On the Issues


NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Council for a Livable World believes that the United States must work toward a “world free of nuclear weapons.” The Council believes that the current U.S. nuclear arsenal of approximately 4,800 nuclear weapons is a Cold War holdover that is increasingly irrelevant to the current security environment and sucks funding from higher priority national security and domestic programs. Important policies that will help the United States reduce its reliance on nuclear weapons include opposing the development of new nuclear weapons; committing to a “no first use” of nuclear weapons pledge; taking nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert; ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); and negotiating additional verifiable and legally-binding reduction agreements with Russia. In addition, the United States must reshape its current plans to rebuild all three legs of its existing nuclear “triad” and their associated warheads, which could cost over $1 trillion over the next 30 years. These plans are moving forward even though they are unaffordable, unrealistic, and unnecessary.
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NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION

Council for a Livable World supports the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which has proven largely successful in stemming the spread of nuclear weapons to additional state and non-state actors and remains a key cornerstone of global security. However, the global nonproliferation regime has come under threat in recent years due to North Korea's illicit nuclear weapons programs and concerns about the direction of Iran's nuclear program. The long-term viability of the regime is also threatened by the continued maintenance by the existing nuclear weapons states of excessively large weapons and materials stockpiles and their continued modernization of these forces. The Council believes nuclear non-proliferation efforts can be enhanced by a realistic diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear impasse, U.S. ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), negotiation of an international treaty banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons purposes, significantly reducing global inventories of nuclear weapons, and committing to the global cleanout of all vulnerable nuclear materials as soon as possible
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IRAN

Council for a Livable World supports a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear problem. The U.S. should continue to work with its international allies to negotiate a comprehensive nuclear deal to ensure that Iran does not build a nuclear weapon. An acceptable final deal will address Iran’s nuclear capabilities, monitoring of Iran’s nuclear activities, and the ability of the U.S. military to react to any move toward a bomb. Military force against Iran should not be considered at this time, and should not be exercised in the future unless it meets basic requirements, such as authorization from Congress and the United Nations Security Council. .
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IRAQ

Council for a Livable World strongly opposes military engagement in Iraq. We cannot afford another unwinnable war overseas. As we’ve learned from past experience, using military force only fans the flames of internal conflict in that region. After thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars spent, most Americans agree that our military cannot resolve the internal conflicts in the region..
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PENTAGON SPENDING

Council for a Livable World supports ending ineffective and unnecessary spending by the Pentagon. There are many parts of the Pentagon’s budget which consume massive budgetary resources, but provide little return in terms of security. The U.S. must take into account the larger strategic picture, combining non-military security measures with an effective military for global peace and security under American leadership in the future.
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NUCLEAR TERRORISM


Council for a Livable World believes that nuclear terrorism is one of the gravest threats facing the United States, and that serious efforts continue to be needed to prevent a terrorist group from acquiring and using a nuclear weapon. Certain programs are already reducing the threat, including the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program and the Global Threat Reduction Initiative. Since 2009 the United States has spearheaded an accelerated international effort to enhance the security of weapons-usable nuclear materials. Significant progress has been made safeguarding nuclear materials and through the nuclear security summit process. However, more work remains to be done. Budget cuts for critical U.S. material security and nonproliferation programs in recent years have prevented quicker headway in securing these dangerous materials. Failure to adequately fund these programs in the future will continue to slow progress toward preventing nuclear bomb-grade ingredients from falling into the wrong hands. .
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MISSILE DEFENSE

Council for a Livable World believes that after more than $160 billion spent since the mid-1980s, the technical viability and cost-effectiveness of the US missile defense effort is questionable. Some short- and medium-range missile defense systems have showed promise, particularly in support of U.S. defense commitments to allies, but the system designed to protect the U.S. homeland based in Alaska and California, known as the ground based midcourse defense (GMD) system, is deeply flawed. The GMD system has had only one successful flight test in the past five and a half years. Proposals to deploy additional GMD interceptors in Alaska and build an additional GMD site on the East Coast would be throwing good money after bad. .
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AFGHANISTAN

On May 27, 2014, President Obama proposed leaving 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through 2015, with an eventual drawdown over the next two years. Council for a Livable World applauds the President's efforts to bring the conflict to an end, but believes that the 2016 date does not come soon enough. The United States has expended 13 years, $550 billion of U.S. taxpayer money, the lives of over 2,000 American services members and almost 20,000 wounded, and countless Afghan military and civilian lives. It is clear that leaving U.S. troops in Afghanistan is not in either nation's interest. Both the American public and Congress support ending U.S involvement in Afghanistan as soon as possible, and Council for a Livable World urges President Obama to bring all U.S. troops home from Afghanistan as expeditiously as possible.
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BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS

Council for a Livable World believes in upholding and strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The international effort to destroy Syria's chemical weapons in 2014 was an important step forward toward worldwide chemical disarmament. The Council supports establishing a U.N. bioweapons unit for investigating allegations of bioweapons development or use; implementing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540, which calls for various actions from member states to prevent non-state actors from obtaining weapons of mass destruction; enhancing the transparency of biodefense and other scientific dual-use research activities; and decreasing military and law enforcement interest in incapacitating biochemical weapons.
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NORTH KOREA

North Korea continues to pose a serious national security challenge to the United States and Northeast Asia. Council for a Livable World believes that the United States must work to reinvigorate diplomacy to negotiate a verifiable and irreversible disarmament process with the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. Additional focus during this time is needed to ensure crisis management mechanisms exist that will help to prevent accidental conflict.
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