June 24, 2002

 

End the Nuclear Danger: An Urgent Call


by Jonathan Schell, Randall Caroline Forsberg, David Cortright

A DECADE after the end of the cold war, the peril of nuclear destruction is mounting. The great powers have refused to give up nuclear arms, other countries are producing them and terrorist groups are trying to acquire them.

POORLY GUARDED warheads and nuclear material in the former Soviet Union
may fall into the hands of terrorists. The Bush Administration is
developing nuclear "bunker busters" and threatening to use them against
nonnuclear countries. The risk of nuclear war between India and Pakistan
is grave.

DESPITE THE END of the cold war, the United States plans to keep large
numbers of nuclear weapons indefinitely. The latest US-Russian treaty,
which will cut deployed strategic warheads to 2,200, leaves both nations
facing "assured destruction" and lets them keep total arsenals (active
and inactive, strategic and tactical) of more than 10,000 warheads each.

THE DANGERS POSED by huge arsenals, threats of use, proliferation and
terrorism are linked: The nuclear powers' refusal to disarm fuels
proliferation, and proliferation makes nuclear materials more accessible
to terrorists.

THE EVENTS of September 11 brought home to Americans what it means to
experience a catastrophic attack. Yet the horrifying losses that day
were only a fraction of what any nation would suffer if a single nuclear
weapon were used on a city.

THE DRIFT TOWARD catastrophe must be reversed. Safety from nuclear
destruction must be our goal. We can reach it only by reducing and then
eliminating nuclear arms under binding agreements.

WE THEREFORE CALL ON THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA TO FULFILL THEIR COMMITMENTS UNDER THE NONPROLIFERATION TREATY TO MOVE TOGETHER WITH THE OTHER NUCLEAR POWERS, STEP BY CAREFULLY INSPECTED AND VERIFIED STEP, TO THE ABOLITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS. AS KEY STEPS TOWARD THIS GOAL, WE CALL ON THE UNITED STATES TO:

RENOUNCE the first use of nuclear weapons.

Permanently END the development, testing and production of nuclear warheads.

SEEK AGREEMENT with Russia on the mutual and verified destruction of nuclear weapons withdrawn under treaties, and increase the resources available here and in the former Soviet Union to secure nuclear warheads and material and to implement destruction.

STRENGTHEN nonproliferation efforts by ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, finalizing a missile ban in North Korea, supporting UN inspections in Iraq, locating and reducing fissile material worldwide and negotiating a ban on its production.

TAKE nuclear weapons off hairtrigger alert in concert with the other nuclear powers (the UK, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Israel) in order to reduce the risk of accidental or unauthorized use.

INITIATE talks on further nuclear cuts, beginning with US and Russian reductions to 1,000 warheads each.

 

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ORGANIZATION/PROFESSION (FOR ID ONLY) AND CONTACT INFORMATION TO URGENT CALL, C/O FOURTH FREEDOM FORUM, 11 DUPONT CIRCLE NW, 9TH FLOOR,
WASHINGTON, DC 20036. WE NEED TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS, MADE TO URGENT CALL, TO DISSEMINATE THIS CALL. PLEASE MAIL TO THE SAME ADDRESS.

THIS CALL WAS DRAFTED BY JONATHAN SCHELL, THE HAROLD WILLENS PEACE
FELLOW OF THE NATION INSTITUTE AND THE AUTHOR OF THE FATE OF THE
EARTH; RANDALL CAROLINE (RANDY) FORSBERG, DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE
FOR DEFENSE AND DISARMAMENT STUDIES AND AUTHOR OF THE "CALL TO HALT THE NUCLEAR ARMS RACE," THE MANIFESTO OF THE 1980s NUCLEAR WEAPONS FREEZE CAMPAIGN; AND DAVID CORTRIGHT, PRESIDENT OF THE FOURTH FREEDOM FORUM AND FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SANE.

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The Nation is proud to feature the full text of this Urgent Call in the
most recent issue of the magazine. You can also read the Call in its
entirety at:

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020624&s=schell2