists, workers, and guards lived there, working day and night in the plant’s 18 labs, workshops, and buildings.

Despite the Chinese Communist Party’s celebration of Plant 221, herders, scientists, and police officers that worked on and around the plant have come out with haunting stories of forced relocation, brutal interrogations, and executions. Over 9,000 farmers and herders who lived on the land before the project began were imprisoned or forced into brutal marches, where many died.

During Mao’s Cultural Revolution of 1966, suspicion, infighting, and random purges infected the plant—some 4,000 scientists and technicians were interrogated, and 50 were executed under accusations of treason.

Chris Buckley and Adam Wu, “Where China Built Its Bomb, Dark Memories Haunt the Ruins,” The New York Times, January 20, 2018.

 Resources

This Month in Nuclear Threat History

History chronicles many instances when humans have been threatened by nuclear weapons. In this article, Jeffrey Mason outlines some of the threats that have taken place in the month of February, including the February 1, 2006 attempted sale of 79.5 grams of highly enriched uranium in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

To read Mason’s full article, click here.

For more information on the history of the Nuclear Age, visit NAPF’s Nuclear Files website.

North Korean Nuclear Capabilities in 2018

Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris have published a new edition of “Nuclear Notebook” in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, examining North Korea’s nuclear capabilities in detail.

The authors cautiously estimate that North Korea may have produced enough fissile material to build between 30 and 60 nuclear weapons, and that it might possibly have assembled 10 to 20. Although North Korea is thought to have the capability to develop an operationally functioning re-entry vehicle to deliver an operational nuclear warhead, there is some uncertainty about whether it has demonstrated that it has succeeded in doing so. Nonetheless, North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has made considerable progress over the years, including a wide variety of ballistic and powerful nuclear tests. Presumably, if it hasn’t happened already, it is only a matter of time before Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal can be considered fully functioning.

Click here to download the full report.

The Deterrence Myth

Writing in Aeon, scholar David Barash lays out a scathing critique of the myth of nuclear deterrence.

Barash writes, “The public has been bamboozled by the shiny surface appearance of deterrence, with its promise of strength, security and safety. But what has been touted as profound strategic depth crumbles with surprising ease when subjected to critical scrutiny.”

To read the full article, click here.

Foundation Activities

Announcing the 2018 Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest

On February 1, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation announced the 2018 Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest. The contest is free to enter and is open to people of all ages around the world. The topic of this year’s contest is “Creating a Nuclear-Free Future: The Role of Young People.”

Contestants will make videos of 2 minutes or less about the role that young people have in abolishing nuclear weapons. It can be what they or other young people are doing now, or an idea of what they think can be done.

For more information and complete instructions on how to enter, go to www.peacecontests.org.

Preventing War: Crisis and Opportunity with North Korea

On March 7, 2018, Christine Ahn will deliver the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s 17th Annual Frank K. Kelly Lecture on Humanity’s Future. Ahn’s lecture is entitled “Preventing War: Crisis and Opportunity with North Korea.”

Christine Ahn is the Founder and International Coordinator of Women Cross DMZ, a global movement of women mobilizing to end the Korean War, reunite families, and ensure women’s leadership in peace building. She is co-founder of the Korea Peace Network, Korea Policy Institute and Global Campaign to Save Jeju Island.

The event is free and open to the public. The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Karpeles Manuscript Library, 21 W. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. For more information, click here.

NAPF Intern Publishes Article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

NAPF intern Alanna Richards, a senior at Westmont College, has published an article about the Olympic Truce in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Alanna connects her transformative experiences as a college athlete to the global impacts of the Olympic Truce.

She writes, “By pushing the world to see past Kim Jong-un and to look instead at athletes from his country, who are more similar to Americans than we might think, we can glimpse the humanity of North Korea and ourselves.”

Click here to read the full article.

Join Us This Summer for a Rewarding Internship

Applications for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s summer internships are due on March 1. We offer both paid and volunteer internships. Our interns come from around the world and work together with the NAPF staff at our headquarters in Santa Barbara, California for 10 weeks.

For more information about our internship program, including how to apply, click here.

Take Action

Stop an Unconstitutional War with North Korea

Bills currently before the House of Representatives and the Senate aim to stop an unconstitutional attack against North Korea.

The bills, H.R. 4837 and S.2016, would prohibit the president from launching a first strike against North Korea without congressional approval. The bills also call on the president to “initiate negotiations designed to achieve a diplomatic agreement to halt and eventually reverse North Korea’s nuclear and missile pursuits.”

The bill in the House currently has 65 co-sponsors, while the bill in the Senate has only four senators. More are urgently needed. Please take a moment to write your elected officials about H.R. 4837 and S.2016.

Click here to take action.

Quotes

“In an all-out nuclear war, more destructive power than in all of World War II would be unleashed every second during the long afternoon it would take for all the missiles and bombs to fall. A World War II every second — more people killed in the first few hours than all the wars of history put together. The survivors, if any, would live in despair amid the poisoned ruins of a civilization that had committed suicide.”

Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. President. February 19th is Presidents’ Day in the United States. This quote appears in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, which is available to purchase in the NAPF Peace Store.

“What happened in Hawaii should spur us to action to eliminate this threat once and for all. We must not wait for a real incoming missile to blast apart a beloved city, to incinerate our—or anyone else’s—families and friends. We should use this moment as a wake-up call.”

Ray Acheson, writing in The Nation.

“If you are uncomfortable with Trump and Kim Jong-un having nuclear weapons, you are probably uncomfortable with nuclear weapons in general.”

Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, in a January 23 tweet.

Editorial Team

Joy Ferguson
David Krieger
Aidan Powers-Riggs
Carol Warner
Rick Wayman

Source: https://www.wagingpeace.org/sunflower-newsletter-february-2018/