Senator Markey and Abolition 2000 tell President Trump not to resume nuclear tests

US Administration officials discuss possibility of resuming nuclear weapons tests. Abolition 2000 circulates a statement in protest. Senator Markey sends letter of condemnation to President Trump and announces anti-testing legislation.

The Washington Post reported on Friday May 22 that US officials are discussing the possibility of resuming explosive nuclear testing for the first time in 28 years.

The topic reportedly surfaced at a May 15 meeting of senior officials representing the top national security agencies after accusations from president Donald Trump’s administration that Russia and China are performing low-yield nuclear tests. Moscow and Beijing have denied the claims.

PNND Co-President Senator Ed Markey responded immediately with a letter to President Trump opposing the possible resumption of nuclear tests.

“President Trump is risking a new, even more dangerous Cold War and willfully walking down a road that ends in nuclear conflict,” said Senator Markey. “Previous U.S. nuclear testing poisoned the ground and air with deadly radiation, and brought us closer to a catastrophic nuclear weapons exchange with the former Soviet Union. We cannot allow that to happen again."

Senator Markey to introduce legislation against new nuclear tests

Senator Markey announced on May 24 that he will soon introduce legislation to prohibit any new nuclear testing by President Trump and to set the stage to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force.

"This is the only way we can place inspectors on the ground to investigate any accusation that a country has cheated on the treaty,' said Senator Markey. "And if President Trump is sincere about engaging with Russia and China to prevent a renewed arms race, he can start by making the easiest decision of all – extending the New START Treaty. Doing so will keep a lid on the arsenals of both the United States and Russia.”

Abolition 2000 condemns prospect of US nuclear tests

On May 23, nuclear abolition campaigners from around the world met online for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons and unanimously adopted a statement condemning the US administration consideration of a resumption of nuclear tests. The statement also opposes any nuclear tests worldwide, and condemns the re-emerging nuclear arms race.

“Testing of nuclear weapons evokes nuclear apocalypse, as in the days of US-Soviet brinksmanship. It must not be resumed," said John Burroughs, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy and one of the statement’s drafters. "At the same time, we must recognize that the capabilities for apocalypse remain in place, and are being maintained and improved in the absence of nuclear explosive testing. This too must be brought to an end.

“Renewed nuclear testing initiated by the US would enable India, Pakistan and North Korea to test and develop ‘H-bomb’ thermonuclear warheads, which the existing moratorium on testing has prevented them from deploying," said Daniel Ellsberg, former US nuclear war planner, famed whistleblower of the Pentagon Papers and paticipant of the Abolition 2000 meeting. 

"They could then join the US and Russia in threatening the world with the capability to cause nuclear winter, global famine, and near-extinction of humanity. Obviously, no nation on earth should possess this power. Rather than inviting its spread, the US and Russia should neither maintain nor ‘modernize’ but dismantle their own Doomsday Machines," concluded Mr Ellsberg.

Nuclear abolition in a Post COVID-19 World

Participants at the Abolition 2000 AGM also discussed nuclear weapons policies and disarmament strategies in the new COVID-19 environment and a post COVID-19 world. This was stimulated by insightful video presentations from leading thinkers and campaigners in the field, including:

  • Oleg Bodrov (Russian Federation), Public Council of the South Coast of the Gulf of Finland
  • Maria Fernanda Espinosa (Ecuador), World Future Council and former President of the UN General Assembly
  • Tarja Cronberg (Finland), SIPRI European Security Programme
  • Kate Hudson (United Kingdom), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
  • Andrew Lichterman (United States), Western States Legal Foundation
  • Vanda Proskova (Czech Republic), Abolition 2000 Youth Network and Move the Nuclear Weapons Money
  • Suvrat Raju (India), Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace.
  • Elder Kathy Sanchez (United States), Environmental Health & Justice and Sayain Circle of Grandmothers Coordinator.

Click here to watch their video presentations.