Tad Daley

Guest Blogger

Tad Daley, JD, PhD, is the Director of the Project on Abolishing War at The Center for War / Peace Studies in New York City, www.abolishingwar.org. His first book, Apocalypse Never: Forging the Path to a Nuclear Weapon-Free World, was released by Rutgers University Press in 2010, and then again in paperback in 2012. Tad formerly served as a speechwriter and policy advisor for both Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio, 1997-2013), and the late US Senator Alan Cranston (D-Cal, 1969-1993). It is a poignant connection for us here at CGS, since Alan Cranston served as president of our own organization, then known as the United World Federalists, from 1949 to 1952.

Revisiting "The Grand Bargain of the NPT"

President Lyndon Johnson looking on as Secretary of State Dean Rusk prepares to sign the NPT, 1 July 1968.

On March 5, humanity celebrated the 45th anniversary of the coming into force of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We also celebrated one more day of dodging the nuclear bullet, sitting in the chamber of the gun in our own hands. Along with my colleagues at CGS, I am convinced that we will not dodge this bullet indefinitely—unless someday the nations of the world comply with all the terms of the NPT and abolish nuclear weapons forever from the face of the earth.

So as a relatively new CGS guest blogger, I offer you a piece I published on the Huffington Post five years ago, excerpted from my book Apocalypse Never, to commemorate the NPT's 40th anniversary and to explain what the treaty is fundamentally about.

You might want to read it quickly.

Because that bullet, aimed at each and every one of the 7.2 billion human souls alive today—not to mention the infinite number of our future descendants who have not yet even had the chance to be born —is not staying in that chamber forever.


Ban the Bomb!

Image: flickr/_Gavroche_

In April 2009 in Prague, President Obama told an adoring throng that he intended "to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons." His administration has undertaken some baby steps in that direction. Most notably there has been the New START Treaty with Russia and ongoing multilateral summits on securing all things nuclear from terrorists.

But the president has not convened any consultations with other states to explore how state parties might go about negotiating a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC). A very elaborate and carefully constructed model NWC-the product of dozens of scientists, lawyers, nuclear experts, and former government officials, and based in large measure upon the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)-has been floating around the nuclear policy arena since 1997. Every year since, the UN General Assembly has passed a quite explicit resolution on the matter, calling for "commencing multilateral negotiations leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention, prohibiting the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons, and providing for their elimination."

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been portrayed in recent weeks as primarily concerned with overseeing the destruction of chemical arsenals-today in Syria but previously in both the United States and Russia. But the fundamental raison d'etre of the OPCW, as envisioned in the CWC itself, is not just to authenticate the destruction of existing stockpiles of chemical weapons but also to verify, over the very long term, that they never again re-enter history.

It's New START -- and a small step -- Toward a World Without Nukes

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.