The Global Citizen: nuclear disarmament
While the US was dealing with the grips of a terrorist attack in Boston, the most powerful earthquake in over forty years hit Iran. A 7.8 magnitude quake occurred 56 miles beneath the ground but luckily the casualties were minute for such a large seismic event. It was the second earthquake in a week for the gulf country that rests on a tectonic plate, making it prone to numerous earthquakes. They actually on average experience at least one slight earthquake a day.
Besides the obvious destruction caused by the earth moving underneath people's lives, Iran is faced with another problem; their nuclear facilities. The first earthquake struck just miles from Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant, prompting the Gulf Co-operation Council to call for international inspectors to be sent to the plant for fear of radiation leaks.
During the summer of 2012, when I was a research associate at GlobalSolutions.org, I began a research project that dealt with the issue of nuclear terrorism. It was a labor of strangelove. About eight months later, this project has resulted in "Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Nuclear Security, the Nonproliferation Regime, and the Threat of Terrorist Nukes." This research paper seeks to analyze this nightmarish threat. Among the questions that this paper will seek to answer are:
- From which states would a terrorist-controlled nuclear weapon be most likely to originate? Why are these states such unique threats?
- What has the US done to counter the proliferation threat posed by these countries?
- What international institutions are currently in place to prevent this kind of unauthorized nuclear proliferation?
- What additional steps can the US and the international community take to prevent nuclear materials from falling into terrorist hands?
It is sometimes tempting to dismiss the nuclear threat as a relic of the Cold War. That, after all, was the era of the A-Bomb and the H-Bomb, of "duck and cover" and MAD (mutually assured destruction). And yet, to adopt such a viewpoint is to ignore the reality that, in the post-Cold War world, the nuclear threat has, indeed, changed, but is far from disappearing entirely.
Last Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the implementation of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), seeking to gauge the treaty's performance in the time since February 2011, when it first came into effect. Witnesses brought before the committee included the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Thomas P. D'Agostino; the Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security at the State Department, Rose Gottemoeller; and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs, Madelyn R. Creedon.
Each of the witnesses offered positive assessments of New START's effectiveness, highlighting the ways in which the agreement has helped to make nuclear relations between the US and Russia more stable and transparent. In her testimony, Gottemoeller remarked that New START has helped to improve the flow of nuclear weapons-related information between the two countries. In particular, she cited the treaty's verification mechanisms, including exhibitions of strategic arms and guaranteed on-site inspections, as concrete examples of provisions that have helped to improve the aforementioned information flow.
Modern tension on the Korean Peninsula dates back to 1945 when the Soviet Union declared war on the current occupiers, Japan. In years prior, the peninsula had been controlled by a series of dynasties, but was invaded and annexed by Japan in 1910. After the end of World War II in 1945, the territory was divided along the 38th parallel between the United States and Soviet Union. Hope for unification faded in June 1950 when North Korea breached the border leading to the outbreak of the Korean War. After three years of intense fighting between American, Chinese, Soviet, and Korean troops, the war officially concluded with the formalization of a interstate border called the demilitarized zone. However, low-level fighting and frequent rhetorical provocations keep the conflict on the radar of many relevant states.
In the past, North and South Korea marched together in the Olympics on three separate occasions: 2000 in Sydney, 2004 in Athens, and 2006 in Turin. Describing the event as "highly emotional," athletes from North and South Korea travelled to the stadium together and marched in the opening ceremonies as one unified entity. Using the flag of the Korean Peninsula, a simple flag with a blue silhouette of the Korean Peninsula and a white background, the group showed one of the very few instances of Korean bilateralism in the last few decades.
This Sunday, we honor the women in our lives that gave us life and shaped us into the people we are today. Daughters, mothers, and grandmothers, will receive flowers, candy, or breakfast in bed prepared by the kids.
But did you know that Mother’s Day was originally founded as a Women’s Day for peace and disarmament? In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, the author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” advocated for the creation of Mother’s Day, dedicated to promoting “the amicable settlement of international questions, and the great and general interests of peace.”
We can cherish the women who nurtured, protected, and cared for us by sending a Mother’s Day card that honors the original spirit of the holiday. Click here to choose a free e-card that celebrates the special women in your life and commemorates women working for peace around the globe.
To women who work hard for peace around the world, around the house, around their communities and around their country -- thanks for all that you do!
Feel free to share our eCard or post it on a facebook wall (just right-click to save the image or the url):
Longtime CGS activist Tad Daley will appear on C-SPAN BOOK TV at 3 AM, 8:30 AM, and 4 PM EDT Sunday, October 9th. He'll be talking about his book APOCALYPSE NEVER: Forging the Path to a Nuclear Weapon Free World, and laying out his plan for abolishing nuclear weapons before they abolish us. Tad spoke at Busboys and Poets in Washington DC on August 9th, 2011, the 66th anniversary of the atomic obliteration of Nagasaki, in an event sponsored by Citizens for Global Solutions, Peace Action, and Progressive Democrats of America.
The United States Senate agreed to the New START Treaty today. The bilateral nuclear arms treaty passed with bipartisan support by a 71 to 26 margin. Today's rollcall vote came after months of highly partisan debate and despite a packed Senate schedule.
Adoption of this treaty demonstrates a commitment to responsible and cooperative U.S. global engagement. President Obama, Vice-President Biden, and Senators Kerry, Lugar, and Reid deserve special praise for their vision and leadership. New START's approval is also testament to the courageous 13 Republicans who placed national security above obstructive partisan politics.
A November CNN poll noted that 82% of Americans supported ratification. Before the Senate vote, tens of thousands of Americans weighed in. Citizens for Global Solutions National Outreach Director Anu Joshi said, "I want to thank the thousands of Citizens for Global Solutions supporters who called, wrote to and met with their Senators to support ratification of New START. Their voices were a key part of this victory."
If the people will lead, the leaders will follow. The ratification of the new START treaty, without question, was uncertain as recently as one week ago. But because of the indefatigable efforts of us, citizens who stand for global solutions to global challenges, we turned the tide. We moved the mountain. We carried the day.
Imagine what other mountains we're going to move in the months and years to come.
At the heart of the new START treaty stands a Big Idea that can be expressed in a single sentence. When both we and our potential adversaries agree to mutually limit our military muscle and to mutually open ourselves to external inspections, that's better for us, for American national security, than when we insist that we cannot allow our armaments or our sovereignty to be constrained in any way (as the right demagogically demands), and consequently our potential adversaries remain wholly unconstrained as well.
After 20+ hearings and over 900 questions submitted for the record, we are finally one step closer to a full Senate debate and vote on New START, maybe even starting tomorrow. As Politico told us today: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to bring the START treaty to the floor as early as Tuesday evening, despite continued protests from senior Republican leadership that the treaty should wait until the next Congress." Senator Reid also threatened (promised) to bring the Senate back after Christmas if they don't get through everything that needs to be done. As a tax payer I have to say that I'm happy to finally see Harry Reid figure out that he needs to protect our national security and that we can't punt this important vote to the next session because we don't want to work late.
December 5th, 2010 marked an unfortunate anniversary for U.S. national security. It has been one year since the previous arms control treaty between the United States and Russia expired, meaning that the U.S. has not been able to inspect the Russian nuclear arsenal since December 2009. We have no boots on the ground, no verification, no way of knowing what's happening with the nuclear weapons that still remain in Russia's possession.
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