Pope Francis Lays Out Opposition to Nuclear Weapons

December 9, 2014 | Edited by Will Saetren and Jacob Marx

Papal statement - “Nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutually assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence among peoples and states,” said Pope Francis to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. “The youth of today and tomorrow deserve far more. They deserve a peaceful world order based on the unity of the human family, grounded on respect, cooperation, solidarity and compassion. Now is the time to counter the logic of fear with the ethics of responsibility, and so foster a climate of trust and sincere dialogue.”

--“‘A world without nuclear weapons’ is a goal shared by all nations and echoed by world leaders, as well as the aspiration of millions of men and women. The future and the survival of the human family hinges on moving beyond this ideal and ensuring that it becomes a reality,” said Pope Francis. The Pope noted that “spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations” and said he remains convinced that humanity will find ways “to ensure nuclear weapons are banned once and for all.” Full statement here. (pdf) http://bit.ly/1CZVVlg

--See also: Statement from the Holy See’s delegation to the Vienna Conference here. (pdf) http://bit.ly/1sflHrV

Something’s happening in Vienna - The conference in Vienna “signals the maturing of a new, significant current in the nuclear policy debate. Government policy makers would be wise to take this new factor into account,” writes Joe Cirincione in Defense One. The conference is “generating a growing movement that could have a bigger impact on U.S. nuclear policy than many have assumed.”

--“The third Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons conference taking place this week in Vienna is the largest yet, with 800 delegates from almost 160 nations...The United States has sent an official delegation, as have the United Kingdom, India and Pakistan.” The ultimate effect of the conference is yet unclear, but the sustained public education on the catastrophic consequences of nuclear use may well change how global leaders work to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons. Full column here. http://bit.ly/1AaTjey

Coverage - “U.S., UK face nuclear disarmament pressure at Vienna meeting,” by Fredrik Dahl for Reuters. http://reut.rs/15ZKL1k

Tweet - @DarylGKimball: Wow. MT @TimMilesWright: 5 million Japanese youth call for total ban on nuclear weapons. #HINW14vienna

Tweet - @AmbKennedy_ret: Scheinman: "US stands with all those here who seek the peace & security of a world without #nuclear weapons" #HINW14

South Asia arms race - “India has embarked on a series of crucial weapons-systems tests that will result in the first deployment by air, sea and land of nuclear weapons by rival powers in Asia, in 2016…[this] would place it on rough strategic par with China, its major rival for power in South Asia and Pakistan’s key ally.”

--“The reality of an arms race in South Asia is quite evident,” said an expert at Kings College in London. “With China spreading its wings in the Indian Ocean … nuclear submarines are considered critical by India to attain a credible second-strike posture vis-a-vis China.” Full report via Tom Hussain for McClatchy. http://1.usa.gov/1ufUvsN

Uranium smugglers apprehended - “Seven people have been detained in Moldova on suspicion they smuggled uranium and mercury in a metal container from Russia to be used in a dirty bomb, police said Tuesday,” reports Corneliu Rusnac for the Associated Press. Full story here. http://abcn.ws/162WMmF

Mistrust runs deep - One of the main obstacles to a comprehensive deal over Iran’s nuclear program is overcoming “concern in Washington and Tehran over who is seen as 'winner' in negotiations,” writes Trita Parsi in Middle East Eye. “The dispute...was never just about centrifuges or breakout capabilities. It has always been a symptom of a larger geopolitical contest between the West (primarily the United States) and Iran, with roots that predate the 1979 Iranian revolution.” Read the full column here. http://bit.ly/1ugCsU1

High stakes - “Although deep divisions remain on core issues, diplomats fear a complete breakdown in talks would raise risks for all sides: advances in Iran's nuclear program, a greater danger of war, or new U.S. and European sanctions that could further batter the Iranian economy,” writes Los Angeles Times’ Paul Richter in an analysis of where negotiations stand.

--But there are also risks inherent in a comprehensive deal, and diplomats may settle for maintaining the status quo - continuing talks under a limited agreement. “It's an easy second-best solution," a former longtime Senate foreign affairs advisor said at a recent event. http://lat.ms/1ufYSEe

No money for toxic cleanup - “Cleanup deadlines sought by the state of Washington for the nation's most polluted nuclear weapons production site would require an extra $18 billion over the next 14 years and should be rejected as too expensive, the federal government said in a court filing. The U.S. Department of Justice said getting that much money for the project at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation would jeopardize other nuclear cleanup projects across the nation.” Full coverage via the Associated Press. http://abcn.ws/1zJCqHX

China’s subs - “China is preparing to arm its stealthiest submarines with nuclear missiles that could reach the U.S., cloaking its arsenal with the invisibility needed to retaliate in the event of an enemy strike,” writes David Tweed for Bloomberg News. The subs will likely conduct initial patrols by the end of this year, “giving China its first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent,” according to a report published by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Read the full story here. http://bloom.bg/1G832GA


--“The Budapest Memorandum at 20: The United States, Ukraine and Security Assurances.” Featuring Robert Einhorn, Ambassador Stephen Pifer and Oleksandr Zaytsev. Located at the Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, Saul/Zilkha Rooms. Tuesday, December 9 from 2:00 - 3:30 pm. RSVP online. http://ow.ly/FfAgI

--“Project on Nuclear Issues Winter Conference," hosted by CSIS from December 9-10. Located at 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington. Register online. http://bit.ly/1pYd6xV

--“Keynote Address at the Project on Nuclear Issues Winter Conference,” by Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, from 6:15-7:45 p.m. on December 9th at CSIS. Located at 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington. Webcast on the CSIS website. http://csis.org/

--“The U.S., Israel and the regional dimensions of an Iran nuclear deal.” A panel discussion hosted by New America. Featuring Shlomo Brom, Suzanne DiMaggio and Ilan Goldenberg. Wednesday, December 10, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.. Located at New America’s offices at 1899 L Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC, 20036. RSVP online. http://bit.ly/15OlS8U

--"Did the Nuclear Negotiations Include Iran's Ballistic Missiles?" Featuring Michael Elleman. Friday December 12 from 2:00p.m.-3:00 p.m. Located at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2121 K St, NW, Washington DC. RSVP online. http://bit.ly/12AAjft

--“Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories,” public meeting on December 15 at the Institute for Defense Analyses. Located at 4850 Mark Center Drive, Room 1301, Alexandria, VA. RSVP by 5:00 p.m. on Dec. 10 to Karen Gibson by email at crenel@hq.doe.gov.

--“Breaking the Stalemate in U.S.-South Korea Nuclear Cooperation Negotiations,” featuring Scott Snyder. From noon-1:30 p.m. on December 17 at the Global America Business Institute. Located at 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 435, Washington. RSVP to Christina Sookyung Jung by email at csjung@thegabi.com.