Despite the end of the Cold War in 1989, nearly 20 years ago, the US-Russian relationship has deteriorated dramatically. US promises were made to Gorbachev that if Russia did not object to the admission of a reunified Germany into NATO, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the alliance would not be expanded eastward. NATO now includes former members of the Soviet bloc and has expanded right up to the Russian border. Although promises were given at the 1995 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference to maintain the strategic stability of the ABM Treaty between the US and Russia, the US unilaterally withdrew from the ABM treaty and is now perceived to be threatening Russia’s security with plans to build missile and radar bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. In retaliation, Russia threatened to put missiles in Kalingrad bordering Poland and Lithuania. For the past two years, when Russia and China proposed negotiations for a treaty to ban weapons in space, the US was the only country in the world to vote against this initiative. Instead of pursuing a path of verified nuclear disarmament, as agreed to in the START treaties, the most recent US-Russian agreement for cuts in nuclear arsenals, the SORT treaty, had no verification provisions.
The new US President, Obama, has declared that he supports a nuclear weapons free world. Gorbachev and Reagan were seriously considering the total elimination of nuclear weapons, but failed to agree because Reagan would not give up US plans to build a missile shield in space. President Obama has stated that he is not prepared to go ahead with such a missile shield unless he is convinced it will work. Eminent scientists have argued compellingly that such a shield could readily be defeated as it would be incapable of guaranteeing total protection from a missile-launched nuclear attack were such an attack to be accompanied by a barrage of additional missile-launched decoys. If only one nuclear armed missile evaded destruction, catastrophe would reign. President Medvedev appears to have suspended Russia’s decision to deploy missiles in Kalingrad, pending upcoming talks between the two leaders. Against this background, we call on President Obama and President Medvedev to explore the following possibilities at their planned meeting:
- Agree to cut mutual nuclear arsenals to 1,000 warheads with adequate monitoring and verification procedures
- Call all remaining nuclear weapons states to the negotiating table to negotiate a treaty to eliminate all nuclear weapons
- Set a timetable for negotiations to be completed by 2015, with complete disarmament by 2020.
- Immediately take nuclear weapons off high alert
- Announce a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons and forego the utility of nuclear weapons as a means of deterring attack
- Sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and close the test sites at Nevada and Novaya Zemlya, just as France and China have closed their test sites.
- Stop all funding for research, design, and development of new nuclear warheads
- Stop all refurbishing of existing nuclear warheads
- Restore the ABM Treaty and invite other nations to join in a general treaty to ban all missiles
- Negotiate a ban on weapons in space
- Work to reform the peacekeeping and peace making capacity of the United Nations with the purpose of precluding the need for regional military alliances like NATO and the CIS
- Join and support the International Renewable Energy Agency and fund it with $50 billion as proposed by Mikhail Gorbachev for a solar fund on the 20th Anniversary of Chernobyl, while phasing out nuclear power.
If these steps are initiated by Presidents Obama and Medvedev, the world will truly enter a new condition of human security for the 21st Century. Enormous resources and energy will be unleashed to effectively address the present economic and climate crises enabling us to meet and surpass the Millennium Development Goals for all humanity.