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
may fall into the hands of terrorists. The Bush Administration
developing nuclear "bunker busters" and threatening
to use them against
nonnuclear countries. The risk of nuclear war between India and
DESPITE THE END of the cold war, the United States plans to
numbers of nuclear weapons indefinitely. The latest US-Russian
which will cut deployed strategic warheads to 2,200, leaves both
facing "assured destruction" and lets them keep total
and inactive, strategic and tactical) of more than 10,000 warheads
THE DANGERS POSED by huge arsenals, threats of use, proliferation
terrorism are linked: The nuclear powers' refusal to disarm fuels
proliferation, and proliferation makes nuclear materials more
THE EVENTS of September 11 brought home to Americans what
it means to
experience a catastrophic attack. Yet the horrifying losses that
were only a fraction of what any nation would suffer if a single
weapon were used on a city.
THE DRIFT TOWARD catastrophe must be reversed. Safety from
destruction must be our goal. We can reach it only by reducing
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
the first use of nuclear weapons.
END the development, testing and production of nuclear warheads.
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of nuclear weapons withdrawn under treaties, and increase the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.
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.
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
talks on further nuclear cuts, beginning with US and Russian
reductions to 1,000 warheads each.
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THIS CALL WAS DRAFTED BY JONATHAN SCHELL, THE HAROLD WILLENS
FELLOW OF THE NATION INSTITUTE AND THE AUTHOR OF THE FATE OF
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
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