February 5 2009
Obama Initiative to Slash Nuclear Weapons Sends a Peace Signal to the World
(New York) The Times Online of London has reported that President Obama will present a plan to Russia calling for both nations to reduce their nuclear warheads to 1000 each, an 80% reduction. This is a significant step toward the new President's stated goal of abolishing nuclear weapons and is a reason to celebrate. We offer President Obama our enthusiastic congratulations for his vision and courage. The move sends a message to the world that the United States is ready to take meaningful steps toward lowering tensions and expanding dialogue.
Upon Obama's historic election, New Humanist Spokespersons from all over the world sent him a letter emphasizing that the gravest threat to mankind is the danger of nuclear war. Today the risk of a nuclear accident or detonation surpasses even the most dangerous moments of the Cold War. We urged Obama to "use the power of [his] new office, the mandate ... received from the citizens of the United States and the support of people around the planet, to decisively signal a new direction for US foreign policy"
The letter further stated, "... the priorities in such a direction should be the withdrawal of US troops from all occupied territories … and a clear and immediate initiative toward progressive and proportional global nuclear disarmament."
In less than three weeks since his inauguration, President Obama has taken the first step. We encourage the President to go further and to abandon US plans promoted by Bush to build radar and missile installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, part of the National Missile Defense (NMD) project. This plan has provoked deep concern in Russia, which, not unreasonably, interprets the misleadingly labeled “defense shield” as an act of aggression towards them. We encourage President Obama to re-think the US military presence in Afghanistan and to move forward decisively in withdrawing from Iraq.
The people of the world overwhelmingly want peace and this is a moment when a new direction is both urgent and possible. The time is right. Also this week, the British Foreign Secretary reaffirmed his country's commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons.
Keep going, Obama, the people are with you! Let's continue on this path toward giving future generations a world free of nuclear weapons and pave the way for reducing conventional weapons and militarism as well.
Facing the Unthinkable Nuclear Danger