In a February 21 speech anticipating the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia is suspending participation in New START, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the United States. This comes on the heels the January 24th announcement that the Doomsday Clock had been set to 90 seconds to midnight – closer to global catastrophe than at any time in the clock’s 76-year history.
Take Action Now: Scroll down to ask Congress to support nuclear disarmament
The Bulletin’s statement on the rising nuclear tension attributed it largely to Russia’s war on Ukraine, and called on the United States, together with NATO allies and Ukraine, to pursue dialogue with Moscow aimed at nuclear risk reduction and peace negotiations.
Other global developments further highlight the dire need for nuclear arms control and disarmament.
On January 11,South Korea announced for the first time that it may pursue its own nuclear weapons if North Korean threats persist. Tensions between the United States and nuclear-armed China continue to escalate. And in a historic move, Japan has announced its largest military build-up since World War II. Elsewhere, talks between the United States and Iran aimed at salvaging the Iran nuclear deal have stalled, and tensions between Palestinians and nuclear-armed Israel have increased.
What can people of faith do?
People of faith, particularly in countries with nuclear weapons, can call on their leaders to pursue a robust program of negotiations and disarmament.
Pope Francis has repeatedly condemned not only the use of nuclear weapons, but their possession as a deterrent. The Holy See was among the first states to ratify the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Francis has affirmed the promise of such efforts, asserting “progress that is both effective and inclusive can achieve the utopia of a world free of deadly instruments of aggression, contrary to the criticism of those who consider idealistic any process of dismantling arsenals.”
Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, discussing his landmark 2022 pastoral letter, “Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament,” has promoted the five policy proposals of the Back from the Brink campaign: 1) pursue the global elimination of nuclear weapons, 2) renounce the current U.S. “first use” policy, 3) end the sole authority of the president to launch a nuclear attack, 4) take the U.S. nuclear arsenal off of hair-trigger alert, and 5) cancel plans to replace the U.S. arsenal with enhanced nuclear weapons.
Take Two Steps
Ask your Representative to co-sponsor H. Res. 77, that calls on the United States to “embrace the goals and provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” and pursue the five policy proposals of the Back from the Brink campaign.
If your local government (or another in your district) has already endorsed the Back from the Brink Campaign, be sure to add that fact to the text of the message to your U.S. Representative. At the end of the second paragraph of the message, you can add a sentence saying “Many constituents in our district support these proposals: (NAME OF LOCALITY) has already officially endorsed them.” Let them know that their constituents support pulling the United States and the world back from the brink of nuclear annihilation!
Photo by Jamie Christiani of the Doomsday clock reveal courtesy of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists