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Look Who’s Talking

January 29, 2009

For years, IPPNW was one of a few lone voices in the wilderness calling for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons to ensure humanity’s future – a position once derided as naïve and even dangerous by many “pragmatists.”  Now, a sea change is taking place with a growing list of political and defense experts in the US and around the world proclaiming that a nuclear weapon free world is desirable, urgent and achievable.

From where you sit, do you see nuclear weapons abolition entering mainstream thinking? Is a nuclear weapon free world an idea whose time has come? Let us know what you think by posting a comment below!

A world without nuclear weapons is profoundly in America’s interest and the world’s interest. It is our responsibility to make the commitment, and to do the hard work to make this a reality.”

Campaign statement of then-Senator Barack Obama, Jan 17, 2008.

Without the vision of moving toward zero [nuclear weapons], we will not find the essential cooperation required to stop our downward spiral.”

– George Shultz, former US Secretary of State; William Perry, former Secretary of Defense; Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State; Sam Nunn, former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Wall Street Journal, Jan 15, 2008.

I urge all NPT parties, in particular the nuclear-weapon-states, to fulfill their obligation under the treaty to undertake negotiations on effective measures leading to nuclear disarmament. They could pursue this goal by agreement on a framework of separate, mutually reinforcing instruments. Or they could consider negotiating a nuclear-weapons convention, backed by a strong system of verification, as has long been proposed at the United Nations.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a speech entitled “The United Nations and Security in a Nuclear Weapons-Free World”, Oct 24, 2008.

We must recognize nuclear weapons for what they are – not a deterrent, but a grave and gathering threat to humanity. As president, Barack Obama should dedicate himself to their world-wide elimination.”

US Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The Wall Street Journal, Jan 3, 2009.

What we need is both vision – a scenario for a world free of nuclear weapons. And action – progressive steps to reduce warhead numbers and to limit the role of nuclear weapons in security policy”

Margaret Beckett, then Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, United Kingdom. Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference June 25, 2007.

The vision of a world free of the nuclear threat, as developed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, must be rekindled.”

– Helmut Schmidt, former German Chancellor; Richard von Weizsäcker, former German President; Egon Bahr, a minister in Social Democratic governments; and Hans-Dietrich Genscher, former German Foreign Minister. International Herald Tribune, Jan 9, 2009.

Nuclear weapons have shown themselves to be completely useless as a deterrent to the threats and scale of violence we currently face or are likely to face, particularly international terrorism.”

– Field Marshal Lord Bramall, a former head of the UK armed forces, and retired generals Lord David Ramsbotham and Sir Hugh Beach. Times of London, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. January 30, 2009 3:13 pm

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on the U.S. and Russian presidents to take the initiative on nuclear disarmament during a meeting in Germany’s parliament on Friday.

    “The last period of reforms ended without any results,” he said. “It is obvious that Russia and the U.S., which have more than 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, need to set an example here. I call on both of the young presidents from the U.S. and Russia…to push this forward.”

  2. January 30, 2009 11:06 am

    Yesterday (1/29/09), Gen Jack Sheehan, a former Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic for NATO, told BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight: “I think the UK is very close to saying we’re the first permanent member of the Security Council to do away with nuclear weapons. I think it is entirely possible that the British government, for a lot of good reasons, could do it and it would lead the world.”

  3. Clark Abt permalink
    January 30, 2009 10:41 am

    If we were all really serious about advancing nuclear weapons elimination wordwide as quickly as possible, we would organize a worldwide buyout of all nuclear weapons and about to become nuclear weapons states by a long-term replacement and financing of secure renewable energy and economic development investments advancing public health, education, productive employment, and improved quality of life and security for all. This could be organized through the UN in cooperation with all nuclear weapons states, possibly with US-Russian-Chinese-Indian-British-French-Pakistani-Israeli-Japanese-German leadership. (Japan and Germany are included because they could easily become major nuclear weapons states.), and with the moral commitment of all the world’s great religions and their leaders.

    This effort would require not only political commitment, but probably trillions of dollars of financing over a decade or generation of effort, but it could save our civilization for centuries. Can we begin?

  4. January 29, 2009 7:04 pm

    Caught this one on twitter…

    “Nuclear Weapons Contravene Every Aspect of Humanitarian Law”

    -a statement given Tuesday by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, to the 62nd U.N. General Assembly First Committee on international security and disarmament.


  1. A nuclear-weapons-free world: Champions, detractors, and the urgency of getting to zero « IPPNW eUpdate

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