President Obama reflected on Friday on visiting Hiroshima Peace Park. Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs, with Peace Action (the nation’s largest grassroots peace organization which has worked for nuclear abolition since 1957), who has been to the same park three times, made the following statement:
“I commend President Obama for being the first sitting President to visit Hiroshima and reaffirm his commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons. It is significant that he spent time with Hibakusha — atomic bomb survivors. Obama is right that we need to do more to avert war and civilian suffering. That should include more investments in diplomacy, a reduction in the bloated Pentagon budget and action to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The President has taken the important steps of completing the New Start Treaty, the Iran agreement, limiting the role of nuclear weapons and several Nuclear Security Summits. At the same time, his administration has proposed the largest increase in spending on nuclear weapons and their delivery systems in recent history — $1 trillion over 30 years. Additionally, during his term, the reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons has been the least since post cold war. President Obama has six months to solidify his nuclear legacy and ensure that his early Nobel Prize was deserved. This historic presidential visit to Hiroshima by Obama needs to be followed by historic nuclear weapon reductions.
“There are a number of actions that President Obama can take to fulfill his words of moving towards a world free of nuclear weapons. The Pentagon agrees that the U.S. can reduce below the New Start Treat level of 1,550 the number of strategically deployed warheads. And that can easily be done by retiring warheads now that are slated to be retired in the next several years. The same can be done with the approximately 2,600 warheads the U.S. holds in reserve. President Obama can remove warheads from ‘hair trigger’ alert which makes them ready to be launched within minutes and exposing us to the risk of accidental launch. After warhead reductions, removing warheads from alert or both the President can challenge Russia to do the same. The President can roll back U.S. plans to escalate its nuclear weapons program by spending $1 trillion over three decades. A simple cut would be the duplicative, destabilizing new nuclear cruise missile known as the the long range stand off missile (LRSO) at a minimum cost of $32 billion. Lastly, the President could join with China and India by changing U.S. policy to ‘no first use’ of nuclear weapons and urge NATO, Russia and other countries to do the same.
“In summary, President Obama can reduce strategic or reserve warheads, remove warheads from high alert, cut plans to escalate the U.S. nuclear weapons program like the new nuclear cruise missile and adopt a ‘no first use’ nuclear weapons policy as a way to put actions behind his thoughtful words in Hiroshima.”