Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

nuclear

Members of the New York Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons gathered in Manhattan on August 6, 2020, the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima. (Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Nuclear-Armed Nations—Including the US—Must End Their Hypocrisy

Some countries claim that nuclear weapons exist to deter aggression—when in fact they are the most egregious aggressive threat to all of humanity.

Robert Dodge

 by The Hill

In an open letter to President Biden over 1,000 physicians, health professionals and concerned citizens have called on the president to take bold action toward the complete elimination of nuclear weapons in anticipation of his administration's Nuclear Posture Review expected to be released in the next month.

The only way to prevent catastrophic consequences is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. 

As first responders dealing with the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic—and recognizing that there is no adequate medical or humanitarian response to nuclear war—they understand the only way to prevent catastrophic consequences is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. 

Their call joins recent initiatives for sensible nuclear policy called for by defense and disarmament experts, U.S. local and state elected officials, and scientists asking the U.S. to take a leadership role in the abolition of nuclear weapons, with immediate steps to defuse the global nuclear tensions that have moved humanity to 100 seconds until midnight, the graphic representation of nuclear Armageddon determined by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

These immediate steps outlined in the Back from the Brink Coalition include:

  • Actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals
  • Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first
  • Ending the sole, unchecked authority of any U.S. president to launch a nuclear attack
  • Taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert
  • Canceling the plan to replace the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal with enhanced weapons

Knowing the science of the climate devastation that would follow even a limited, regional nuclear war, it must be asked under what circumstances any nation is willing to commit collective suicide by launching a nuclear attack? The country, and indeed the world, awaits President Biden's Nuclear Posture Review, at which point the president will take ownership of U.S. nuclear policy and our future.

Thus far, little change is noted from the Trump-era nuclear and defense policy. The current fiscal year has seen the United States spend over $74 billion on nuclear weapons programs alone. Initial indications are that the Biden defense budget will see this amount increase—at a time when the world struggles to get the entire planet vaccinated against Covid-19 with an estimated global cost of $50 billion according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

This recent joint statement by the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states on the eve of the Covid-postponed NPT Review Conference on "Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races" acknowledged avoidance of war between nuclear-weapon states and the reduction of strategic risks as our foremost responsibilities, while affirming the "Reagan/Gorbachev" principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. They stated that nuclear weapons exist to deter aggression—when in fact they are the most egregious aggressive threat to all of humanity.

The joint statement expresses the importance of arms control and nonproliferation treaties, including compliance with Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) while—in fact— each nation is aggressively modernizing and growing their nuclear arsenals, spending billions of dollars in the process.

Simple logic decries the hypocrisy that acknowledges the apocalyptic risk of the very existence of these weapons yet fails to acknowledge the continued pursuit of new and enhanced weapons.

What will it take to deter these leaders in their false narrative of why these weapons continue to exist? We must demand bold and immediate action to make their closing statement credible: "We are resolved to pursue constructive dialogue with mutual respect and acknowledgment of each other’s security interests and concerns."

Their actions alone will demonstrate their commitment to a world without nuclear weapons. 


© 2021 The Hill
Robert Dodge

Robert Dodge

Robert Dodge, a frequent Common Dreams contributor, writes as a family physician practicing in Ventura, California. He is the Co-Chair of the Security Committee of National Physicians for Social Responsibility and also serves as the President of Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Leaked Report Suggests Impunity for IDF Troops in Deadly Stop of Palestinian-American Elder

"This is a policy: Israel does not prosecute those responsible for harming Palestinians, thus making their lives miserable," said the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Exactly Right': Progressives Back Arizona Dems Censure of Sinema

"If you are a Democrat and you can't uphold the fundamental right to vote for all citizens... then there's a problem," said Rep. Ro Khanna.

Brett Wilkins ·


Amid Existential Threat to Reproductive Rights, Congress Urged to Act

"It's the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and if we don't fight like hell it could very well be the last," said one campaigner, who called on U.S. lawmakers to pass the Women's Health Protection Act.

Brett Wilkins ·


Black Mississippi State Senators Stage Walkout as Critical Race Theory Ban Passed

"We cannot continue to stumble into the future backwards," said one Black senator who taught for 33 years. "That's what this bill does."

Brett Wilkins ·


Buddhist Monk and Peace Activist Thích Nhất Hạnh Dead at 95

"He inspired so many good people to dedicate themselves to working for a more just and compassionate world."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo