Like many of you, I am deeply worried. Everything we worked so hard to achieve is under attack.
President Trump is overturning decades of bipartisan efforts that have blocked the spread of the deadliest weapons ever built. New policies coming out of the White House and Congress threaten the progress we have made in reducing nuclear arsenals at home and abroad.
They are pulling back from effective agreements that limit nuclear weapons and pouring billions of dollars into new military programs. Harsh threats and bombastic rhetoric are bringing us closer to wars in the Middle East and Northeast Asia, not building bridges toward peace and security. Their policies seem more driven by personal vendettas and narrow ideology than by any sort of strategic vision.
There is a serious risk of losing the historic nuclear agreement with Iran that rolled back and froze that nation's nuclear program. Even though Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have repeatedly supported the Iran deal, President Trump calls it "an embarrassment," "the worst deal ever made." Next month he may begin to unravel the accord by refusing to certify that Iran is complying with the agreement — even though our own intelligence agencies say they are.
Breaking our word and rejecting diplomacy will only make it harder to stop North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Threats to "totally destroy North Korea" isolate us from our allies and pull us further away from the only approach that has ever worked to freeze Pyongyang's programs — negotiations. As Ploughshares Fund grantee Jeffrey Lewis points out, we have seen this before.
In 2003 the Bush administration walked away from the Agreed Framework with North Korea that limited their nuclear program,
"Three years later, North Korea exploded its first nuclear weapon. This summer, North Korea started testing long-range missiles that can carry those nuclear weapons to cities in the United States like New York and Los Angeles. If the United States walks away from the [Iran agreement], Iran could do the same thing — only faster."
We have got to stop this madness.
Ploughshares Fund won't back down. We are more committed than ever to preventing the use and spread of these deadly weapons.
- Just this week in our Washington office, we convened a dozen of the nation's top experts on North Korea to hammer out a joint plan for freezing North Korea's nuclear and missile tests.
- We continue to lead a network of over 80 organizations and experts determined to protect the Iranian nuclear deal and prevent a new war in the Middle East.
- We are supporting dozens of groups working to block new and destabilizing nuclear weapons here in the US.
In so doing, we remain dedicated to reaching out to new communities, sharing new voices and finding new ways of building public support for a world without nuclear weapons. We need all the help we can get in order to do this critical work. Just this week, President Obama said,
"That's how progress is won — and how progress is maintained, on every issue. We have to stand up for each other, recognize that progress is never inevitable, that it often can be fragile, it's in need of constant renewal, and our individual progress and our collective progress depends on our willingness to roll up our sleeves and work, and not be afraid to work."
We should be promoting American leadership by strengthening our alliances, not abandoning them; that we should be committing American resources to protecting human rights, not leaving people vulnerable to war; and that we should be reducing the threat of nuclear weapons, not making new threats with new weapons.
With help from people like you, we will continue this fight. Please consider supporting or continuing to support this important cause.
Photo: Pexel / Nejc Košir (cc). Kotredež, Slovenia