Obama and the ongoing threat of Nuclear Weapons
Dear President Obama:
We applaud your decision to bear witness to the ghastly horrors that befell the citizens of Hiroshima, and to meet with Hibakusha. However, we deeply regret that you made no commitments to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again.
Much less than 1% of today’s nuclear arsenal could cause tens of millions of immediate casualties and put 2 billion people at risk of starvation. You recognize that removing the existential danger of nuclear weapons requires eliminating them, yet you have not acted accordingly. No nuclear disarmament negotiations are underway, the specter of a resurgent Cold War grows, and many assess that the risks of nuclear war by accident or intent are growing. All nine nuclear-armed governments squander vast resources upgrading and perpetuating nuclear arsenals which guarantee security for none, jeopardize all, and invite proliferation.
In the absence of action by nuclear-armed nations to fulfill their binding obligation to disarm, 127 nations have committed through the Humanitarian Pledge, to “efforts to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences, ” and to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.” Yet your government has boycotted the international conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons and a special UN Working Group now addressing new legal measures to deliver disarmament. The emerging prospect that nuclear-weapon-free nations will soon open negotiations for a new binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons, as all other weapons of mass destruction are banned, is the most important disarmament initiative in a generation.
Mr. President, when your administration stops doing everything it can to block a treaty banning nuclear weapons, and abandons plans to spend $1 trillion on perpetuating the US nuclear arsenal, your call for a world free of nuclear weapons will have meaning. Until then, tragically, it is empty rhetoric.