Council: Front and Center: June 15, 2019



The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is the Council’s affiliated 501(c)(3) research organization. 

Is this a new Gulf of Tonkin incident? Reports of Iran bombing a Japanese tanker while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was visiting Tehran surfaced Thursday morning, with the United States offering no proof that Iran was, indeed, behind the attacks. Why does proof matter? Because even though President Trump has said repeatedly that he does not want war with Iran, his actions suggest otherwise. National Security Advisor John Bolton whispering in his ear and pushing for a maximum pressure approach is adding familiar fuel to the possible fire.

Before jumping to any conclusions, Congress, our allies and the American public need to see more facts, evidence and analysis of the incident. This would be important for any administration, but particularly for one with that has a demonstrated penchant for bending the truth or outright lying.

There’s no doubt that the Trump administration has been building a steady case for war with Iran. For example, as Senior Policy Director Alexandra Bell writes, a typically apolitical report on arms control compliance turned political this year. Instead of focusing on Iran’s continued compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the report was filled with hypotheticals about what Iran could do or might do. The seeming intent was to help build a case for military options to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.

That’s why any American reaction to this incident must be careful and cautious. Further, it is imperative that Congress exert its authority over any use of force, particularly by making it clear that the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force does not apply to conflict with Iran. The Council is actively supporting such actions on Capitol Hill. 

Speaking of unsubstantiated claims, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley claimed late last month that Russia is “probably” violating the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. This week, the DIA doubled down, saying the United States has “assessed that Russia has conducted nuclear weapons tests that have created nuclear yield.”

As Bell has told various media outlets, any charge of nuclear explosive testing, even at very low levels, is a very serious matter. If the United States has credible evidence of testing, it should immediately engage Russia in discussions and share the evidence with Congress and U.S. allies. None of that seems to be happening. The Department of State has not commented, and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, which monitors testing, has said they have not detected any unusual activity. 

Check out the Center’s new No First Use portal, featuring a fact sheet, answers to frequently asked questions, and a guide to debunking common myths about the policy. The Council supports two bills that would effectively implement such a policy — urge your Representative and Senators to support it too.

This week marked 17 years since the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. What’s happened since then? As this infographic shows: nothing good! Feel free to like and share on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

We expect to endorse our first Congressional candidates for the 2020 cycle within the next week or so. Make sure you’re signed up to receive all Council email so you’ll be among the first to know who we believe will fight for smart nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation policy!

Progress defeating new nuclear weapons: After hours of debate earlier this week, the House Armed Services Committee defeated two amendments that would have funded new “low-yield” nuclear weapons. But these dangerous weapons will likely creep up in debate next week, and we need your help to defeat them. Will you retweet, call or email your Representative with this message, or retweet our tweet at them?

As your constituent, I urge you to oppose the Cheney amendment to the appropriations bill H.R. 2740 for low-yield nuclear weapons. I don’t want my taxpayer dollars going toward an unnecessary and more usable nuclear weapon for President Trump. #no2trumpnukes

Here’s a quick video on why we don’t need these weapons — feel free to like and share on FacebookTwitter or Instagram!

Sign the petition to fire John Bolton: Join more than 2,000 others by signing the petition to urge President Trump to say his signature, “You’re fired!” to Bolton before he leads the United States into another endless war.

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