FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Don’t Arm This President with These Nukes

On September 26, the global community celebrated International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, a day designated by the United Nations (UN) to draw attention to one of its oldest goals: achieving global nuclear disarmament.

By unhappy coincidence, September 26 was also the day President Donald Trump addressed the UN Security Council, and total nuclear disarmament wasn’t exactly high on his agenda. As expected, he wants North Korea to fully abandon its arsenal (and Iran, though it doesn’t have one) — without the United States reducing its own in return.

Trump’s aggressive, bullying rhetoric was on full display throughout his remarks when he addressed the UN General Assembly the previous day. (He did dial it back a bit from last year’s UN address, when he said the United States would “totally destroy” North Korea and referred to Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man,” but maybe that’s a low bar.)

Trump has made it abundantly clear that he’s not committed to nuclear disarmament. Like other presidents before him, he has the power to unilaterally order a first nuclear strike. Rather unlike others, he’s previously asked, if we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them?

But Congress has the power to act to avert a nuclear catastrophe. In fact, a few champions in Congress have recently taken critical steps to prevent the outbreak of nuclear war.

On September 18, Representatives Ted Lieu, Adam Smith, John Garamendi, Earl Blumenauer, and Senator Ed Markey introduced a bill called the “Hold the LYNE Act,” which stands for Low-Yield Nuclear Explosive. It would “prohibit the research, development, production, and deployment of low-yield nuclear warheads for submarine-launched ballistic missiles.”

So-called “low-yield” nuclear weapons actually lower the threshold for nuclear war and increase the risk that they may actually be used.

“There’s no such thing as a low-yield nuclear war,” said Lieu in the joint press release announcing the bill. “Use of any nuclear weapon, regardless of its killing power, could be catastrophically destabilizing. It opens the door for severe miscalculation and could drag the U.S. and our allies into a devastating nuclear conflict.”

We’ve come very close to nuclear war in the past. On September 26, 1983, Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov made a split-second decision and deemed a supposed missile attack from the United States to be an error, refusing to carry out an order to counterattack and thus averting a nuclear war.

If Petrov hadn’t made that judgment, we might not even be here to advocate for a world free of nuclear weapons.

Let’s take the lessons we’ve learned from the past and use them to create a healthier, safer future for young people and future generations, so they won’t have to worry about the looming threat of nuclear war.

The president of the United States may not have marked the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The rest of us still can.

More articles by:

Olivia Alperstein is the Media Relations Manager for Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
August 26, 2019
Paul Street
“Hereby Ordered”: On Trump, Capital, Fascism, and China in a World on Fire
Marshall Auerback
Trump Never Had a Grand Strategy for China: They Were Just Tariff Tantrums
Jacques R. Pauwels
The Hitler-Stalin Pact of August 23, 1939: Myth and Reality
Robert Fisk
The Fourth Afghan War is About to Escalate
David Macaray
The Death of Political Satire
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Flying the Flag
Binoy Kampmark
Imperial Sentiments: Donald Trump, Greenland and Colonial Real Estate
Medha Kale
‘Everything has Turned Upside Down’ in Sangole
Jim Furnish
Trump Administration Proposal to Roll Back Logging Rules is Reckless
Robert Koehler
Participatory Evolution
Mel Gurtov
Trump and the Climate Crisis–a Crime Against Humanity
Jerome Irwin
Oil Pipelines and a Climate Crisis Warning from the Haida
David Stansfield
The Chosen One
Taylor Cabatu
Plan B
Elliot Sperber
The Amazon or Amazon
Weekend Edition
August 23, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Notes on Inauthenticity in a Creeping Fascist Nuthouse
Andrew Levine
Recession Now, Please
Rob Urie
Mr. Trump Goes to Kensington
Jeffrey St. Clair
Deep Time and the Green River, Floating
Robert Hunziker
Earth 4C Hotter
Kenneth Good
Congo’s Patrice Lumumba: The Winds of Reaction in Africa
Pete Dolack
The Realism and Unrealism of the Green New Deals
David Rosen
The White-Nationalist Great Fear
Kenn Orphan
The War on Indigenous People is a War on the Biosphere Itself
L. Michael Hager
What Netanyahu’s Travel Ban Has Revealed
Ramzy Baroud
Jewish Settlers Rule the Roost in Israel, But at What Price?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Is Environmental Protection Possible?
Josue De Luna Navarro
What It’s Like to Grow Up Hunted
Ralph Nader
They Don’t Make Republicans Like the Great Paul Findley Anymore!
Gary Olson
Whither the Resistance to our Capitalist Overlords?
Dean Baker
On Those Downward Jobs Revisions
Rev. William Alberts
Beware of the Gun-Lover-in-Chief
Helder F. do Vale
Brazil: From Global Leader to U.S. Lapdog
Laura Finley
Educators Actually Do “Work” in the Summer
Jim Goodman
Farmers Need a Bill of Rights
Tom Clifford
What China’s Leadership is Really Worried About: Rising Debt
Daphne Wysham
Saving the Planet Means Fighting Bipartisan Corruption
Tierra Curry
Amazon Fires Put the Planet at Risk
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Decentralize Power and Revive Regional Political Institutions
John W. Whitehead
American Apocalypse
George Wuerthner
How Agriculture and Ranching Subvert the Re-Wilding of America
Daniel Murphy
Capital in the 21st Century
Jessicah Pierre
400 Years After Slavery’s Start, No More Band-Aids
Kim C. Domenico
Finding the Comrades: Maintaining Precarious Sanity In Insane Times
Gary Leupp
“Based on the Fact She Won’t Sell Me Greenland, I’m Staying Home”
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail