Imagining a Nuclear Free World
Imagining a Nuclear Free World
By Phil Anderson
John Lennon’s song “Imagine” asks us to “imagine all the people living life in peace.” What we imagine shapes the way we see the world and how we behave in the world.
August 6th and August 9th are the 70th anniversaries of the U.S bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki using nuclear weapons.
As we remember these tragedies, can we imagine a nuclear weapons free world? We created these weapons of mass destruction and are the only
nation to ever use them against civilian targets. We should take responsibility for them by actively working for their abolition.
Unfortunately, we are still imagining that we need nuclear weapons. We imagine they are necessary to our national defense and safety.
We believe they helped us win the Cold War. We believe mutually assured destruction (MAD) prevented war. These myths have been discredited by many knowledgeable groups and individuals, but the myth continues.
So does the spending. President Obama began office advocating for a nuclear free world. But his administration’s proposed 2015 budget increases spending on nuclear weapons systems by 6 percent, or $445 million.
A new $687 million, 1.5 million square foot “National Security Campus” was just completed in Kansas City. Upgrades in other nuclear facilities are planned or under way. The cost of modernizing all the related delivery systems brings the total estimated cost to $1 trillion over the next 30 years.
Imagine the good that could be done in the world with $1 trillion. Imagine the education, health care, economic development, medical research, or clean energy technologies this would buy! Wasting it on weapons we can not, and must not. Using such weapons is a crime against ourselves and humanity.
We have an obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to make good faith efforts to negotiate the elimination of nuclear weapons. As our continued spending on modernization shows, we have not taken this pledge seriously. Just as we fueled the arms race during the Cold War, we are busy re-igniting a new arms race in nuclear weapons.
People have been advocating the abolition of nuclear weapons since 1946. The 2007 Nuclear Weapons Convention provides a plan to begin abolishing nuclear weapons. All countries would be prohibited from pursuing, or participating in, the development, testing, production, stockpiling, transfer, use, and threat of use of nuclear weapons.
Nuclear countries would be obligated to destroy their arsenals in a series of phases. The U.S. has not signed this treaty.
Nuclear weapons are a real threat to the safety and well being of everyone. Given the power of nuclear weapons, the environmental damage caused by their production, and the record of accidents involving them, this is not just hypothetical rhetoric.
If we can not imagine the abolition of these horrific weapons we may not have a future.
Can we imagine a world free of nuclear weapons? It is possible. But we must ACT to make it happen. We must demand our political leaders cut the spending, honor our treaty commitments, and join the Nuclear Weapons Convention.
(Editor’s Note: Following is a letter for you to send to President Obama.)
Please click on the link below to download a copy of the letter to your computer. Thank you for taking the time to send this letter to President Obama.