Op-ed by Coalition for Peace Action Executive Director Rev. Bob Moore
Published in the Trenton Times on 12/30/16
Before the Election, Donald Trump reportedly asked CIA briefers "If we have nuclear weapons, why can't we use them?" He also suggested that Japan, South Korea, and even Saudi Arabia should obtain their own nuclear weapons. He demonstrated no awareness or respect for the decades of bipartisan consensus for reducing and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.
These were clear signs of an impulsive and reckless approach to the most sobering and awesome Presidential power of all: being able to single-handedly order the use of US nuclear weapons. Even before he gets that power, President-Elect Trump impetuously tweeted a threat to resume the nuclear arms race, wasting trillions of taxpayer dollars and recklessly imperiling the survival of humanity anew.
Mr. Trump is dramatically increasing the risk that accidents or miscalculation in the wake of this horrifying and unprecedented “anti-diplomacy through tweets” could cause a nuclear holocaust, hardly something US voters supported in the November 8 Election. A recent highly reputable study revealed that the use of even 100 of the 15,500 nuclear weapons remaining could cause two billion deaths—nearly one of every three people now living.
Former Secretary of Defense William Perry and other top nuclear experts have shared numerous examples of nuclear weapons almost being detonated in the nuclear arms race from 1945 until the first nuclear reduction treaty in 1987. A comment I have been hearing from such experts more frequently is that it is “mostly luck” that we haven’t had another use of nuclear weapons.
When the administration of former President Ronald Reagan recklessly talked of nuclear warning shots, and of fighting and “winning” a nuclear war, a massive citizen movement fought back and forced President Reagan to resume nuclear arms negotiations. Those led to the first nuclear reduction treaty in history in 1987.
Subsequently, Republican Presidents George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush took steps to further reduce nuclear weapons, and Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama acted similarly. The world’s nuclear arsenals have been reduced by over 75% as a result of this bipartisan policy of reducing the nuclear threat through verifiable agreements and initiatives.
The US Congress also acted wisely with bipartisan legislation for a moratorium on nuclear weapons testing, and for verifiably reducing the danger of “loose nukes.” The US Senate has also offered bipartisan ratification of each nuclear reduction treaty submitted to it.
I was honored and felt empowered to be a leader in the citizen movements that built pressure for, and has helped sustain momentum for such policies. We must again organize and mobilize, on an urgent basis, to oppose President-Elect Trump’s reckless steps toward a new nuclear arms race that could ultimately be suicidal for most if not all humanity.
Readers wanting more information or to get involved are urged to visit peacecoalition.org or call (609) 924-5022.