FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Can Sandy be a Savior?

by PETER G. COHEN

The current budget crisis of the United States, amplified by the tremendous human and property losses of killer storm Sandy, may be the opportunity that people everywhere have been hoping for: the chance to eliminate the huge, costly and illegal nuclear weapons stockpiles of the United States and Russia.

As of November, 2012, New York, New Jersey and other states are reeling from the overwhelming property damage done by the storm. At this point we cannot even estimate how many billions of dollars will be required to assist the devastated areas in their rebuilding, or the new and unknown infrastructure needed to reduce the damage of such storms in the future. What we do know is that without very substantial help from the already strained federal budget this highly productive area of the U.S. will be unable to rebuild itself for a long time.

How will the Congress trim the federal budget to provide the urgently needed aid for the coastal areas? Will they cut back on Social Security and Medicare, as some have suggested, or will they prune the excessive, unusable and illegal nuclear weapons complex, which is now planning to spend “between $620 billion and $661 billion on nuclear weapons and related programs over the next decade” according to What Nuclear Weapons Cost Us,  a report from the nonpartisan Ploughshares Fund.

While a large majority of Americans have repeatedly said in polls that they want a nuclear weapons-free world, every attempt to prune the nuclear weapons budget is opposed by the Congress. Many former hawks and military leaders have said that these weapons are a liability that does not keep us safe and should be abolished. Then why does the Congress continue to defend the huge nuclear weapons budget? Because the Nuclear Weapons lobby contributes to Congressional campaigns. A report from the Center for International Policy finds that, “In the 2012 election cycle, the top 14 nuclear weapons contractors gave a total of $2.9 million to key members of Congress with decision making power over nuclear weapons spending. These firms have donated $18.7 million to these same members of Congress over the course of their careers.”

We now know that any exchange of nuclear weapons would threaten the world’s people with a nuclear winter, caused by the huge cloud of radioactive debris that would circle the Earth and reduce food crops to famine levels, as well as weakening the ozone layer, threatening the ocean’s phytoplankton and spreading radioactive fallout over large areas of the Earth. As a result, many nations have repeatedly supported resolutions for abolition at the UN General Assembly, including the latest one by 34 nations stressing the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, which was delivered in October of this year.

We, the American people, have a choice. We can continue the plan for modernizing and replacing nuclear weapons and their delivery systems to last through the end of the century, or we can immediately cancel all such plans and expenses, and sign an agreement with Russia to work jointly to reduce our huge weapons stockpiles. Once we both reach a much smaller stockpile we can demand that other nations with similar stockpiles—several nations, such as China and Israel, have approximately 300 of them—must join with us in A Nuclear Weapons Convention and take the last step to rid the world of these suicidal weapons systems. This would save the U.S. Treasury hundreds of $billions, while reducing the ever-present danger of a nuclear exchange.

Loosening the grip of the Nuclear Weapons lobby on the Congress and their choosing life-sustaining budget priorities will not happen easily or quickly. The American people must leave the armchair of denial and organize now to preserve a livable world for their children and grandchildren. It will take a consolidated peace movement with breadth and determination. But it can be done.

Now, when we so urgently need to help those living in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and to trim the federal budget at the same time, is the window of opportunity. We must seize this moment to act, or the window will close, we will return to business as usual, and at some time in the future these terrible weapons may set the Earth on fire.

Peter G Cohen, Santa Barbara, CA, is the author of www.nukefreeworld.com and other internet writing.

 

More articles by:
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and Henry the First: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail