Our generation’s security challenge: eliminating nuclear weapons.

There are approximately 17,300 nuclear weapons in the world across nine countries.  Of these, nearly 7,700 are in the United States. 

Minuteman Missile in Silo

This is why we should pay attention to President Obama’s call to action in Berlin.  It was a call for all of us to remember that the manmade threat of extinction is still present, but within our control to change. 

Our massive stockpile of nuclear weapons was designed to fight a foe – the Soviet Union – that no longer exists. It costs between $60 – 70 billion per year to maintain this arsenal. 

In an era of fiscal stress and tight budgets, where security threats are transnational and distinct from the Cold War, what justification do we have for maintaining such a large nuclear arsenal?

It turns out, not much.

There is a consensus among senior defense and security officials that we should reshape our nuclear forces and use the financial savings to fund other national security priorities. By reshaping our nuclear arsenal, we would allow our national security strategy to redirect resources to combatting the threats of the 21st century, such as terrorism, cyber dangers, pandemics, and global warming.

Obama’s speech is not the first time a president has made this point.

Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush both recognized the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and made changes in our country’s force structure through executive decisions, reducing our nuclear arsenal by thousands of weapons.  

President Obama has followed their example by negotiating a treaty with Russia to reduce each country’s nuclear arsenals to more reasonable levels.  And he is following the Bushes’ wise precedent of making executive decisions to address the threat that nuclear weapons pose to global security.

He is doing so in close consultation with our allies in Europe and with Russia, and is basing it upon the advice of our nation’s military and security leaders. They all support the view that the size of the American nuclear arsenal today far exceeds any utility it may once have had in protecting both American and our allies’ security.

Therefore, a new round of reductions to a level up to one-third below what the U.S. will have when it reaches the New START Treaty mandated levels of 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads, as outlined by the president in Berlin, is both reasonable and smart, safeguards American security, honors our country’s commitments to our allies, and saves money for the American taxpayer. 

This announcement, which reaffirms the president’s vision of achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons that he first articulated in 2009 in Prague is a call to action for all Americans. 

And it is a call that puts our adversaries on notice as well.  The international community is clamoring for efforts to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and nuclear states in the world.  The tremendous global effort that has been put to combat both Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs – led by the United States – is the best evidence of this desire. 

Strong American leadership on this issue, as symbolized by the president’s speech, adds momentum to the efforts to prevent the proliferation of these destructive weapons. If we expect other countries to fulfill their obligations to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, the United States must live up to our own commitment to reduce our stockpiles.  As we do, the international nonproliferation regime will be strengthened and America will gain more leverage to deal with nuclear programs in places like Pakistan, North Korea and Iran.

The president’s speech however is more than a call to action.  It is also a test.  It is a test to our adversaries, to put them on notice that we are serious about changing the way the world views nuclear weapons. 

And this challenge is also a test for our nation and for humanity. Will we take the steps needed to eliminate this danger, to strengthen global security, to get our fiscal house in order, or will we give in to fear and keep the status quo, with the unending expense and danger that it presents?

This is our generation’s challenge. And it is a challenge that we must meet.

Source: 
Photo by Great Beyond

Comments

Lowering the proliferation of nuclear weapons

I was very moved to hear President Obama's continued efforts to lower nuclear arsenals in the U.S and hopefully all over the world.

A four day reconvened NPT

A four day reconvened NPT Conference to be held in Jerusalem on Monday May 12th 2014 is the circuit breaker to the Iran/West imbroglio.

The timeline is as follows...

(1) An overarching vision and plan to phase out nuclear weapons by 2025 enunciated. All nations agree and sign off on the initiative. Timeline : Pre 2013 - Waiting for the waves to part; 2013 Preparations for the conference; May 12th 2014 - Four day conference. Agreements signed. Nuclear energy fostered whilst proliferation is halted; 2014 IAEA’s annual budget expanded to $10 Billion. Staff numbers increased to 25,000. Including : Management, Inspectors, Monitors, Dismantlers (Model is Pantex plant USA) etc. IAEA structure upgraded; 2015/2016 – Inspections of all nation's facilities; 2017 to 2023– Dismantlement program in percentage wise, return the chips to the dealer fashion; Dec. 2023 – Last nuclear weapon dismantled; 2024 - Signing off ceremonies. 2025 onwards – Ongoing monitoring, oversight, management of nuclear energy industry.

(2) The core components of the Middle East jigsaw puzzle centered around Jerusalem are : The Haram al Sharif/Noble Sanctaury; The State of Israel; The West Bank/Judea and Samaria; Gaza; Jordan; Lebanon; Syria; Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Representatives of all these areas could attend the conference and be included in the ongoing deliberations. The current GDP of these areas is $1.6 Trillion. This can easily grow by more than 5% p.a. from 2015 onwards if stability prevails and a divinely mandated command and control structure is heeded. Persia will also benefit greatly. Visualise the following...It becomes possible to drive on a road from Jerusalem to Tehran in 2019; Israel, Iran, USA and Saudi Arabia play off in Group D of the 2022 Qatar World Cup; All nuclear weapons on Planet Earth have been eliminated by Dec.31st 2024.

(3) The conference would provide the forum for various past foes to meet. For so many people to sit together in Jerusalem in a spirit of friendship and with an agreed upon collective mission would meet with divine blessings.

(4) The overarching long term plan would provide the fulcrum, pivot and track for other international trust building initiatives that would need to take place after the conference.

(5) The simple act of people just sitting with each other will work wonders. There is nothing more powerful for trust building than this method.

(6) Isaiah’s swords into ploughshares prophecy becomes a reality.

P.S. Scientists from Google working in conjunction with mathematicians recently discovered that a Rubik's Cube can always be solved in twenty moves no matter how diabolical the configuration if the right algorithm was in place. They called this "The G-d Algorthm".

nuclear weapons

Promising words from our President in his Berlin speach on nuclear arms. Let's hope he keeps focused on reduction of this major threat to human kind, living up to his promises to make the world safer from the incalculable danger these weapons represent.

REDUCING NUCLEAR STOCK PILES

AMEN

world nuclear weapons

I'm all for eliminating all the world's 17,000 nuclear weapons...which includes 7000
in the US. Humanity's continuance is in the balance. This must be in stages; a first stage has already been proposed between Russia and the US.
I recognize that the generals and "defence" industries will adamantly oppose such elimination...as destroying their jobs...retrain them for humanitarian work such as saving lives.

Can't Nuclear Costs Savings Go to Something Non-Military?

Joel Rubin writes: "There is a consensus among senior defense and security officials that we should reshape our nuclear forces and use the financial savings to fund other national security priorities."

The consensus appears to be -- not surprising since it represents the view of members of the military establishment -- that war/military spending should never go down. But the U.S. already spends more money on its military than the next 14 highest-military-spending countries in the world combined. This is not necessary. It is not a plan for "defense" but rather to fund a military capability of world domination.

If we succeed in saving millions by reducing our nuclear arsenal, the savings should go to fund education, health, jobs, and not unnecessary military expenditures.

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