Dear Presidential Candidate Joe Biden:
While we greatly admire many dimensions of your campaign and emerging platform, we are deeply distressed at the absence of an advocate for nuclear disarmament and the reining in of the enormous budgets proposed for nuclear weapons upgrades. President Trump’s pulling out of the Iran treaty and the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty has increased the danger of accidental or intentional nuclear exchanges. The investment in upgrading nuclear weapons is provocative and destabilizing, and a terrible misuse of national resources during this Covid -19 crisis.
We ask you to return to the vison of peace and serious nuclear disarmament that former President Kennedy articulated in his courageous 1963 speech at American University and that former President Obama put forward in his 2009 Prague speech, and reject the escalation represented by, for example, the contracts just awarded for the Long-Range Standoff Missile. A natural step would be to add strong nuclear disarmament planks to your platform:
- No First Use of Nuclear Weapons;
- Promote the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty – no new nuclear weapons testing;
- Cancel the provocative, destabilizing and enormously expensive $2.0 trillion nuclear weapons modernization program;
- Lead with diplomacy in resolving international conflicts.
- Designate national and international nuclear disarmament a central goal.
One of the reasons that the richest country on earth faces the Covid-19 epidemic without adequate tests, masks, protective equipment and treatments is the diversion of the nation’s tax dollars into ever more expensive and dangerous nuclear weapons, such as those proposed in the nuclear weapons modernization. Cutting the funding of these unnecessary programs will free up funds desperately needed for healthcare, education, infrastructure and climate programs.
The American people need passage of No First Strike Legislation, the reduction of work on nuclear weapons upgrades, and an aggressive pursuit of New Start and other treaty initiatives. Our common security depends on ridding the world of nuclear weapons, an international effort which requires US leadership.
We urge that you include in your campaign one or more proponents of nuclear disarmament -- such as former Secretary of Defense William Perry or former missile launch officer and co-founder of Global Zero, Bruce Blair or General Lee Butler, the former head of Strategic Nuclear Command -- who can keep the dire nuclear peril in front of your eyes and who can help you to incorporate a compelling commitment to nuclear disarmament into your platform.