In an effort to reduce nuclear weapons, President Barack Obama said in a 2009 speech in Prague: “So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”
Yet, sources at the New York Times cite that Obama has the lowest nuclear weapons dismantlement rate of any president. The newspaper proposes to cut funding for dismantlements by 45 percent in 2015 to help pay for increased nuclear weapons production.
A federal study put the weapons production price tag (over the next 30 years) at nearly one trillion dollars, according to the NYT. Supporters of arms control, the NYT points out, as well as some of President Obama’s closest advisers, have said hopes for the president’s vision have turned to “baffled disappointment” as the modernization of nuclear capabilities has become an end unto itself.
We have a strengthened GOP. Will this affect U.S. nuclear plans? According to Politico, “Two weeks before a crucial diplomatic deadline, newly victorious Republicans in Congress are plotting to derail one of Barack Obama’s few remaining chances for a second-term policy legacy: a nuclear deal with Iran.”
All of this, as the world watches the tense sabre-rattling coming from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
For activists worldwide, these complications are chilling.
It seems there’s only a groundswell of public refusal to let governments continue on this path. We need to educate citizens everywhere that the ultimate use of nuclear weapons by accident or intention could end our familiar world, “in one afternoon,” according to Arundhati Roy.
Roy, an Indian author and political activist, has written about these toils in an essay, “The End of Imagination,” which details the threats between India and Pakistan:
“If there is a nuclear war, our foes will not be China or America or even each other. Our foe will be the earth herself. Our cities and forests, our fields and villages will burn for days. Rivers will turn to poison. The air will become fire. The wind will spread the flames. When everything there is to burn has burned and the fires die, smoke will rise and shut out the sun.
“The earth will be enveloped in darkness. . . . What shall we do then, those of us who are still alive? Burned and blind and bald and ill, carrying the cancerous carcasses of our children in our arms, where shall we go? What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we breathe?”
Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s “Peace Train” runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.