As the teams here at the Council and at our sister organization, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, continue to track new developments in Ukraine, the nuclear risks of the current crisis remain top of mind. In a rare joint statement, both the Council and Center’s Boards of Directors condemned Russia’s illegal and dangerous invasion of Ukraine. “The Ukraine War should be a wake up call about the ongoing risk of nuclear war and underline the importance of reducing the number of nuclear weapons,” said the statement signed on behalf of the 28 combined members of both boards. “We support all efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the war. The door should always be open to diplomacy.”
Senior Policy Director John Erath published an op-ed in Just Security, arguing that ensuring the interests of Ukraine and its government take precedence at the negotiating table will provide the best prospect for an enduring peace. “A lasting solution requires keeping the best interests of the Ukrainian people in mind, something that could take many more months or longer to accomplish. There are risks that attempting a fast conclusion could prolong the suffering it would be meant to alleviate,” says Erath. The piece has also been translated into Ukrainian by a group of Ukrainian public international lawyers.
Erath has also written several new posts for the Center’s Nukes of Hazard blog. Russian Atrocities and the Importance of Deterrence looks at how the international community can deter future human rights abuses in Ukraine by raising the opportunity costs to violations of international norms. Little or Too Much examines how, once again, Putin is using threats of nuclear weapons as an instrument of statecraft in an attempt to deter Sweden and Finland from joining NATO, and the dangers to arms control if these actions are normalized.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION UNVEILS DISAPPOINTING NUCLEAR POSTURE REVIEW AND FISCAL YEAR 2023 BUDGET REQUEST
In late March, President Biden’s team released initial documents for the Fiscal Year 2023 budget and details related to its recently completed but still classified Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). While the budget and NPR will take some commonsense steps to reverse some of the worst nuclear policies of the Trump administration, we believe they fall far short of the expectations raised by Candidate Biden when he said he would reduce the role of nuclear weapons. Check out the Center’s initial analysis of the $813 billion national defense budget request and the Council’s full statement on the budget.
POLITICAL FIGHT BREWING OVER NUCLEAR WEAPONS CUTS
The Biden administration has decided to scrap plans to develop a new nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile initiated by the Trump administration and finally retire the last megaton-sized nuclear warhead in the U.S. arsenal, the B83 gravity bomb. However, many hawkish Members of Congress are actively working to reverse that decision, aided by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley who last week told Congress he disagrees with the President’s decision to cut these programs.
The Council has been at the center of this fight, working with our allies in Congress to shelve the systems for good and increase public education and media attention to the issue. Executive Director John Tierney was quoted in a POLITICO article this week:
Canceling the cruise missile and retiring gravity bomb are simply “common sense” moves, according to former Rep. John Tierney, executive director of the Council for a Livable World, arguing that Biden’s nuclear vision “falls far short” of the changes he should have pursued.
THE FINAL HURDLE TO REVIVE THE IRAN DEAL
By all accounts, the final sticking point between Washington and Tehran is whether or not to lift the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps listing as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The Council has been busy explaining how the negotiators got to this point and building support in Congress for a return to the deal, should the Biden administration secure a compromise on this last issue.
Writing in Arms Control Today, Research Analyst Samuel Hickey laid out the current status of the negotiations and explained Russia’s efforts to tie its illegal invasion of Ukraine to the talks in Vienna. In that same publication, Hickey discussed a new agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to resolve Iran’s safeguards compliance issues; previously the largest sticking point in the talks. Hickey also joined a TRT World Roundtable panel to discuss Russia’s role in revving the nuclear deal and provided commentary to the Italian Institute for International Political Studies on how Russia’s efforts to throw a spanner in the gears of the talks would impact Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA.
In recent weeks, Council for a Livable World has been proud to roll out the endorsement of nine great new Senate and House candidates. On the Senate side, we endorsed Cheri Beasley, Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Peter Welch. Donate to these or other Senate candidates endorsed by the Council.
On the House side, we endorsed Rep. Colin Allred, Rep. Bill Foster, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, Rep. Sara Jacobs, Rep. Annie Kuster and Rep. Andy Levin. Donate to these or other House candidates endorsed by the Council.
A CONVERSATION WITH REP. KATIE PORTER
Join Executive Director John Tierney as he sits down one-on-one with California Congresswoman — and 2022 Council endorsee — Katie Porter for a discussion of Rep. Porter’s current work on our issues, nuclear threats past and present, and why it is so essential for people to get involved in policy through politics. The event will take place May 5, 2022 from 7 p.m. ET — 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. There will be a chance to ask Rep. Porter your questions — when registering for the event, be sure to note your question. We look forward to seeing you there!
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