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June 7, 2021

The Risk of Nuclear War With China

[The following letter was published in the New York Times on June 3. Dr. Gould is North American regional co-vice president of IPPNW and is president of the San Francisco Bay chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.]

To the Editor:

Re “The U.S. Nuclear War That Almost Happened” (news article, May 23):

The courageous disclosure by Daniel Ellsberg of the dangerous 1958 U.S.-China flash point over Taiwan provides a vivid warning of how easily we can precipitate a nuclear Armageddon by pursuing our strategy of heightened confrontation with China throughout the Pacific region.

Congress needs to oppose plans to greatly expand our military budget, including modernizing our deadly and overflowing stockpile of conventional and nuclear weapons. These expenditures, a down payment for a new Cold War, move us further from the global collaboration needed to solve our climate and other planetary emergencies evinced by the Covid pandemic.

Hopefully, learning from this grim historical revelation, our representatives should mobilize immediately to support the No First Use Act (H.R. 2603), introduced by Representative Adam Smith, to help avoid future predictable close calls involving nuclear weapons.

This would provide an opening for the United States and other nuclear-weapons states to move speedily to ratify the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which would do much to end the daily, too-invisible threat to our very existence.

Robert M. Gould
San Francisco

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