By William Lambers
Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard is right to bring the danger of nuclear weapons to the forefront of the presidential campaign.
Speaking at an event in North Conway, Gabbard said the danger of nuclear weapons inspired her to get into the presidential race. She described how two years ago an attack warning with emergency alerts and sirens was set off accidentally in her home state of Hawaii. For more than 30 minutes, residents thought this was the real thing and it triggered panic throughout Hawaii. It was a false alarm, but the fact remains that such a thing could someday be real as long as nuclear weapons exist. There are still 14,000 nuclear weapons in the world, according to the Arms Control Association, most held by the U.S. and Russia.
Gabbard says lines of communication between the nuclear powers need to be reopened. Disarmament talks must take place. Gabbard noted how the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is moving closer and closer to midnight, emphasizing the growing threat of nuclear war.
President Trump has been reckless in his approach with nukes withdrawing from the Iran deal and the INF Treaty with Russia. Trump has also called for a larger nuclear weapons arsenal, stating “Until people come to their senses, we will build it up.” Expensive modernization of nukes is moving forward, which Americans will have to pay for.
The more nuclear weapons around the greater risk of accidental launch or nuclear terrorism. Disarmament is in our best interest.
Trump has instead withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal set up by President Obama. That agreement, which included vigorous inspections, was meant to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Trump exiting the pact is now allowing Iran to pursue nukes and increasing the threat of conflict. Gabbard says the U.S. should return to the Iran deal to reduce tensions and prevent a costly war.
In addition to the failures on Iran and the INF Treaty, Trump has failed to make progress with North Korea on nuclear disarmament.
Even with control of the Senate, Trump has failed to achieve ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear test explosions. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy both pursued an end to nuclear testing as a major priority. It is time finish what Ike and JFK started and get the treaty into force.
A dedicated group of college students formed by the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization is rallying for the treaty’s ratification. The CTBTO Youth group is the new generation trying to regain the momentum toward nuclear arms control and disarmament.
Meanwhile Trump continues to falter on nuclear diplomacy, putting us all in danger. For someone who claims to have mastered the art of the deal, Trump is not making any reducing the nuclear danger.
Trump has failed to extend the New START Treaty which President Obama signed with Russia reducing strategic nuclear warheads.
The U.S. and Russia have to lead on nuclear disarmament. We also need to get nuclear rivals like India and Pakistan to reduce and disarm their arsenals.
All nuke powers must realize the more money spent on nukes is less resources for fighting hunger, disease and climate change. The cost of nukes is a major source of instability since it takes away precious resources from society.
Expensive arms races means increased tensions and the risk of nuclear war as Gabbard says. We need a president who will take action against the continuing danger of nuclear weapons.
William Lambers is the author of "Nuclear Weapons, the Road to Peace and Ending World Hunger." His writings have been published by the USA Today, New York Times, History News Network, Baltimore Sun, Newsweek, The Hill and other news outlets.