As 2008 draws to a close, so do the last days of an administration that has seriously reversed progress on nuclear disarmament. As we approach the beginning of the Obama presidency we have an opportunity for the United States to lead a global effort to end the threat of nuclear weapons that hangs over humanity like the mythical Sword of Damocles. President-elect Obama has stated his commitment to this goal, but so have most previous presidents. The proof will be in his actions.
With a deeply entrenched nuclear weapons complex, a military that covets its nuclear weapons, weapons makers whose profits depend on continued dependence on nuclear weapons, and a national sense that nuclear weapons provide a deterrent, it will be extremely difficult to move the U.S. into a leadership role, let alone cooperation in a global disarmament effort. It will require tremendous pressure from the people to motivate President Obama (and Congress) to take the leadership role in this effort.
If I could make only one New Year's resolution, it would be to do everything in my power to move the U.S. into a leadership role in a serious global effort to abolish nuclear weapons. You can help get us there. To understand the issue I suggest reading A RETURN TO SANITY; UNITED STATES LEADERSHIP FOR A NUCLEAR-WEAPONS FREE WORLD: A Briefing for the Next President by David Krieger of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. The briefing paper lays out arguments against the classical thinking on subjects like "deterrence", and describes the steps necessary to achieve a nuclear-weapons free world.
In about one minute you can help put nuclear disarmament on Obama's agenda by voting at Change.org. David Krieger has put a proposal on the Change.org Web site that has a strong chance of becoming policy if it ends up as one of the top 10 ideas (based on total votes). Go to Change.org and read David's proposal, and if you agree, vote YES! As I write this post, the idea is in 5th place in Foreign Relations, and needs just 45 votes to make it into the second round!
And don't forget to sign the appeal to the President-elect for US Leadership for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World. That takes another minute, and look at how much you've accomplished. But seriously - it will take much more than these two initial steps, but they are still important steps. A nuclear-weapons free world is possible, though not necessarily in this generation. But to get there, we must start now. So make a resolution. Future generations will thank us.