May 2018 Meeting
Our fourth Wednesday meeting is coming up this week, May 23rd.
We will finish the discussion of Daniel Ellsberg’s book, The Doomsday Machine, covering chapters 14 through 21. Five members have volunteered to take a chapter or so to summarize and pose questions. We have had excellent discussions on the first part of the book.
Come at 6:00 for a simple supper and conversation. Meeting begins at 7:00.
Time permitting, we can have a discussion on the Dr. Ira Helfand event last Wednesday. See below for notes on that presentation.
AND a brief report on Pax Christi Texas March conference.
If you have anything to add to the agenda or announcements, please let me know.
First timers, please email by reply or call me at 214-357-2173 for location, and other information.—Joyce Hall
Notes from Dr. Ira Helfand event, May 16, 2018
After the nuclear non-proliferation treaties, we acted as if the danger had gone, but this is a miscalculation—-the weapons are still with us.
Here are factors that have changed.
· Geopolitical situation between the U.S. and Russia is worse than ever.
· U. S Chinese relations are worse than ever.
· There is very tense economic competition around the world and military near misses are very dangerous.
· Korea—not out of the woods. Not necessarily designed for military peace.
· India/Pakistan—-fought four wars. Kashmir fighting every day; can easily escalate and would almost certainly inflate to nukes.
· Iran—confrontation could be catastrophic
· Cyberterrorism—Hack into command and control system; convince them that they are under attack
· Climate change—massive movements of people, fighting over land.
A huge educational campaign is necessary.
There is talk in some quarters of a limited nuclear war which could be a threat to the entire planet.
Example: India/Pakistan—–1st week-20 million will die; causing firestorms with world wide climate destruction.
There are 1000 warheads on hair trigger alert. The president has unchecked authority to destroy the world.
We need desperately to try:
Abandon money spent on nukes, set forth a timetable and have a group to oversee.
This is a step to secure our own security. Three years to turn arms race around—-Already did it once with the ‘Freeze’ program and we can do it again.
Q and A
What about getting corporations on board. There are a few corporations in ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons)—won the Nobel Peace prize in July 1917. 120 countries have signed on to the resolution but it requires 50 countries to ratify it. The U.S. is leaning on some countries to not ratify, but thinks we are on a good trajectory to get the fifty, but it may take a while longer that first anticipated because countries have to go through a process.
Nine countries have nuclear weapons, but 95 percent are in the U.S. and Russia.
The media is resistant to cover this, so it’s not on most people’s radar screen as they have not been given the information.
China stopped at 300. They decided that 300 could destroy the world so why make more.
But their policy is beginning to change and we are not sure why.
First Use Policy—–The U.S. has never had a no first use policy, and have threatened to use them several times, i.e. Formosa Straits, North Korea, Iran in 1978.
The U.S. has a terrible track record here. We have them to threaten other countries and this is fully and widely understood in the rest of the world.
Use for deterrence—some element of truth, but doesn’t guarantee they won’t be used. Deterrence can fail completely in so many different situations
During the cold are, we were prepared to use.
We were saved only because we were lucky. Luck cannot continue to prevent a nuclear war. It is hard to understand how we have been so lucky. It can’t last forever. At some point they will be used intentionally or by accident or by cyber attack.
Those of us who have nukes are living in a fantasy world. We need to be aggressive about education and insisting that this be reversed. It seems impossible but it happened before in three years between Gorbachev and Reagan who had been enemies and then came together to talk about the understanding that we either eliminate nuclear weapons or they will eliminate us.
We must get young people into the movement but how to get them in the door??
SGI-Buddhist youth group met with Dr. Helfand in the afternoon and they were enthusiastic about devising a way.
Money is a big issue, but people who think that making and keeping nuclear weapons will spend anything if they think they will protect them and their children. It may take our children to educate us and lead the way.
We tell people to get rid of their nukes, like Libya, but countries like North Korea have seen what happened to Libya when they did—-we attacked them. We also attacked Iraq because we didn’t believe they had nukes. We are sending a message to the rest of the world—-have nukes or we might invade you. It is the exact opposite of what we say we want to do.
We meet at summits with countries that have nukes. Constantly sending messages that it’s good to have them.
We have become more and more complacent about permanent war.
We have a very distorted economy—–much depends on war.
9/11 was a cover for the military to invade other countries.
New project from Physicians for Social Responsibility—–Back from the Brink
Go to this website to learn more about this project and learn more about how you might get involved:
Back from the Brink: A Call to Prevent Nuclear War
We call on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by:
· Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first
· ending the sole, unchecked authority of any President to launch a nuclear attack
· taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert
· cancelling the plan to replace its entire arsenal with enhanced weapons
· actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.