Press the Button
Explore “The Shadow of Oppenheimer” with this weekly podcast produced by Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. The atomic bomb changed the world. We look at the radiation-exposed lives that exist in the shadow Oppenheimer’s nuclear legacy and how pop culture idolizes the man over the shadow.
We're not quite done with Oppenheimer yet! In this bonus episode, Ploughshares Fund President Dr. Emma Belcher sits down with Charles Oppenheimer, grandson of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The two discuss how growing up in New Mexico, the site of the Trinity Test, and being an Oppenheimer shaped his views on nuclear weapons. They also discussed how the film helped organize and raise awareness of those working on nuclear elimination, as well as bringing nuclear issues back into the public eye.
In the years between Oppenheimer the man and Oppenheimer the movie, nuclear weapons have carved out a lasting place for themselves in popular culture. These depictions are not just plot points—they’re opportunities to educate and call for action.
Guests include Alex Wellerstein (Nuclear Weapons Historian and Professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology) and John Pope (Chief Audience Officer of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists).
It was only three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima that another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. In the years since, those impacted have been able to transform grief into a lasting legacy through their stories and art.
Guests include Dr. Masao Tomonaga (Nagasaki Hibakusha and former Director of the Japanese Red Cross Nagasaki Atomic Hospital) and Ravi Garla (Strategic Communications Consultant at the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
The Bomb. The Aftermath. The Cover-up. And everything after.
Guests include Dr. Yuki Miyamoto (DePaul University and second generation Hiroshima Hibakusha) and Lesley M.M. Blume (journalist, historian, and author of Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed it to the World).
The US dropped the first atomic bomb on itself. And then they called it the Trinity Test.
Guests include Tina Cordova (Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium), Mary Martinez White (Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium), and Dr. Joseph Shonka (Senior health physicist and nuclear engineer).
Does Oppenheimer have a post-credit scene? Yes, and you’re living it. Hosts Angela Kellett and Jacqueline Hsing review Christopher Nolan’s film Oppenheimer and discuss what’s fact, what’s fiction, and what’s missing from the narrative.
Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is officially out, so it’s time to travel back to 1945 and examine who was left behind in the pursuit of a false sense of security. This story starts with one man: J. Robert Oppenheimer. But the people affected total in the millions. And the fallout of that decision continues to this day.
Ploughshares Fund’s podcast is back for its second season titled “The Shadow of Oppenheimer.” Our hosts Angela Kellett and Jacqueline Hsing are joined by nuclear policy experts in the field this week to give an understanding of what you need to know ahead of (or after) watching the film Oppenheimer. These nuclear policy experts explore how modern nuclear weapons have increased in capacity and destruction compared to their predecessors, the amount of money going into the US nuclear stockpile compared to compensation programs for radiation-exposed people, and how the nuclear field is mobilizing in response to Nolan’s Oppenheimer.
Guests include Matt Korda (Federation of American Scientists), Allen Hester (Friends Committee on National Legislation), Istra Fuhrmann (Peace and Security Funders Group), and Dr. Emma Belcher (Ploughshares Fund).
This week, Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinder Consortium and sixth-generation native New Mexican, has the microphone in the final episode of this season.
In this conversation with Ploughshares Fund President Emma Belcher, Tina Cordova discusses the financial damage that goes hand-in-hand with the physical and emotional toll that impacted communities experience, how these are passed down through generations of families, and how the effects of the Trinity Test — the first ever nuclear weapons test — is still felt today by those in New Mexico.
And please stay tuned for Season 2 of Press the Button, titled “Shadow of Oppenheimer”.
Continue hearing the story of Hanford and Fukushima Daiichi downwinders with Trisha Thompson Pritikin and Dr. Yuki Miyamoto. In part two of this conversation, they discuss the generational health effects passed down from radiation exposure and the litigation process the Fukushima Daiichi downwinders are currently undergoing.
This week, Trisha Thompson Pritikin and Dr. Yuki Miyamoto have the microphone. In part one of this conversation, they discuss the parallels between the Hanford and the Fukushima Daiichi downwinders, and how radioactive iodine can impact the body. Trisha Thompson Pritikin is a Hanford Downwinder and author of the book The Hanford Plaintiffs. Dr. Yuki Miyamoto is a second generation Hiroshima Hibakusha and an associate professor at DePaul University, where she uses comparative ethical framework to examine nuclear discourse.
This week, Jasmine Owens from the Physicians for Social Responsibility has the microphone. In past episodes, we’ve discussed how nuclear frontline communities are often indigenous or comprised mainly of people of color. Jasmine Owens goes beyond these conversations to answer the overarching question: how can the anti-nuclear community become more equitable?
This week, Mari Faines from Global Zero and Haleema Saadia, Lecturer at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML), have the microphone. It’s not often discussed how racism intersects with our security priorities and how more often than not they are set at the expense of people of color. And when it is, the focus gets stuck on individuals rather than the underlying systemic inequalities that give power and privilege to certain voices. In this conversation, Mari Faines and Haleema Saadia discuss how racism manifests in nuclear weapons policy, and how we can address head on the institutional issues that plague nuclear weapons policy and the entire security structure.
This episode, Lilly Adams, senior outreach coordinator at the Union of Concerned Scientists and co-founder of Nuclear Voices has the microphone. Lilly Adams is one of the many advocates who are bringing voices impacted by nuclear weapons to light and pushing for legislation to address these issues. In past episodes, we’ve talked about compensation for nuclear harm that are set to be expired if action isn’t taken — Lilly Adams pinpoints what exact obstacles are in the way and how we can better engage impacted communities in a more meaningful and genuine manner.
This week, Benetick Kabua Maddison, Executive Director of Marshallese Educational Initiative, has the microphone. More than 15,000 Marshallese live in northwest Arkansas — the largest community of Marshallese people outside the Marshall Islands. Benetick Kabua Maddison discusses how the United States’ nuclear testing program in the Pacific resulted in this mass migration and why the Compact of Free Association (COFA), the agreement between the US and Marshall Islands designed in part to mitigate damages from nuclear testing, must be re-negotiated so the Marshallese people can receive justice and the resources they were promised.
On this week’s episode, Mary Dickson, a radiation-exposed person harmed by nuclear testing, has the microphone. She discusses the lack of visibility that many downwinders face, the physical and mental toll caused by having to continuously advocate for oneself and others, and why the fight for justice is nowhere near over.
This week, the microphone is passed to Selina Leem, climate change activist and Marshall Islands native. From 1946-1958, the US detonated 67 atomic bombs on the Marshall Islands, resulting in disastrous health, environmental, and cultural consequences that the Marshallese people are still burdened with today. Leem shares her first-hand experience of growing up with the consequences of this nuclear legacy and climate change, and how this has all shaped her activism.
This season on Press the Button, we’re handing the microphone to members of communities impacted by nuclear weapons so they can share their stories and their experiences the way they want to tell it.
This episode features Shampa Biswas, Professor of Politics at Whitman College and a 2022 Ploughshares Fund Equity Rises grantee. She is working to transform nuclear studies by putting race, colonialism, gender, disability, ecological thinking, and intersectionality right at the center of that study. She explains how intersectional thinking in nuclear policy changes the nature of the conversation, why current thinking surrounding the concept of security can be dangerous, and the ways in which the nuclear field can engage with young people.
February marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal and unjust invasion of Ukraine. In this special report, Tom Collina sits down with Rose Gottemoeller, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO, to talk about the New START Treaty and Russia’s move to suspend the treaty. Alex Hall also talks with Andrea Gittleman, the policy director at the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. She talks about how nuclear weapons have enabled Russia to violate human rights in Ukraine.
In early February, the world watched as a Chinese “spy balloon” floated across the United States, sparking a furor that led President Biden to postpone a high-level US visit to Beijing. This week, Tom Collina talks with Sahil Shah, senior fellow and program manager at the Council on Strategic Risks. He discusses the balloon, the postponement of the US visit, and how this event affects Chinese threat perceptions. On Early Warning, Alex Hall talks with Connor Murray from Council for a Livable World. They discuss prospects for further New START negotiations and the potential fall-out if US and Russia fail to find consensus before the treaty expires.
After nine years as Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Beatrice Fihn is stepping down. She talks with Ploughshares President Emma Belcher to reflect on her time leading the organization, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and her hopes for the future. On Early Warning, Lauren Billet sits down with Tong Zhao, senior fellow at Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Program. He discusses the leaked memo by a high-ranking US general predicting a war between the US and China by 2025 and how it furthers the narrative of the “China threat”.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ have set this year’s clock at 90 seconds to midnight — the closest to midnight it has ever been. Why is the clock so close to midnight and how do we come back from the brink? To answer these questions, Tom Collina talks with Dr. Rachel Bronson, President and CEO of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. On Early Warning, Angela Kellett sits down with Lilly Adams, senior outreach coordinator at the Union of Concerned Scientists. They discuss reports that officers who worked in a nuclear missile base have been diagnosed with blood cancer and how nuclear weapons have a long history of negative impacts on people.
We’re now halfway through the Biden Administration’s first term, so it’s time to take stock of the Administration’s national security and nuclear policies. Tom Collina sits down with Matt Duss, former foreign policy advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP). They discuss Biden’s foreign policy over the past two years. On Early Warning, Alex Hall talks with Dr. Ellen Kim, deputy director of the Korea Chair at The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She discusses South Korean President Yoon’s recent remarks that South Korea might consider developing its own nuclear arsenal.
As the war in Ukraine spills from 2022 into 2023, Tom Collina sits down with Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon, PhD student from the University of Pennsylvania, to discuss ongoing developments. She talks about what’s happening in the war in Ukraine right now, what we could expect in the coming year, and how the crisis is turning into a long-term stand-off. On Early Warning, Lauren Billet talks to Marylia Kelley, Executive Director of Tri-Valley CAREs. They discuss President Eisenhower’s military industrial complex speech and where we currently see unprecedented spending on the military and nuclear weapons development.
To start off the new year, Tom Collina sits down with Ankit Panda, Stanton Senior Fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the author of Kim Jong Un and the Bomb: Survival and Deterrence in North Korea. He discusses Kim’s plans to increase the production of nuclear weapons and what kind of US diplomatic efforts we might see in response. On Early Warning, Angela Kellett talks with John Pope, Chief Audience Officer at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. They discuss the historical significance of the Doomsday Clock as the Bulletin prepares to unveil this year’s clock setting on January 24th.
…and that’s a wrap! Join co-hosts Tom Collina and Lauren Billet as they cover their favorite interviews and stories from the past year. And as an end of the year treat, enjoy a highlight reel that takes you through some of the biggest stories quote by quote.
Since invading Ukraine, Russian President Vladmir Putin has relied on nuclear threats to deter Western intervention and signal his commitment to this war. Ploughshares Fund President Dr. Emma Belcher talks with Dr. Heather Williams, director of the Project on Nuclear Issues and a senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). They discuss the role of nuclear deterrence in the war in Ukraine, whether the war has shifted the current thinking on deterrence theory, and possible pathways for arms control. On Early Warning, Alex Hall recognizes Human Rights Day with Raeghn Draper, associate partner for mobilization & partnerships at Global Zero. They discuss the human costs of nuclear weapons and how the nuclear abolition movement can learn from other social justice movements.
Revisit Press the Button LIVE: Nuclear Policy in Crisis with us — this time with Ploughshares Fund President Emma Belcher and Mallory Stewart, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance. Stewart discusses the Nuclear Posture Review, New START, China’s nuclear arsenal, and many other issues. On Early Warning, Angela Kellett speaks with Jessica Sleight, Partner for Strategy, Policy & Partnerships at Global Zero. They discuss Russia’s decision to postpone talks on New START, which is set to expire in 2026, and how Russia’s war in Ukraine has impacted arms control.
Hear more from Ploughshares Fund’s annual policy conference, Press the Button LIVE: Nuclear Policy in Crisis! This week, listen to Ploughshares Fund Executive Director Elizabeth Warner talk with The Chair of the Elders and Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson. She discusses disarmament strategy, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and words of wisdom for the next generation of advocates.
Join us for a recap of Press the Button LIVE: Nuclear Policy in Crisis! Ploughshares Fund President Emma Belcher sits down with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi to discuss a range of topics: safeguarding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, combating misinformation, and the complexity of reaffirming the Iran Nuclear Deal.
The last remaining US-Russia arms control treaty, New START, is set to expire in 2026. This week, Tom Collina talks with Jessica Rogers, impact fellow at the Federation of American Scientists. She discusses the importance of New START, what happens if we fail to replace it, and how we can save arms control. On Early Warning, Alex Hall talks with John Carl Baker, Nuclear Field Coordinator and Senior Program Officer at Ploughshares Fund. He discusses North Korea’s recent missile tests and the prospects for diplomacy.
This week, Ploughshares Fund President Emma Belcher talks with Tom Wright, senior director for strategy at the National Security Council. He discusses the Biden Administration’s National Security Strategy, Ukraine’s impact on the strategy, and the strategy it outlines towards Russia and China On Early Warning, Tom Collina speaks with Monica Montgomery from Council for a Livable World. She discusses the upcoming midterms and what impact they might have on US military assistance to Ukraine.
Big news: Biden’s long-awaited Nuclear Posture Review is finally out! This week, Tom Collina talks with Jessica Sleight and Jon Wolfsthal from Global Zero. They review Biden’s nuclear weapons policy, and discuss where it fell short and how it can be improved. On Early Warning, Angela Kellett sits down with Scott Roecker, Vice President of the Nuclear Material Security Program at the Nuclear Threat Initiative. He discusses Russia’s unsubstantiated allegation that Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb.
This week, Tom Collina speaks with Gregory Kulacki from the Union of Concerned Scientists on US-China relations. Topics include: China’s Party Congress, the effects of the war in Ukraine on US-China relations, and the new US National Security Strategy. On Early Warning, Lauren Billet talks with Donna Farvard, national organizing director at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). She discusses the protests for women’s rights in Iran and what NIAC is doing to combat misinformation. (CW: mention of sexual assault threats.)
Amid Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling, what exactly makes a nuclear weapon “tactical” — and is that even the right word to use? This week, Tom Collina talks with Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. He corrects the many misperceptions of “tactical” nuclear weapons and discusses how Russia could use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. On Early Warning, Lauren Billet sits down with Allen Hester, who leads the Friends Committee on National Legislation’s Nuclear Disarmament and Pentagon spending portfolio. He discusses the Biden Administration’s newly released National Security Strategy and its implications for the long-awaited Nuclear Posture Review.
Sixty years ago this month, the US and Soviet Union came close to the brink of nuclear war during a tense 13-day stand-off known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. So how did we get that close? How did we successfully de-escalate? Tom Collina discusses this historical event with Dr. Tom Vaughan, lecturer at Aberystwyth University and author of “Nuclear war: does it take luck or reasoning to avoid it? Lessons from the Cuban missile crisis, 60 years on”. On Early Warning, Alex Hall talks with Esther Im, program manager at the National Committee on North Korea. She discusses why we’re seeing an increase in North Korea missile tests how likely it is that a nuclear missile test is forthcoming.
NASA hits a bullseye: this week, Tom Collina sits down with Dr. Laura Grego, senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. She discusses NASA’s recent (and successful) DART mission to hit an asteroid in space and the implications for nuclear policy. On Early Warning, Angela Kellett talks with Istra Fuhrmann and Alex Toma of The Peace and Security Funders Group. They join the podcast to discuss their recent Chronicles of Philanthropy article: Nuclear Weapons Are an Ever-Present Danger — and Grant Makers Need to Pay Attention.
The war in Ukraine takes another left turn as Russian President Vladimir Putin makes more explicit nuclear threats: this week, Tom Collina sits down with Jon Wolfsthal, senior advisor at Global Zero and author of the sub-stack newsletter BoomBoomBoom. They discuss Putin’s nuclear threats, the fine line the Biden Administration has to walk, and how to avoid further escalation. On Early Warning, Alex Hall talks with Sara Haghdoosti, executive director of Win Without War. She discusses the nationwide protests in Iran over governmental restrictions on women’s dress, which erupted after Mahsa Amini died in police custody after being arrested by the morality police for allegedly breaking Iran’s policy on hijabs.
The war in Ukraine may be entering a decisive new phase. On this episode, Tom Collina speaks with Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon at the University of Pennsylvania to discuss Ukraine’s recent counter-offensive, how Russia might respond, and whether the tide of the war has turned. On Early Warning, Lauren Billet sits down with Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative and a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. She discusses recent developments in reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and the potential progress that could be made at the UN General Assembly in New York.
On the Morning You Wake Part 2: Press the Button re-visits the new virtual reality experience exploring Hawai’i’s 2018 false nuclear alarm. This time, Tom Collina talks with Cynthia Lazaroff, founder and director of Women Transforming Our Nuclear Legacy, and Ray Acheson, director of Disarmament at the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. On Early Warning, Alex Hall sits down with Colleen Moore, advocacy director at Women Cross DMZ. She discusses the recent developments on the Korean peninsula, which includes the resumption of South Korean drills and the Biden Administration’s decision to extend Trump’s ban prohibiting US passport holders from entering North Korea for one year.
Take a look inside Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia power plant: Tom Collina talks with Dr. Cindy Vestergaard, senior fellow and director of the Nuclear Safeguards program at the Stimson Center. She discusses the UN Inspector’s visit to the Russia-controlled Zaporizhzhia power plant in Ukraine and why it matters. On Early Warning, Angela Kellett speaks with Dr. Angela Stent, a senior non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of Putin’s World: Russia Against the West and With the Rest. She discusses Mikhail Gorbachev’s passing and the legacy he left behind
After four weeks, the NPT Review Conference concluded without consensus, with Russia blocking approval for the final document. Tom Collina sits down with Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova from the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation to discuss what this setback to RevCon means for the future of the NPT and arms control. On Early Warning, Lauren Billet speaks with Dr. Alan Robock, climate scientist and professor from Rutgers University. His new research paper with Dr. Lili Xia warns us that there is no such thing as a limited nuclear war. He discusses the key findings of the report and the humanitarian and environmental consequences that will result from a nuclear conflict between two states.
In early August, the FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home for classified documents, some of which may be related to nuclear weapons. So what kind of nuclear information could Trump have taken? Tom Collina sits down with Alex Wellerstein, author of Restricted Data: The History of Nuclear Secrecy in the United States. He discusses the FBI’s recent search, what nuclear information may be involved, and whether former President Trump could be prosecuted. On Early Warning, Alex Hall sits down with Laura Rozen, member of the editorial board of Just Security and writer of the Diplomatic substack newsletter. She discusses the latest developments to revive the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal and the US’s and Iran’s responses to the new EU proposal.
Nuclear risk — what is it and how is it assessed? Ploughshares Fund President Dr. Emma Belcher discusses these questions with Dr. Patricia Lewis, director of the International Security program at Chatham House. On Early Warning, Lauren Billet is joined by Shannon Bugos, senior policy analyst at the Arms Control Association. She discusses Russia’s decision to suspend inspections under New Start and what it means for future arms control dialogue between the US and Russia.
On this week’s episode, we honor the late Stimson Center co-founder Michael Krepon with an archived interview, featuring Lorely Umayam and former Ploughshares Fund Program Director Michelle Dover. They discuss the evolution of the nuclear policy field and how the practitioners should respond in the face of challenges. On Early Warning, Alex Hall is joined by Dr. Luis Rodriguez, Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at CISAC, to discuss the 10th Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which is taking place this month at the UN.
In 2018, a false missile alert threw Hawaii into mass panic. Four years later, the lived experiences and voices of people on that day can be explored through the new immersive virtual reality documentary, On the Morning You Wake. Tom Collina sits down with Mike Brett, Emmy-award winning director and co-creator of On the Morning You Wake, to discuss the making of the documentary and its importance. On Early Warning, Alex Hall talks with Jessica Drun, non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global China Hub. She discusses House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned Taiwan trip and the controversy surrounding it.
What do the nuclear policy field and the reproductive justice movement have in common? Lauren Billet talks about this topic with Yasmeen Silva, organizer, activist, and national field manager at Population Connection. She also touches on the dynamics between gender & power and how these dynamics manifest within the nuclear policy field. On Early Warning, Tom Collina sits down with Alex Wellerstein from the Stevens Institute of Technology. He breaks down New York City’s recent PSA that describes what you should do during a nuclear attack on the city.
The fistbump seen ‘round the world: Tom Collina discusses Biden’s recent trip to the Middle East with Trita Parsi, executive vice president at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Parsi covers the purpose of Biden’s trip and what it means for US diplomacy efforts. On Early Warning, Angela Kellett sits down with Dr. Cheryl Harrison, assistant professor in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at Lousiana State University and lead researcher of a new paper that investigates the impact of nuclear weapons on the climate.
A shift in NATO strategy? Tom Collina sits down with Max Bergmann, director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He recaps the recent NATO summit in Madrid, and discusses how the war in Ukraine will affect its strategy and the alliance’s relationship with the US. On Early Warning, Alex Hall talks with Sanam Vakil, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House. She discusses the last round of indirect talks to return to the Iran nuclear deal held in Doha, and prospects for what comes next.
On this week’s episode, take a listen to Ploughshares Fund President Emma Belcher’s conversation with Fiona Hill, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Hill discusses the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s nuclear threats. On Early Warning, Lauren Billet talks with Emma Claire Foley, Senior Associate for Research & Policy at Global Zero. She discusses her new report on the real cost of ICBMs and discusses pathways for moving beyond these dangerous weapons.
On this week’s episode, take a listen to Tom Collina’s Action Now panel that aired at this year’s Chain Reaction gala. This panel features Jamal Abdi from NIAC, Istra Furhmann from FCNL, and Sara Haghdoosti from Win Without War. Topics include: the Iran nuclear deal, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, and the war in Ukraine. On Early Warning, Alex Hall talks to Alicia Sanders-Zakre, the policy and research coordinator at ICAN. She discusses the events in Vienna last week surround the first meeting of state parties to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, including the ICAN Ban Forum.
Can the Iran Deal be saved? Tom Collina is joined by Negar Mortazavi, Iranian-American journalist and host of the Iran podcast. She discusses the stalled negotiations to revive the Iran Deal and whether progress is possible. On Early Warning, Lauren Billet sits down with Hans Kristensen, associate senior fellow at SIPRI and the director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists. He discusses his new report on the world’s nuclear arsenal and what we should take away from his findings.
Nuclear policy work in the time of COVID: Ploughshares Fund President Dr. Emma Belcher sits down with Lovely Umayam, a nuclear nonproliferation expert, writer, and founder of Bombshelltoe Policy and Arts Collective, and Elisa Reverman, PhD candidate at Georgetown University and occasional illustrator. They discuss their project, Lifelines, a collection of personal reflections about the experiences of nuclear policymakers and technical practitioners during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Early Warning, Tom Collina talks with Sahil Shah, policy fellow at the European Leadership Network. He discusses the IAEA’s criticism of Iran for failing to cooperate with an investigation into its nuclear activities and the country’s response.
On May 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his annual victory day speech, with many looking to see if it would give any hints to his approach towards Ukraine. Emma Belcher sits down to discuss this speech with Tom Nichols, contributing writer at the Atlantic and author of its newsletter, “Peacefield”. He also discusses Putin’s nuclear threats and the lessons of the Ukraine conflict for nuclear policy. On Early Warning, Lauren Billet talks with Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association. She discusses the leaked IAEA report that indicates that Iran has amassed enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon for the first time.
A May 23rd press conference in Japan marks the third time President Biden has stated that he would defend Taiwan militarily, breaking long-standing US policy. While these statements have always been walked back by Biden’s staff, it begs the question: what really is Biden’s Taiwan policy? Tom Collina discusses this topic with James Lee, postdoctoral research associate at the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. On Early Warning, Alex Hall talks with Erin Rosenberg, lawyer and visiting scholar at the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. She discusses the recent convictions of Russian soldiers who pled guilty for war crimes in Ukraine.
Finland and Sweden appear to be on their way to NATO membership, causing vocal opposition from Turkey and a more muted response from Russia. Tom Collina talks with Charles Kupchan, senior fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations and professor at Georgetown University. He discusses NATO expansion, the war in Ukraine, and what it all means for the future of diplomacy with Russia. On Early Warning, Hale Fellow Angela Kellett sits down with Nastaran Far, former Win Without War policy & advocacy fellow. She discusses her podcast miniseries “Calling Others” which features stories from Southwest Asian and North African American creatives and advocates.
Why hasn’t the US rejoined the Iran Deal? Ploughshares President Emma Belcher sits down with Peter Beinart, Professor at the City University of New York. He discusses his latest op-ed in the New York Times, where he criticizes the Biden Administration for its hesitancy to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal. On Early Warning, Lauren Billet talks with Melissa Hanham, an affiliate of the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation. She discusses the reports that North Korea may be gearing up to conduct nuclear tests in the coming weeks.
This week, Ploughshares Fund’s Hale Fellow Angela Kellett sits down with Shalonda Spencer, Executive Director of Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS). In honor of Mother’s Day, she discusses the burden that is often imposed by nuclear weapons and security issues on women and children. On Early Warning, Tom Collina is joined by Ellie Geranmayeh, senior policy fellow at the European Council for Foreign Relations. She discusses the four year anniversary of Trump’s withdraw from the Iran deal and the actions the Biden Administration should take on the JCPOA now.
Delfin Vigil interviews Deann Borshay Liem, Emmy-Award winning film producer & director of Crossings. She discusses her new documentary that follows a group of women peacemakers across the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. On Early Warning, Tom Collina sits down with Gregory Kulacki, China Project Manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He talks about China’s nuclear program, and deconstructs the belief that the US is “falling behind” in an arms race with China.
Is the war in Ukraine changing public attitudes and perceptions about nuclear weapons? Tom Collina explores this topic with Dr. Lauren Sukin, MacArthur nuclear security postdoctoral fellow at Standford University Center for International Security and Cooperation, and Dr. Alexander Lanoszka, assistant professor in the department of political science at the Balsillie School for International Affairs at the University of Waterloo in Canada. On Early Warning, Lauren Billet sits down with Lilly Adams, Senior Research Coordinator at the Union of Concerned Scientists Global Security Program. She discusses the importance of renewing the soon-to-be expired Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which provides one-time compensation for those suffering from illnesses caused by nuclear testing.
On March 9, 2022, India launched a cruise missile into Pakistan by mistake. Tom Collina discusses this incident with Matt Korda, senior research associate and project manager for the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. On Early Warning, Alex Hall is joined by Monica Montgomery, advocacy coordinator at the Council for a Livable World and Research Analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation. She discusses the proposed Pentagon budget and how it affects our nuclear priorities.
How are our nuclear weapons choices decided? Who gets a say in making the knowledge that is used to justify these choices? Emma Belcher discusses these questions with Dr. Benoit Pelopidas, founding director of the Nuclear Knowledges program at Sciences Po (CERI) in Paris. On Early Warning, Alex Hall sits down with Dr. Bridget Conley, research director at the World Peace Foundation. She discusses how civilians are protected under the laws of war, and the intersection between nuclear weapons and genocide.
It’s a curtain call for co-host Michelle Dover. On her last Press the Button episode, Dover is joined by Ploughshares Fund President Emma Belcher and fellow co-host Tom Collina. They quiz Dover on her favorite moments on the podcast and her personal journey in the nuclear policy field. On Early Warning, co-host Tom Collina is joined by Emma Claire Foley, senior associate for research and policy at Global Zero. She walks through how nuclear policy has changed since Obama’s Prague speech and what we’ll most likely see from the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review.
On this week’s episode, Ploughshares Fund President Emma Belcher sits down with Dr. Maria Rost Rublee, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at Monash University. She discusses the myths and misconceptions of Ukraine’s nuclear weapons history & what we can learn from this now. On Early Warning, Michelle Dover is joined by Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, visiting fellow at the European Council of Foreign Relations. He discusses one of the last hurdles to the Iran Deal: Iran’s demand that the US rescind its foreign terrorist designation on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, which was placed by the Trump Administration in 2019.
Don’t look up but do tune into this week’s special bonus episode: Delfin Vigil sits down with David Sirota, Academy Award nominee and co-writer of the Netflix sci-fi comedy Don’t Look Up. He discusses the inspiration behind the movie and the reasoning behind interspersing references to nuclear war throughout the film.
What does security mean to you? How does gender intersect and affect our perception of security? Co-host Michelle Dover speaks with Dr. Alexi Drew, senior analyst at Rand Europe and Anuradha Damale, policy fellow at BASIC, on these topics. On Early Warning, co-host Tom Collina is joined by Sara Haghdoosti, executive director of Win Without War. She brings the latest updates on the Iran Deal and what it will take to re-seal the deal.
The conflict in Ukraine has turned into a massive humanitarian crisis. Co-host Michelle Dover is joined by Negar Tayyar, co-founder and director of Global Whole Being Fund, a global grant making body dedicated to supporting people on the move. She discusses the international response to the crisis and how listeners can help. On Early Warning, co-host Tom Collina is joined by Dr. Sanam Vakil, Deputy Director of the Middle East - North Africa program at Chatham House. She discusses the newest hiccup to re-sealing the Iran Deal — Russia’s demand that Western sanctions will not harm Moscow’s trade with Iran.
Deciphering Putin’s nuclear threats: co-host Tom Collina sits down with Jon Wolfsthal, former senior director at the National Security Council during the Obama administration, and current senior advisor at Global Zero and member of the Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He discusses what Putin’s heightened nuclear alert means and the risks involved. On Early Warning, Alex Hall is joined by Sara Sirota, a reporter at The Intercept. She covers the upcoming nuclear posture review and what changes might be made as a result of Russian’s invasion of Ukraine.
What’s happening in Ukraine? This question is explored and answered in this very special episode hosted by Ploughshares Fund President Emma Belcher. She is joined by Dr. Kristin Ven Bruusgaard, assistant professor and postdoctoral fellow of political science at the University of Oslo and a member of the Oslo nuclear project.
On this week’s episode, co-hosts Tom Collina and Michelle Dover discuss the latest updates and news on Ukraine in an extended introduction that focuses on whether there is a rising nuclear threat that is emerging from the war.
Tom Collina also sits down with Jasmine Owens and Mari Faines from Physicians for Social Responsibility. They discuss their work for the Demand Access campaign, which focuses on how the nuclear policy community can build power and connect with other social justice movements.
Get updated on Ukraine: co-host Tom Collina is joined by Kimberly St. Julian Varnon, who navigates the evolving situation of the Ukraine-Russia border crisis. She is a PhD student in history at the University of Pennsylvania and holds a master's in Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian studies from Harvard University. On Early Warning, Alex Hall sits down with Raeghn Draper, activist & partnership and mobilization associate at Beyond the Bomb. They discuss the connection between nuclear weapons and racial justice, and how you can get involved.
Inside Kazakhstan’s nuclear history: on this week’s episode, co-host Michelle Dover sits down with Togzhan Kassenova, non-resident fellow at the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She discusses her newly released book, “Atomic Steppe: How Kazakhstan Gave up the Bomb”. On Early Warning, co-host Tom Collina is joined by Sara Haghdoosti, executive director of Win Without War. She discusses the possible outcomes of the Iran nuclear talks and the Congressional battle lines that may be drawn over this issue.
On this week's episode, co-host Michelle Dover sits down with Michael Krepon, co-founder and a senior fellow at the Stimson Center. They discuss his latest book, “Winning and Losing the Nuclear Peace: the rise, demise, and revival of arms control" which offers a comprehensive look at arms control.
On Early Warning, co-host Tom Collina sits down with Anatol Lieven, a senior research fellow on Russia and Europe at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He discusses the U.S. and NATO's response to Russian demands and diplomatic solutions to end the crisis in Ukraine.
Where does the Catholic Church stand on nuclear weapons? Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe joins co-host Tom Collina to discuss the Church’s historical advocacy of nuclear disarmament and his new pastoral letter urging the global abolition of such weapons. On Early Warning, co-host Michelle Dover sits down with Katrina vanden Heuvel, editorial director and publisher for The Nation, who is also involved with the American Committee on US-Russia Accord. She discusses the current topic headlining in the news: elevated tensions in Ukraine.
President Biden has now been in office for one year; Matt Duss, Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders, joined co-host Tom Collina to reflect on Biden’s foreign policy decisions over the course of this year. Topics include: US military policy and withdrawal from Afghanistan. On Early Warning, Tom Collina takes double duty as co-host and sits down with Sharon Squassoni, co-chair of the Science & Security Board at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. She discusses the Doomsday clock and why it was decided to keep it at 100 seconds to midnight.
It’s the first anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and to celebrate, co-host Michelle Dover sits down with Ambassador Elayne Whyte, former Costa Rican representative to the UN in Geneva, where she presided over the 2017 conference that negotiated and adopted the TPNW. On this special episode, she reflects on the treaty and discusses the path forward.
This week, Emma Belcher sits down with Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer, Director of the Oslo Nuclear Project. She discusses efforts to roll back nuclear programs in Iraq & Iran, and US-centric biases when it comes to nuclear weapons policy.
On Early Warning, Michelle Dover is joined by Melissa Hanham, an affiliate of Stanford Center for International Security & Cooperation. Hanham discusses recent North Korean missile test and whether sanctions play a role in preventing nuclear proliferation.
In this special bonus episode, co-host Tom Collina sits down with Dr. Lisa Ruth Rand, Assistant Professor of History at CalTech. She discusses ASATs, space junk, our dependence on satellites, and what all that means for the possibility of space warfa
Talk isn’t cheap and this week’s guest tells us why. Co-host Michelle Dover is joined by Mari Faines, Director of Communications & Outreach at PSR. She discusses what intersectionality means for the nuclear field and how we can make it happen.
On Early Warning, Dover takes double duty as co-host and sits down with Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, Director of IONP at the Vienna Center for Disarmament & Nonproliferation. She discusses the 3rd postponement of the NPT conference & the unrest in Kazakhstan.
It’s the first episode of 2022!
Ploughshares Fund President Emma Belcher is joined by John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto Citizen Lab where he researches malware, phishing, and disinformation. He discusses the mounting issue of targeted disinformation campaigns being used to shape environments of policymakers or other influential people.
What nuclear news caught your eye this year?
Taiwan is increasingly a source of conflict between the US & China, and there are some who believe that a military conflict could arise over this issue. Here to talk with co-host Tom Collina about Taiwan is James Lee, a post-doc research associate at the Institute on Global Conflict & Cooperation.
On Early Warning, co-host Michelle Dover sits down with Christine Ahn, Executive Director of Women Cross DMZ, to discuss the news that we may see a declaration of a formal end to the Korean War.
On this week’s episode, co-host Tom Collina sits down with Jeremy Ben-Ami, President of J Street, to discuss the growing number former Israeli officials faulting the Israeli government for opposing the Iran nuclear deal.
On Early Warning, Michelle Dover is joined by Nomsa Ndongwe, co-founder of WCAPS West coast chapter & staff member at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She identifies what to look out for at the upcoming Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference.
All eyes are on Ukraine (including ours). Steven Pifer, a William J. Perry Research Fellow at CISAC and former ambassador to Ukraine, joins co-host Tom Collina to discuss Putin’s motivations for Ukraine and more. On Early Warning, co-host Michelle Dover and veteran foreign policy journalist Laura Rozen examine the US-Iran talks on salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in Vienna. Rozen compares where the parties are now compared to June and shares what she is especially watching out for.
It’s story time on this week’s episode of Press the Button.
Co-host Michelle Dover is joined by Emmy award-winning journalist Helen Young, who discusses her fascinating new film “The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs.” Their conversation follows a community of nuclear disarmament activists, which include two pacifist Catholic nuns, who risk imprisonment and even death in their effort to raise public awareness of the threat posed by nuclear weapons.
Co-host Michelle Dover is joined by Emmy award-winning journalist Helen Young, who discusses her fascinating new film “The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs.” Their conversation follows a community of nuclear disarmament activists, which include two pacifist Catholic nuns, who risk imprisonment and even death in their effort to raise public awareness of the threat posed by nuclear weapons.
What is motivating China’s nuclear expansion? That’s the question co-host Tom Collina and Tong Zhao, senior fellow at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, explore in this week’s episode.
On Early Warning, co-host Michelle Dover is joined by two guests: Anuradha Damale, member of the Verification and Monitoring team at VERTIC, and Polina Sinovets, Head of the Odessa Center for Nonproliferation. They take a look at the recent Russian anti-missile test and its consequences.
Terrell Jermaine Starr, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center, joins co-host Michelle Dover to put nuclear security in context. While covering topics ranging from Iran to new hypersonic missile development, Starr discusses the importance of a grassroots movement that pushes for the elimination of the nuclear arsenal. Meanwhile on Early Warning, Jessica Sleight, Program Director at Global Zero, checks in on the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review with co-host Tom Collina.
Ivory towers come crashing down in co-host Michelle Dover’s conversation with Dr. Katlyn Turner, a research scientist at MIT Media Lab. Turner discusses the accountability and equity practices that can be put into action to create transformational changes in the nuclear policy field.
On Early Warning, US-China nuclear tensions take the spotlight. Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project, discusses what China's growing nuclear arsenal means for US nuclear policy with co-host Tom Collina.
Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer in discussion with Ploughshares Fund President Emma Belcher. They cover topics ranging from the Iran nuclear deal to President-Biden’s upcoming Nuclear Posture Review, as well as the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine deal. On Early Warning: Ploughshares Fund Senior Program Officer Cara Marie Wagner shares details on an exciting new request for proposals and opportunities to fund new projects.
Chairman Adam Smith of the House Armed Services Committee discusses opportunities President Biden has with the Nuclear Posture Review – working with Russia to reduce the arsenal, getting back to the Iran deal and avoiding nuclear war. Congressman Smith also shares insights on how next year's budget process will drive some of the biggest decisions on nuclear monetization. Extended Early Warning: An in-depth nuclear policy discussion with Dr. Jane Vaynman, Jon Wolfsthal and Lilly Adams.
Mackenzie Cater and Jack Brosnan of the Nuclear Threat Initiative share insights on a new survey that the Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy project conducted about the impacts of Covid-19 on the nuclear policy field. On Early Warning: Zia Mian, physicist and co-director of Princeton University's Program on Science and Global Security, helps us understand the complicated legacy of the late Abdul Qadeer Khan, who is regarded as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb. Final Warning: Press the Button Live is on Thursday, October 21.
London-based Sahil Shah, a policy fellow at the European Leadership Network, discusses with Michelle Dover all things nuclear coming from a transatlantic perspective. They cover the recent US-Russian dialogue, what that means for the New START Treaty and the prospects for the JCPOA and Europe's role in those discussions. On Early Warning: Sina Toossi of the National Iranian American Council discusses with Tom Collina how Iranians have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and how the Biden administration can help with a pledge to vaccinate people in Iran and around the world.
Shannon Bugos at the Arms Control Association is co-author of a new report called “The Allure and Risks of Hypersonic Weapons.” She goes in depth with Michelle Dover on the state of development for hypersonic missiles around the world and what we can do to reduce these threats. On Early Warning: Colleen Moore of Women Cross DMZ discusses North Korea’s recent missile tests, prospects for US-North Korean talks and what the renewed travel ban means for families.
Andrew Bacevich, President of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, discusses the chain of command on the nuclear launch procedure during the end of the Trump administration. On Early Warning: Dr. Jeffrey Lewis at the Middlebury institute of International Studies shares his take on the recent ouster of Leonor Tomero as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy at the Pentagon.
Sarah Streyder, executive director of the Secure Families Initiative, joins Tom Collina to talk about the post-September 11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the effects on veterans and military families. On Early Warning, Dr. Emma Belcher offers her in-depth analysis on the new defense deal between the US, UK, and Australia that provides Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.
Barbara Slavin of the Atlantic Council talks with Tom Collina about the global war on terror. Slavin shares a perspective on the opportunity costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its impact on US policies and relationships with Iran and North Korea. On Early Warning, Alex Hall speaks with Zubaida Akbar, an Afghan human rights advocate and expert. They discuss the effects of the past 20 years of war on Afghan civilians and the impression the US and its allies left on the country and its people. Also: Press the Button goes live on October 21!
As the withdrawal of all US military forces from Afghanistan is completed, Adam Weinstein, research fellow with the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft provides a deep dive into the questions of why the US went into Afghanistan in the first place, why did the US stay so long, and why it was so hard to leave? Early Warning features New America essay contest winners, Ishan Sharma and Ronit Langer.
Ploughshares Fund’s Roger L. Hale Fellow Dr. Doreen Horschig discusses her new interactive report urging President Biden to focus his upcoming Nuclear Posture Review on preventing accidental nuclear war. Early Warning guests feature Christopher Jackson, a PhD candidate at the University of California Berkeley, and Maggie Boughman, a data and language intelligence analyst at SOS international Center for intelligence research analysis.
Stephen I. Schwartz, a nonresident senior fellow at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – and a virtual encyclopedia of all things related to the nuclear football – takes us back to the events of January 6. Schwartz talks about how the situation could have escalated if the “football” had been captured by the rioters. Early Warning features Sam A. Winter-Levy and Alasdair Phillips-Robins. And we answer a listener’s question about companies manufacturing nuclear weapons.
Gregory Kulacki, China project manager at Union of Concerned Scientists and Miyako Kurosaki, research coordinator at the Hiroshima Organization For Global Peace talk about a new report that shows how Japan is not an obstacle to a US No First Use policy. Early Warning features Allen Hester, legislative representative for nuclear disarmament and Pentagon spending at the Friends Committee on National Legislation and Ryan Mason, a corporate security professional and MSC student in the Security Studies program at Liverpool John Moores University. And Michelle Dover answers a listener’s question about the oldest nuclear weapons still in use.
Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez, representative for New Mexico’s 3rd District, discusses the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act with guest host Lilly Adams. On Early Warning, Dina Esfandiary of International Crisis Group joins Michelle Dover to discuss what is driving tensions in the Persian Gulf as negotiations to renew the Iran deal remain on hold. And a listener asks: what are the biggest misconceptions about nuclear weapons?
This week’s podcast guest is Ray Acheson, author of Banning the Bomb, Smashing the Patriarchy. On Early Warning, Matt Korda from Federation of American Scientists provides context on new satellite imagery findings of a second nuclear silo field in China; and Princeton Ph.D. student Ryan Dukeman shares news ideas about the politis of data and artificial intelligence.
Former Governor of California Jerry Brown and current executive chair of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists talks with Tom Collina about a problem that he believes is as important as it under-discussed: nuclear weapons. On Early Warning: Michelle Dover discusses this week’s nuclear news with Mary Kaszynski, director of government relations at VoteVets, and Adom Cooper, security fellow at Truman National Security Project.
Alicia Sanders-Zakre, policy and research coordinator with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons discusses a report she co-authored revealing how much money the nine nuclear states spent on nuclear weapons last year. Early Warning features Ryan Costello, policy director at the National Iranian American Council. He speaks with Michelle Dover about the state of negotiations as we pass the sixth anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal.
Listen to our most recent episode with Dr. Jeffrey Lewis of Middlebury Institute of International Studies and Decker Eveleth, senior at Reed College in Portland, join Press the Button to discuss how Eveleth's research led to the discovery that China is building more than 100 new missile silos in it's western desert, raising questions about a possible expansion of Beijing's nuclear capabilities. Early Warning features Monica Montgomery of the Council for a Livable World on efforts to stop the developmennt of a new sea-launched nuclear cruise missile.
Last week's episode with Lynn Rusten, Vice President of the Global Nuclear Policy Program at the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI):
Press the Button is presented in 2 segments:
- Early Warning — a round-up of the most pressing nuclear news in 7 minutes, roughly the same amount of time the US president has to authorize a nuclear weapons launch in the event of an incoming attack on the United States.
- The Interview — Tom and Michelle sit down with prominent thinkers, legislators, activists, and grantees working on nuclear weapons issues for a short, illuminating conversation.
We also have an occasional "In the Silo," a close-up look at key security issues and events with field recordings, music, media clips, and narration. Listen to the most recent In the Silo, featuring award-winning journalist Lesley M. M. Blume:
Listen to past episodes below:
Shalonda Spencer and Maher Akremi of Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security & Conflict Transformation (WCAPS) join Press the Button to discuss the Organizations in Solidarity initiative at WCAPS, and the fight for racial justice and equity in the peace and security field. Early Warning features Ali Vaez of International Crisis Group on the election of Ebrahim Raisi as the next president of Iran, and what that means for the Iran nuclear agreement.
Rose Gottemoeller, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO, joins Press the Button, describes her experience negotiating the New START Treaty during the Obama administration, and what the recent summit between President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin means for the future of arms control. Gottemoeller's new book, Negotiating the New START Treaty, is available now. Early Warning features co-host Tom Collina and Sharon K. Weiner of American University discussing their testimonies during last week's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on US nuclear policy.
Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, infectious diseases physician and Founding Director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research (CEID) at Boston University, joins Press the Button for a conversation on how national security decisions must take the issues of health and human security into account, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Early Warning features Assal Rad of National Iranian American Council and Luke Schleusener of Out in National Security on the upcoming elections in Iran and the importance of the LOVE Act, which aims to recognize and correct the injustice perpetrated against approximately 1,000 people who were fired from the State Department due to their sexual orientation during the Lavender Scare of the 1950’s and beyond.
Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico and current member of The Elders, joins Press the Button for an exclusive interview on The Elders' efforts to reduce and eliminate nuclear threats, and why the nuclear issue is so important 75 years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Early Warning features Sharon Weiner of American University on the Biden administration's decision to propose full funding for new nuclear modernization programs. Our senior program officer/nuclear field coordinator John Carl Baker answers a question on fallout shelters.
Academy Award-winning director Bryan Fogel discusses his latest film The Dissident, a documentary chronicling the life and work of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist who was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, by agents of the Saudi government. Fogel speaks with Ploughshares Fund board member and actor Farshad Farahat on the making of and reaction to the film. Early Warning features Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association on the Biden administration's current plans to pursue nuclear modernization, which is estimated to cost $634 billion over the next ten years.
Alex Wellerstein, historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology, joins Press the Button for a discussion on the history of secrecy behind US development of nuclear weapons, and how that secrecy has impacted discussion on nuclear weapons today. Early Warning features Suhad Babaa of Just Vision and Mairav Zonszein of International Crisis Group on the recent ceasefire between Israel and Palestine, and what needs to happen to prevent future escalation.
Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) joins Press the Button for a conversation on the wasteful spending on US nuclear weapons programs, restricting first use of nuclear weapons, the legacy of US nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands, the importance of diplomacy, and why Congress must reassert its authority to declare war. Early Warning features Laicie Heeley of Inkstick Media and our Roger L. Hale fellow Doreen Horschig on Israel's position toward the Iran deal in light of the Vienna talks and escalating violence in Gaza, as well as what the future of work looks like in the national security sector.
Joby Warrick, award-winning author and national security correspondent for the Washington Post, joins Press the Button to discuss efforts to dismantle Syrian chemical weapons and hold the Syrian government accountable for its use of chemical weapons on the battlefield. Warrick is the author of Red Line: The Unraveling of Syria and America's Race to Destroy the Most Dangerous Arsenal in the World. Early Warning features Jessica Lee of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft on the Biden administration's recently released review of US policy toward North Korea, and what it means for efforts to contain North Korea's nuclear program. Karim Kamel of the Carnegie Corporation of New York features as guest announcer.
Dr. David Kang, director of the Korean Studies Institute and Maria Crutcher Professor of International Relations at University of Southern California, joins Press the Button for a discussion on how the Biden administration should approach North Korea in the wake of decades of failed policy from previous administrations and how hawkish views on China in the US government have led to increased violence against Asian Americans. A special Early Warning focuses on the lack of diversity and perspectives during last week's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on nuclear weapons.
Elizabeth Becker, journalist, author and former war correspondent for the Washington Post in Cambodia, joins Press the Button to discuss how three women journalists covering the Vietnam War changed the way the news media reports on war. Becker is the author of You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War. Early Warning features Allen Hester of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Diana Ohlbaum of Friends Committee on National Legislation on the re-introduction of the No First Use bill in Congress, and the effects of the Biden administration's proposed Pentagon budget on communities of color.
Kelsey Davenport of the Arms Control Association joins Press the Button to discuss Iran's plans to enrich uranium up to 60% following an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility, and what that means for efforts to save the Iran nuclear agreement. Early Warning features Adam Weinstein of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft on the implications of President Biden's decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan nearly 20 years after the initial invasion.
Suzanne DiMaggio, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, joins Press the Button to discuss the recent talks between the United States and Iran, and what needs to happen for the Biden administration to keep diplomacy alive. Early Warning features Emma Claire Foley of Global Zero and our senior program officer/nuclear field coordinator John Carl Baker on efforts to cancel funding for new nuclear weapons and what to expect from the Biden administration on North Korea.
Skye Fitzgerald, director of the Oscar-nominated documentary Hunger Ward, speaks with Ploughshares Fund board member and actor Farshad Farahat on how the ongoing war in Yemen has caused a mass famine, labeled by the United Nations as "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world." Early Warning features Mary Kaszynski of VoteVets and Kate Kizer of Win Without War on what to expect from the planned talks between the United States and Iran, and the Biden administration's efforts to repeal and replace the 2001 and 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force.
Matt Korda, research associate at the Federation of American Scientists, joins Press the Button to examine the flawed thinking behind the proposed Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program, a new nuclear missile force set to replace the United States' arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Early Warning features Donna Farvard of the National Iranian American Council discussing the lack of movement on the United States and Iran returning into compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, and what individuals can do to help get diplomacy moving again.
Mana Kharrazi, rapid response campaign director for MoveOn, joins Press the Button to discuss her work leading Iranian Alliances Across Borders during its legal battle against the Muslim Ban, the recent attacks against Asian Americans, and how organizing young people will play a role in efforts to restore diplomacy with Iran. Early Warning features Sebastian Brixey-Williams of British American Security Information Council (BASIC) on the UK's plans to increase their nuclear arsenal.
Cynthia Lazaroff, award-winning documentary filmmaker and founder of NuclearWakeUpCall.Earth, joins Press the Button to discuss her experiences in Hawaii during the 2018 Hawaii false missile alert, and how the incident underscores the need to ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons. Early Warning features Mary Kaszynski of VoteVets and Gayatri Patel of CARE on the lack of progress made toward reentering the Iran nuclear agreement, and Vice President Kamala Harris's upcoming speech at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
The 100th episode of Press the Button features a special interview with Ploughshares Fund president Emma Belcher and Joe Cirincione, distinguished fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and former Ploughshares Fund president. They discuss the history behind the podcast and the challenges ahead for the nuclear field. Early Warning features Dr. Alex Stark of New America and Aria Grabowski of the International Center for Research on Women on the Biden administration's efforts to advance women's leadership, and what a feminist foreign policy looks like.
Michael Brenes, Associate Director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy and Lecturer in History at Yale University, joins Press the Button for a look at why the United States has such a large military budget compared to other countries, why there is overwhelming bipartisan support for massive military spending, and why the US relies on defense spending for jobs and growth. Early Warning features Leimamo Wase and Lilly Adams discussing the impact of the Castle Bravo nuclear test, which took place at the Marshall Islands 67 years ago.
Philip Taubman, consulting professor at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation and Ploughshares Fund board member, joins Press the Button to remember the late George Shultz, former Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan and a prominent advocate for nuclear arms control. Early Warning features Kelsey Davenport of the Arms Control Association on a temporary agreement reached between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency that ensures the continuation of some nuclear verification and monitoring activities.
Lisbeth Gronlund, research affiliate at MIT in the department of nuclear science and engineering, joins Press the Button to discuss why it's so dangerous that the US president has the sole authority to order the use of nuclear weapons, and how to avoid future situations where unhinged presidents have their finger on the button. Early Warning features our program officer/nuclear field coordinator John Carl Baker and Catherine Killough of Women Cross DMZ on a new report outlining how a formal end to the Korean War could lower tensions and make room for progress on the North Korea nuclear issue, and what to expect from the Biden administration on North Korea.
Dr. Vincent Intondi, professor of history at Montgomery College and author of the book African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement, joins Press the Button to discuss how the nuclear issue intersects with the fight for racial equality. Early Warning features Ploughshares Fund's deputy director of policy Mary Kaszynski and Matt Korda of the Federation of American Scientists discussing recent developments on the Iran nuclear agreement and new polling indicating low public support for plans to build a new nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile.
Bob Rosner and Sharon Squassoni of the Science and Security Board at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists join Press the Button to discuss why the Doomsday Clock is still at 100 seconds to midnight, and what must happen before the time is moved backwards. Early Warning features Ploughshares Fund's deputy director of policy Mary Kaszynski on the appointment of Rob Malley as special US envoy for Iran, and the complexities behind US and Iran efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear agreement.
Drs. Katlyn Turner, Denia Djokic, and Aditi Verma are back on Press the Button to further explore systemic racism in the nuclear field, and how to begin rooting it out. They also discuss the production of their recently co-authored an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, titled "A Call for Anti-Racist Action and Accountability in the US Nuclear Community." Early Warning features Shannon Bugos of the Arms Control Association and Alicia Sanders-Zakre of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons on the Nuclear Ban Treaty's entry into force and the Biden administration's plans to formally extend the New START Treaty with Russia.
Terrell Jermaine Starr, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center, senior reporter at The Root, and host of the podcast Black Diplomats, joins Press the Button for an in-depth discussion on how violence and racism's influence on US domestic policy also influences its foreign policy. Early Warning features Yasmeen Silva and Colleen Moore of Beyond the Bomb on efforts to enact No First Use nuclear policy, and how to keep the issue in the news after President Trump leaves office.
Dr. Herbert Lin, senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, joins Press the Button for a discussion on cyberattacks and their potential effects on nuclear weapons in the wake of the SolarWinds hack that targeted at least 18,000 government and private networks. Early Warning features Derek Johnson of Global Zero and Patrick Hiller of the Jubitz Family Foundation analyzing last week's attack on the US Capitol and how the nuclear chain of command really works.
Drs. Katlyn Turner, Denia Djokic, and Aditi Verma join Press the Button for an in-depth discussion on how systemic racism in the nuclear field is produced and sustained, and what needs to happen in order to begin combating it. Drs. Turner, Djokic, and Verma recently co-authored an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists titled "A Call for Anti-Racist Action and Accountability in the US Nuclear Community." Early Warning features co-host Tom Collina and our deputy director of policy Mary Kaszynski on incoming National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan's recent comments regarding the extension of New START and support for the Iran nuclear agreement.
A special episode of Press the Button features co-hosts Michelle Dover and Tom Collina looking back at the highlights (and lowlights) of national security and nuclear policy in 2020, and what we can look forward to in the new year.
Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party, joins Press the Button for an in-depth discussion on the intersection of the movement for saner nuclear policy and movements for achieving racial justice, protecting the environment and establishing a fairer economy. Early Warning features Liza Arias of Women of Color Advancing Peace & Security and Kaleigh Thomas of Center for a New American Security on the recent SolarWinds hack, which targeted the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and various other US government organizations.
David Vine, professor of political anthropology at American University, talks to Ploughshares Fund board member Farshad Farahat for a special discussion on the historical consequences of the United States' foreign policy, and its effect on millions of lives across the world. Vine is the author of the new book, The United States of War: A Global History of America's Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State. Early Warning features Danielle Brian of the Project on Government Oversight on President-elect Joe Biden's nomination of Gen. Lloyd Austin to be US Secretary of Defense.
Dr. Ariane Tabatabai, Middle East Fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, is back on Press the Button to discuss the recent assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and how this could affect US-Iran relations as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take power. Early Warning features Laura Grego of the Union of Concerned Scientists analyzing the recent US missile defense test that successfully intercepted an intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM) target, and what it means for future arms control efforts and US relationships with other countries that possess ICBMs.
Neuroscientist Moran Cerf and PopTech president Leetha Filderman, join Press the Button for an illuminating discussion on how behavioral science can be applied to nuclear deterrence theory. Early Warning features our deputy policy director Mary Kaszynski and Andrew Albertson of Foreign Policy for American on President-elect Joe Biden's recent appointments for top national security roles, and the recent assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist.
Jon Wolfsthal of Global Zero and Alexandra Bell of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation discuss what to expect from President-elect Joe Biden on nuclear policy issues, and what work needs to be done to reduce current nuclear threats. Early Warning features our deputy policy director Mary Kaszynski discussing revelations that President Donald Trump sought options to attack Iran in response to a recent increase in the country’s stockpile of nuclear material.
Michael Krepon and Lovely Umayam of the Stimson Center join Press the Button for a unique look at what is possible for future nuclear policy, and how the nuclear policy field should respond in the face of weakened arms control agreements, increased nuclear arsenal modernization, and a new presidential administration in the United States. Early Warning features Steven Pifer of the Brookings Institution on what the incoming Joe Biden administration can do to reduce nuclear threats when in office.
Heather Hurlburt, director of the New Models of Policy Change project at New America's Political Reform program, is back on Press the Button to discuss the domestic and international challenges that await US President-elect Joe Biden, who is set to take office in January 2021. Early Warning features our deputy director of policy Mary Kaszynski and Marissa Conway of the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy on the Trump administration's last push for 'maximum pressure' on Iran, and what a feminist approach toward foreign policy and nuclear policy might look like.
Alexandra I. Toma, executive director of the Peace and Security Funders Group, joins Press the Button for a discussion on how the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession has changed philanthropy, and what the foundations and wealthy individuals that want to create a more peaceful, secure world must do to achieve their goals in a changed world. Early Warning features Alicia Sanders-Zakre of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons on the success of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and what its entry into force in January will mean for the global movement to eliminate nuclear weapons.
Stephen Wertheim, Deputy Director of Research and Policy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, joins Press the Button for an in-depth analysis of the decades-long consensus around US global military dominance, and how views on American primacy are changing among the public and politicians. Early Warning features Jessica Lee of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and Shannon Bugos of the Arms Control Association discussing the Trump's administration handling of North Korea and updates on US-Russia negotiations to extend the New START Treaty.
David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, joins Press the Button for an exclusive interview on the emergence of cyber conflict between countries, and how the rise of cyberweapons like the Stuxnet virus transformed geopolitics. His book The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age, is the basis of a new HBO Original Documentary. Early Warning features Alexandra Bell of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Melissa Hanham of the Open Nuclear Network on the status of New START negotiations and North Korean missiles.
William J. Perry, 19th US Secretary of Defense, is back on Press the Button with our policy director Tom Collina on their recent Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session, which answered questions posted by hundreds of internet users on presidential authority to start a nuclear war and whether the military would refuse a legal order to launch nuclear weapons. Tom and Secretary Perry authored the new book The Button: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump. Early Warning features Twela Abrahamson-Swan, director of the SHAWL Society, discussing the impact of nuclear weapons production on the lives of Native Americans.
Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, comes back to Press the Button to discuss the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a UN resolution that was passed in 2017 and is now just five ratifications shy of the 50 needed to enter into force. Early Warning features our senior program officer/nuclear field coordinator John Carl Baker and Pranay Vaddi, a fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace discussing prospects of US-Russia arms control and DPRK/ROK relations.
Mike Sweeney, a fellow at Defense Priorities and former think tank analyst focused on US foreign policy and defense planning, joins Press the Button for a discussion on why the United States should take its nuclear weapons out Europe. Early Warning features Dr. Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute for International Studies and Ploughshares Fund deputy policy director Mary Kaszynski discussing US plans to reimpose sanctions on Iran, citing a provision in the Iran nuclear agreement, which the Trump administration withdrew from in 2018. Co-host and Ploughshares Fund policy director Tom Collina answers a question regarding nuclear myths.
Laicie Heeley, CEO of Inkstick Media and the host/executive producer of the PRX podcast Things That Go Boom, joins Press the Button for a discussion on the lack of inclusive domestic and foreign policymaking in the United States, and how our national security priorities must change in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Early Warning features co-host Tom Collina and Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists discussing how the Pentagon is playing up the threat from China to justify excessive spending on nuclear weapons.
Dr. James Acton of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace joins Press the Button for an in-depth discussion on what secret nuclear weapons program President Donald Trump was referring to in his recent interview with journalist Bob Woodward, and what could happen if nuclear and non-nuclear capabilities continue to become increasingly entangled. Early Warning features William Hartung of the Center for International Policy on the Pentagon's $13.3 billion contract award to Northrop Grumman for a new nuclear weapon.
Dr. Emma Belcher, president of Ploughshares Fund, joins a special episode of Press the Button for an in-depth discussion on what needs to be done to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and build a safe, secure world.
Lynn Fahselt, co-founder and executive director of ReThink Media, joins Press the Button for a discussion on how to reshape the public conversation on nuclear weapons in order to successfully enact better, safer nuclear policy. Early Warning features Dr. Lauren Borja and Dr. Katlyn Turner discussing their recent article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists calling for anti-racist action and accountability in the nuclear field.
Lora Lumpe, CEO of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, discusses how to move US foreign policy priorities away from a new Cold War with China and reduce spending on unnecessary weapons of war. Early Warning features Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum of ReThink Media and Suzanne Claeys of the Center for Strategic and international Studies on recent US-Russia arms control talks, and the gender disparity in news reporting about nuclear policy.
Rose Gottemoeller, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO, joins Press the Button for a discussion on the fate of the New START Treaty, the last remaining arms control agreement between the US and Russia which is set to expire in February 2021. Early Warning features Bunmi Akinnusotu, deputy director of the Rangel Fellowship at Howard University and Ploughshares Fund deputy director of policy Mary Kaszynski discussing what Senator Kamala Harris could bring to US foreign policy as vice president under a potential Joe Biden administration.
Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) joins Press the Button for an exclusive interview on what drives the opposition to modest reduction of the United States' bloated defense budget as the country reels from COVID-19 and economic catastrophe. Early Warning features Akshai Vikram discussing his report on the new nuclear arms race between the United States and Russia, and what needs to be done to reduce the risk of nuclear war.
A special episode of Press the Button features Sunny Dooley, a Najavo storyteller who collects, learns and retells the oral tradition of the Diné Hozhojii Hané (Navajo Blessingway stories). She discusses the impact of nuclear weapons on her community and the world at large, 75 years after the Trinity test and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Carol Giacomo, former member of the New York Times Editorial Board and former Reuters diplomatic correspondent, joins Press the Button to discuss how an editorial board operates, and her own journey from reporting on foreign and defense issues to writing policy proposals in favor of better national security and nuclear policy. Early Warning features a discussion on nuclear details in the recently released Democratic Party platform and ongoing battles over what the US government budget should prioritize with our former Roger L. Hale fellow Akshai Vikram and Lisa Perry, digital communications director for the William J. Perry Project and host of the AT THE BRINK podcast.
Christine Ahn, founder and executive director of Women Cross DMZ, joins Press the Button to discuss prospects for peace on the Korean peninsula 70 years after the start of the Korean War, and why a policy rooted in smart, credible diplomacy with North Korea is critical in efforts to reduce the risk of nuclear war. Early Warning features co-host Tom Collina and Ariane Tabatabai of German Marshall Fund discussing the state of the Iran nuclear agreement five years after its implementation and recent attacks on Iran's nuclear program. Press the Button remembers Bruce Blair, who unexpectedly passed away today.
Alex Wellerstein, historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology and creator of NUKEMAP, returns to Press the Button for a discussion on the history and myths about nuclear weapons on the 75th anniversary of the Trinity test, the world's first nuclear explosion. Early Warning features Tom Collina and progressive foreign policy strategist Elizabeth Beavers discussing the long-overdue national debate over federal budget priorities, and congressional efforts to reduce Pentagon spending.
Former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and Ploughshares Fund policy director Tom Collina join Press the Button to discuss how US nuclear policy, largely set during the Cold War, is outdated, obsolete, and dangerous. Perry and Collina cover this topic in their new book "The Button: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power From Truman to Trump." Early Warning features Erica Fein of Win Without War and Anthony Wier of Friends Committee on National Legislation discussing efforts to reduce the bloated US defense budget and re-orient the funds toward fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing racial injustice.
A special episode of Press the Button features outgoing co-host and Ploughshares Fund president Joe Cirincione's final appearance on the podcast (for now). He talks with co-host Michelle Dover on the state of the national security and nuclear policy field, and why he feels optimistic about the prospect of a safer, more secure world.
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