Abolition 2000 – Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

On February 1, 2023, Cooper UNion, a weekly half-hour TV program aired by Think-Tech Hawaii, featured three Abolition 2000 speakers on the show Doomsday Clock Ticks Toward Existential End (watch on YouTube or Vimeo).

Ivan Siluianov, Abolition 2000 Secretary; Alyn Ware, Abolition 2000 Coordinating Committee Member and Michaela Sørensen, Core Member of the Abolition 2000 youth network Youth Fusion, were joined by Commander Robert Forsyth RN, former 2nd in command (and sometimes in command) of a UK strategic nuclear submarine, in a program hosted by Joshua Cooper to discuss the announcement by Bulletin of Atomic Scientists on January 24 setting the hands of the Doomsday Clock to 90 Seconds to Midnight.

This new time is 10 seconds closer to midnight than the previous Doomsday Clock announcement in January 2022. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the increased risk of nuclear escalation were key reasons for the new Clock time. However, the move to 90 seconds to Midnight was also influenced by the climate crisis and the breakdown of global norms and institutions needed to mitigate risks associated with advancing technologies and biological threats such as COVID-19.

UNGA Resolution 1(1) and opportunities for multilateral action

The Doomsday Clock is announced annually on (or close to) the anniversary of UN General Assembly Resolution 1(1). The resolution, entitled Establishment of a Commission to Deal with the Problems Raised by the Discovery of Atomic Energy, was adopted by consensus on 24 January 1946 and established the commitment to eliminate atomic (nuclear) weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Ware noted in the Cooper UNion program that this anniversary is significant because the prevention of nuclear war and the abolition of nuclear weapons requires action not only at national levels but also internationally, and the United Nations provides the best opportunities to do this. (See, for example, The Doomsday Clock and the UN Summit of the Future: What can you do?)

No-first-use to prevent nuclear war

Commander Forsyth discussed the experience of serving as a commanding officer of a nuclear submarine and planning for the use of nuclear weapons, supposedly in self-defence but in reality under a policy that included potential first-use of nuclear weapons. This policy, combined with misinformation, miscalculation, crisis escalation and accidents, makes the possibility of nuclear war unacceptably high, with the only rational solutions being to immediately move to no-first-use policies followed by concrete progress toward nuclear abolition.

Engaging youth through connecting the issues

Ms Sørensen spoke about the importance of engaging youth and building cooperation between the nuclear disarmament, climate and human rights movements, as these issues are connected and cooperation can help build success. She noted that Youth Fusion also builds cooperation between generations – utilizing the energy, innovation and inspiration of youth with the experience of those who have been active for much longer and many of whom have risen to influential positions in governments and international organizations.

A Youth Hotline

Mr Siluianov highlighted the Doomsday Clock warning about nationalism, disinformation and polarization in society – which is exacerbating conflicts and strengthening militarism. He spoke about the importance of reaching across political and ideological barriers to build communication and mutual respect with those with whom we might disagree. “Youth Fusion is planning a Youth Hotline,” he announced. “This is inspired by the famous Hotline between leaders during the Cold War, but would be at community, academic and activist levels to engage youth in particular, from East and West, North and South in these critical issues.”

Other follow-up to the Doomsday Clock

Abolition 2000 encourages individual and organizational members to continue being active in other follow-up to the Doomsday Clock announcement, and to share your actions and events in our email list serve (Subscribe to abolition-caucus-subscribe@googlegroups.com) and on our social media such as our facebook page.