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In our lifetime: an appeal to a Nobel Peace Laureate missing in action

January 25, 2018

On April 5, 2009 the newly elected, young, and promising US President Barack Obama made a speech in Prague about nuclear dangers. He said:

“…This matters to all people, everywhere. One nuclear weapon exploded in one city – be it New York or Moscow, Islamabad or Mumbai, Tokyo or Tel Aviv, Paris or Prague – could kill hundreds of thousands of people. And no matter where it happens, there is no end to what the consequences may be – for our global safety, security, society, economy, and ultimately our survival…So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons…

With these words President Obama surprised and impressed the world, and he filled us with hope. For these words, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

Did he mean the words he spoke? In retrospect, it’s hard to know. Read more…

Should we pay the staggering economic and human costs of nuclear weapons?

January 6, 2018

This October, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that its estimate of the cost for the planned “modernization” the U.S. nuclear weapons complex over the next three decades has risen to $1,200,000,000,000.00. For those of you not familiar with such lofty figures, that’s $1.2 trillion. Furthermore, when adjusted for inflation, the cost of the program―designed to provide new weapons for nuclear warfare on land, in the sea, and in the air, plus upgraded or new facilities to produce them―grows to $1.7 trillion. Read more…

The “merchants of death” survive and prosper

January 6, 2018

During the mid-1930s, a best-selling exposé of the international arms trade, combined with a US Congressional investigation of munitions-makers led by Senator Gerald Nye, had a major impact on American public opinion. Convinced that military contractors were stirring up weapons sales and war for their own profit, many people grew critical of these “merchants of death.”

Today, some eight decades later, their successors, now more politely called “defense contractors,” are alive and well. According to a study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, sales of weapons and military services by the world’s largest 100 corporate military purveyors in 2016 (the latest year for which figures are available) rose to $375 billion. US corporations increased their share of that total to almost 58 percent, supplying weapons to at least 100 nations around the world. Read more…

US, UK, France insult Nobel Peace Prize

December 4, 2017

PSR, Medact, and AMFPGM—national affiliates of IPPNW—have responded jointly to the announcement by the US, UK, and French governments that they will be sending only lower level representatives to the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo on December 10. Their statement follows:

American, British, and French physicians condemn their governments’ protest of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony

We the undersigned are ashamed that our governments are insulting this year’s Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo, Norway on 10th December by sending only junior diplomats. The award is for ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and follows the overwhelming vote of 122 nations at the United Nations General Assembly in July this year to adopt the nuclear weapons ban treaty. Surely we can pause to listen and reflect on the words of Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who will be addressing that ceremony, and to consider what ICAN, the United Nations and the Nobel Committee are all saying: for the health and safety of all the people of the world, it is time to prohibit and eliminate all nuclear weapons.


Jeff Carter (Physicians for Social Responsibility, USA)

Elizabeth Waterston (Medact, UK)

Abraham Behar, Association des Médecins Français pour la Prévention de la Guerre Nucléaire (AMFPGM, France)

National affiliates of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.


No place to hide

November 27, 2017

Does North Korea have a missile capable of striking the US mainland with a nuclear warhead?

Given the recent surge in the DPRK’s missile tests and nuclear test explosions, and the trash talk between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un,  that’s a legitimate—and worrisome—question. But the preoccupation with answering that question and then deciding how best to disarm North Korea diverts attention from the fact that there are eight other nuclear-armed states that, among them, can target virtually every populated area—and most of the unpopulated ones—on the face of the Earth.

A new graphic created by the team at IR Online, American University’s International Relations online program shows that no one is beyond the reach of a nuclear-armed missile, whether it’s launched from a land-based silo or a submarine deployed by one of the possessor states. While the web of missile paths criss-crossing the world is an approximation based on average ranges for each country’s missiles, the truth it conveys is inescapable: as long as nuclear weapons exist, every one of us is a target, and there is no place to hide.

Are governments impervious to public opinion?

November 8, 2017

The reckless threats of nuclear war flung back and forth between the North Korean and US governments remind me of an event in which I participated back in the fall of 1961, when I was a senior at Columbia College.

At the end of August 1961, the Soviet government had announced that it was withdrawing from the US-Soviet-British moratorium on nuclear weapons testing that had halted such tests for the previous three years while the three governments tried to agree on a test ban treaty. Read more…

Should limiting North Korea’s nuclear ambitions be the responsibility of the US government?

October 31, 2017

In recent months, advances in the North Korean government’s nuclear weapons program have led to a sharp confrontation between the government leaders of the United States and of North Korea. This August, President Donald Trump declared that any more threats from North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” In turn, Kim Jong Un remarked that he was now contemplating firing nuclear missiles at the US territory of Guam. Heightening the dispute, Trump told the United Nations in mid-September that, if the United States was forced to defend itself or its allies, “we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” Soon thereafter, Trump embellished this with a tweet declaring that North Korea “won’t be around much longer.” Read more…

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