Sunflower Newsletter: December 2017

Sunflower Newsletter: December 2017
  • Perspectives
    • Decoding Donald by David Krieger
    • Women Leaders Aren’t Making Enough Foreign Policy Decisions, and it’s a Problem by Meredith Horowski and Lillyanne Daigle
    • Address to Nuclear Disarmament Conference by Pope Francis
  • U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
    • U.S. Tweeted False Information About Its Nuclear Arsenal
    • University of Texas Seeks to Manage U.S. Nuclear Weapons Lab
  • Nuclear Disarmament
    • ICAN to Accept Nobel Peace Prize on December 10
    • Mexico Ratifies Nuclear Ban Treaty
  • War and Peace
    • South Korea Wants to Cancel Military Drills During Winter Olympics
  • Nuclear Insanity
    • Russia Admits Significant Radioactive Leak
  • Nuclear “Modernization”
    • U.S. and Russia Engaged in a Costly New Nuclear Arms Race
    • U.S. Seeks to Violate INF Treaty as Revenge for Russia Violating the INF Treaty
  • Resources
    • This Month in Nuclear Threat History
    • The Doomsday Machine: New Book by NAPF Distinguished Fellow Daniel Ellsberg
    • Cybersecurity, Nuclear Security, Alan Turing, and Illogical Logic
    • Conference on U.S. Foreign Military Bases
    • The Dome
  • Foundation Activities
    • Create Your Own Facebook Fundraiser to Benefit NAPF this Holiday Season
    • Letter in the Los Angeles Times
    • Peace Literacy and Rotary International
    • Rick Wayman Participates in Vatican Nuclear Disarmament Conference
    • New Nukes Are Nuts Merchandise
  • Take Action
    • No Unconstitutional Strike Against North Korea
  • Quotes

Perspectives

Decoding Donald

The future of the world and of humanity is at the mercy of a lunatic. His name is Donald Trump, and he alone has access to the U.S. nuclear codes. Before he does something rash and irreversible with those codes, it is imperative to decode Donald, taking the necessary steps to remove this power from him.

Trump is exactly the type of person who should not be anywhere near the nuclear codes. He is not calm, thoughtful, deliberate, cautious, or well-informed. Rather, he is erratic, thin-skinned, narcissistic and self-absorbed. He takes slights personally and likes to punch back hard. He could be insulted and backed into a corner, and decide that nuclear weapons are the solution to what he takes to be taunting behavior. He could be awakened at 3:00 a.m., and make a hasty decision to launch the U.S. nuclear arsenal instead of a tweet.

To read more, click here.

Women Leaders Aren’t Making Enough Foreign Policy Decisions, and it’s a Problem

While women are leading the resistance, the halls of power in D.C. and states across the country lag pathetically behind. We saw this perhaps most vividly when Trump gathered an all-male group of politicians at the White House to discuss his efforts to gut women’s health care. In a single photograph, the gross underrepresentation of women’s voices in government and on issues directly impacting their lives was crystal clear.

And it was exactly that photograph — and the utterly out-of-sync gender dynamics it laid bare — that stuck in our minds this month as we sat in a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Trump’s unrestrained power to wage nuclear war. A committee with a 20:1 male-to-female ratio heard testimony from three men on whether one man should have total, unchecked power to start a nuclear war and blow up the planet. This is a system that, as Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said, “boggles the rational mind.”

Apparently, the Senate has a one-woman limit when it comes to foreign policy.

To read the full article at Teen Vogue, click here.

Address to Nuclear Disarmament Conference

Nor can we fail to be genuinely concerned by the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects of any employment of nuclear devices. If we also take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned. For they exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict but the entire human race. International relations cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation, and the parading of stockpiles of arms. Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity. Essential in this regard is the witness given by the Hibakusha, the survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, together with other victims of nuclear arms testing. May their prophetic voice serve as a warning, above all for coming generations!

To read more, click here.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

U.S. Tweeted False Information About Its Nuclear Arsenal

U.S. Strategic Command, which is in charge of all U.S. nuclear weapons, posted a link on its official Twitter account to an article falsely claiming that the U.S. maintains “secret silos” for its nuclear warheads, and has “B-1 bombers that can drop them from the air.”

Experts immediately criticized the tweet, since the U.S. does not have secret silos, and B-1 bombers are not nuclear-capable. Tweeting out the article only increases the chance of miscalculation between North Korea and the United States while tensions between the two nuclear powers are already sky-high.

Alex Ward, “The U.S. Military Tweeted Out Bad Information About Its Nukes. North Korea Will Notice,” Vox, November 15, 2017.

University of Texas Seeks to Manage U.S. Nuclear Weapons Lab

The University of Texas (UT) Board of Regents voted 3-2 to submit a bid to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), one of the United States’ two primary nuclear weapons labs. UT submitted an unsuccessful bid to run the lab in 2005.

LANL has a history of nuclear weapon research and design dating back to the Manhattan Project in the 1940s.

The lab is currently run by the University of California in a for-profit partnership with Bechtel National, Inc. The University of California has managed the nation’s nuclear weapons labs in New Mexico and California since the labs’ inception.

Alyssa Goard, “UT System Will Submit Bid to Operate Los Alamos National Laboratory,” KXAN, November 27, 2017.

Nuclear Disarmament

ICAN to Accept Nobel Peace Prize on December 10

Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and a tireless campaigner for the abolition of nuclear weapons, will accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the global campaign in Oslo on December 10. At least two other survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings are expected to attend.

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has been a Partner Organization in ICAN since its inception in 2007. Setsuko Thurlow is the recipient of NAPF’s 2015 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award and serves on the NAPF Advisory Council.

Three A-bomb survivors to attend Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in December,” Kyodo, October 27, 2017.

Mexico Ratifies Nuclear Ban Treaty

Mexico is the fourth country to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as its Senate voted unanimously to approve Mexico’s participation in the treaty. Prohibitions in the treaty include developing, acquiring, storing, using or threatening to use any atomic explosive device or nuclear weapon of any kind.

Fernando Torres Graciano, president of the National Defense Commission, encouraged other countries to ratify the treaty as well. He said, “Instead of resistance to nuclear disarmament, governments should promote programs to address the most important problems in the world, such as poverty and hunger.”

In order for the treaty to enter into force, 50 countries must ratify the treaty.

Mexico’s Senate Approved the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” Puerto Vallarta News, November 28, 2017.

War and Peace

South Korea Wants to Cancel Military Drills During Winter Olympics

Song Young-gil, the chairman of the Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation, said that the South Korean government wants to stop joint military drills with the United States during the upcoming PyeongChang Olympic Games.

“The first step toward alleviating tensions is North Korea’s abandoning of its programs and the U.S. and its allies scaling down of joint military drills, simultaneously,” said Igor Morgulov, Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Olympics have long been associated with peace or at least a temporary cessation of hostilities. In 776 BC, a truce was announced before the Olympic games to ensure that the host city was not attacked and that spectators and athletes could attend safely.

Nam Hyun-woo, “Government Wants to Delay Korea-U.S. Military Drills,” The Korea Times, November 27, 2017.

Nuclear Insanity

Russia Admits Significant Radioactive Leak

Authorities detected a radioactive cloud over Europe between September 27 and October 13. After months of denying anything outside the normal levels of radiation, Russian officials admitted that there was a leak of ruthenium-106 in the southern Urals in September. Levels reached 986 times the normal pollution of the element just south of the Mayak facility, where in 1957 an explosion caused the third-most detrimental radioactive accident in history (the first two being Chernobyl and Fukushima.) It affected 227,000 people, exposing them to lethal amounts of radiation. Many accidents have happened at the facility since its opening in 1948.

The French nuclear safety institute (IRSN) said that such an event in France would have resulted in several kilometers of evacuation.

Mark Bennets, “Russia Admits Nuclear Leak Near Site of 1957 Disaster,” The Times, November 21, 2017.

Nuclear “Modernization”

U.S. and Russia Engaged in a Costly New Nuclear Arms Race

In 2010, the Obama administration negotiated the New START treaty with Russia, which limited both sides’ deployed strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550. Despite both countries being on track to meeting the limit by the 2018 deadline, experts and former officials say that the risk of nuclear conflict is far from eliminated. In fact, the stricter limitation on the number of weapons allowed has only spurred both countries to initiate modernization programs to improve the efficiency, accuracy, and lethality of their weapons systems.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the U.S. “modernization” effort will cost $1.25 trillion over 30 years. Supporters of the program argue that it consists primarily of tweaks and improvements, not development of new weapons or capabilities. Critics suggest that the new improvements are so substantial that they will reshape U.S. nuclear capability, making the use of nuclear weapons more tempting. They also point to Russia’s parallel modernization as evidence of a dangerous new arms race.

Scot Paltrow, “Special Report: in Modernizing Nuclear Arsenal, U.S. Stokes New Arms Race“, U.S. News & World Report, November 21, 2017.

U.S. Seeks to Violate INF Treaty as Revenge for Russia Violating the INF Treaty

The Obama administration suspected for years, and later confirmed, that Russia built a missile in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Signed by President Ronald Reagan, the bilateral U.S.-Russian pact prohibits construction, testing or deployment of missiles or delivery systems with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

The Trump administration is now supporting Congressional efforts to also violate the INF Treaty by building a cruise missile in the prohibited range.

“It would be a mistake to believe that the pursuit of a INF-noncompliant cruise missile by the United States will compel Russia to acknowledge and rectify its suspected INF violations,” said Arms Control Association Executive Director Daryl Kimball.

Josh Rogin, “Russia Has Deployed a Banned Nuclear Missile. Now the U.S. Threatens to Build One,” Washington Post, November 16, 2017.

 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 December, including the December 18, 1970 U.S. nuclear weapon test in Nevada, which resulted in a significant release of radioactive material into the environment.

To read Mason’s full article, click here.

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

The Doomsday Machine: New Book by NAPF Distinguished Fellow Daniel Ellsberg

The Doomsday Machine, a new book by NAPF Fellow Daniel Ellsberg, is now available for pre-order. It will be released on December 5. Ellsberg, the legendary whistleblower who revealed the Pentagon Papers, was a presidential advisor and nuclear strategist. The Doomsday Machine is Ellsberg’s hair-raising account of the most dangerous arms build-up in the history of civilization, whose legacy – and proposed renewal under the Trump administration – threatens the very survival of humanity.

To pre-order the book from Amazon, click here.

To read a review by NAPF intern Joy Ferguson, a senior at Westmont College, click here.

Cybersecurity, Nuclear Security, Alan Turing, and Illogical Logic

NAPF Associate Martin Hellman received the 2015 Association for Computing Machinery Turing Award for his work on cryptography. In his lecture accepting the prestigious award, Hellman makes a strong connection between cybersecurity and nuclear security.

In examining the risk involved with nuclear weapons, Hellman said, “To put such risk in perspective, even if nuclear deterrence could be expected to work for 500 years before it failed and destroyed civilization—a time horizon that sounds optimistic to most people—it would be equivalent to playing Russian roulette with the life of a child born today. That is because that child’s expected lifetime is roughly one-sixth of 500 years. If the time horizon is more like 100 years, the child’s odds are worse than 50/50.”

To read Hellman’s full lecture, click here.

Conference on U.S. Foreign Military Bases

On January 12-14, 2018, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is co-sponsoring a conference in Baltimore about the hundreds of U.S. military bases around the world. The unity statement that is the basis for the conference states that “U.S. foreign military bases are the principal instruments of imperial global domination and environmental damage through wars of aggression and occupation, and that the closure of U.S. foreign military bases is one of the first necessary steps toward a just, peaceful and sustainable world.”

For more information and to register to attend, click here.

The Dome

The program Foreign Correspondent on Australia’s ABC TV has produced a new documentary entitled “The Dome.” The program examines the toxic legacy of the Runit Dome, an 18-inch-thick concrete dome constructed by the United States in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The dome contains highly-toxic waste from many of the United States’ 67 nuclear weapons tests conducted in the Marshall Islands from 1946-58.

The concrete dome, which was intended to last for hundreds of years, is already cracked and leaking. Rising sea levels and the increased intensity of storms due to climate change threaten an even greater catastrophe.

To watch the 41-minute documentary, click here.

Foundation Activities

Create Your Own Facebook Fundraiser to Benefit NAPF this Holiday Season

NAPF intern Aidan Powers-Riggs, a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has made a video for NAPF supporters explaining how to create a fundraiser to benefit NAPF from one’s personal Facebook page.

Aidan walks viewers through each step in the simple process. This is a great way for individuals to support the important work of NAPF while sharing their passion for peace and nuclear disarmament with their Facebook community.

To watch the 3-minute video, click here.

Letter in the Los Angeles Times

On November 24, the Los Angeles Times published a letter to the editor by NAPF Director of Programs Rick Wayman. Rick’s letter was in response to an editorial opposing the “Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017” introduced in Congress by Rep. Ted Lieu and Sen. Ed Markey. The LA Times editors argued that it is vital for President Trump to retain the unilateral authority to use nuclear weapons first against an adversary.

Wayman wrote in part, “Deterrence will only work up until the moment that it fails. Once it fails, we will only have a moment to regret not taking action when we had the chance.”

To read the full letter, click here.

Peace Literacy and Rotary International

On November 10, 2017, Paul K. Chappell, NAPF Peace Leadership Director, spoke about peace literacy and our shared humanity to over 500 former, current, and future Rotary district governors from six states and Vancouver Island at the Rotary International Institute, Zones 25/26. This represented a new level of interaction between NAPF and one of the world’s largest service organizations with a background of almost 100 years of peace projects and initiatives.

Recommended by a Rotarian with strong ties to the Dayton International Peace Museum, Chappell began his journey with Rotary in April 2015 with his talk on “Why Peace Is Possible,” at the Southwestern Ohio Rotary District 6670 conference. The event generated comments such as, “He [Paul] presents a unique view on peace that makes you really start to think,” “Very practical approach in presentation,” and “I was changed. I went in thinking that peace was impossible. Left thinking that there is a way to spread peace. Slow and steady, like curing polio.”

To read more about Paul’s involvement with Rotary International, click here.

Rick Wayman Participates in Vatican Nuclear Disarmament Conference

NAPF’s Director of Programs Rick Wayman was invited to participate in the Vatican’s November 10-11 conference “Prospects for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament.” On the first day of the conference, Rick had the honor of hearing Pope Francis deliver an address on nuclear disarmament (see Perspectives, above) and to personally exchange greetings with the pontiff.

For those in the Santa Barbara area, Rick will report back on the Vatican trip at a meeting at the NAPF headquarters on December 6 at 2:00 pm. For more information and to RSVP, please contact us at (805) 965-3443.

New Nukes Are Nuts Merchandise

Just in time for the holiday season, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has some new “Nukes Are Nuts” merchandise in stock and ready to ship. We have t-shirts for adults, onesies for babies, and reusable organic cotton tote bags for everyone.

Be sure to check out the NAPF Peace Store for these and many other great gifts, including books on peace.

For shipping outside of the United States, please contact rwayman@napf.org for a specific quote.

Take Action

No Unconstitutional Strike Against North Korea

A bill in the House of Representatives seeks to stop an unconstitutional attack against North Korea. The bill, H.R. 4140, would prohibit the president from launching a first strike against North Korea without congressional approval. The bill also calls 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 currently has 61 co-sponsors, and more are urgently needed. Click here to take action.

Quotes

“Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.”

Buddha. This quote appears in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action. Order copies today in the NAPF Peace Store for holiday gifts to the peace lovers in your life.

“They like their nuclear weapons very much and don’t like it when we try to ban them.”

Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, speaking about the protest of the U.S., UK, and France, which are sending only low-level diplomats to the December 10 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

“We urge you to reject calls to develop new low-yield [nuclear] weapons or to increase nuclear delivery systems beyond those already planned, which are simply divorced from budgetary realities.”

— A letter to Secretaries Tillerson, Mattis, and Perry from 15 U.S. senators.

Editorial Team

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

Source: https://www.wagingpeace.org/sunflower-newsletter-december-2017/