Manhattan Project nuclear physicist Leo Szilard met with a group of fellow scientists June 2, 1962, to form the Council for a Livable World after months of touting this idea on a speaking tour of college campuses nationwide. In his speech, “Are We On the Road to War?” he describes his thought process for creating the Council after being asked what non-scientists could do to push back against the arms race:
“The first thought that came to my mind was that in cooperation with others, I could try to set up an organization in Washington — a sort of lobby, if you will — which would bring to Washington, from time to time, scholars and scientists who see current events in their historical perspective. These men would speak with the sweet voice of reason, and our lobby could see to it that they be heard by people inside the administration, and also by the key people in Congress.
The next thing that occurred to me was that these distinguished scholars and scientists would be heard, but that they might not be listened to, if they were not able to deliver votes. Would they be listened to if they were able to deliver votes? The minority for which they speak might represent a few percent of the votes, and a few percent of the votes alone would not mean very much.
Still, the combination of a few percent of the votes and the sweet voice of reason might tum out to be an effective combination. And if the minority for which these men speak, were sufficiently dedicated to stand ready not only to deliver votes, but also to make very substantial campaign contributions, then this minority would be in a position to set up the most powerful lobby that ever hit Washington.”
Watch Szilard and fellow Manhattan Project scientists recreate the moments leading up to the dawn of the nuclear age in this 1946 Oscar-nominated short film, “Atomic Power.”
To acknowledge all the changes that have taken place since the dawn of the nuclear age and to commemorate all of the Council’s accomplishments, we’ve released a new video that we urge you to share with your network.
YOU’RE INVITED: A CONVERSATION WITH REP. ANDY KIM Join Executive Director John Tierney as he sits down one-on-one with New Jersey Congressman — and 2022 Council endorsee — Andy Kim for a discussion of Rep. Kim’s background as a national security professional and how it informs his work in Congress, and what a diplomacy-first approach to foreign policy could look like. The event will take place this Tuesday, June 21, at 6 p.m. ET via Zoom. There will be a chance to ask Rep. Kim your questions — when registering for the event, be sure to note your question. We look forward to seeing you there!
IRAN SITUATION ESCALATES; CHANCES OF DEAL NARROWING
Just last week, Iran removed “basically all” of the extra monitoring equipment installed under the 2015 nuclear deal going beyond Iran’s core obligations to the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This most recent escalation is in retaliation for the U.S.- and European-led censure of Iran at the IAEA’s Board of Governors meeting, the highest nuclear governing body, due to its failure to cooperate with the agency’s safeguards investigation into its pre-2003 nuclear weapons program.
Now, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi suspects that in just 3-4 weeks’ time, the IAEA may no longer be able to recover knowledge of the totality of Iran’s nuclear activities even if there is a diplomatic breakthrough. Sometimes this sort of pressure produces diplomatic breakthroughs, but there are not too many positive signals right now.
The Center put out a statement after Iran’s actions last week, calling them “predictable” and saying they reinforce the need for the Iran nuclear deal.
WE’RE HIRING: DO YOU KNOW A GOOD FIT?
The Council and Center are hiring for three full-time, early-career positions: Research Analyst, Communications Associate and Staff Accountant. If you or someone you know is looking for an exciting non-profit job, check out the listings and apply today.
POLITICAL NEWS AND NOTES
Want to learn more of the day-to-day highs, lows and goings-on of our endorsed candidates’ campaigns and other important midterm news? Senior Fellow John Isaacs breaks it all down in Political News and Notes. The latest: Rep. Mondaire Jones’ “Different” campaign ad, Sen. Patty Murray’s negative ad signals concerns and results of key primaries in California and New Jersey.
A WORLD WITHOUT ARMS CONTROL?
Senior Policy Director John Erath weighs Vladimir Putin’s dangerous nuclear gamble in his latest opinion piece in The National Interest, arguing that Putin’s most dangerous decision has not been to invade Ukraine nor to continue losing his own soldiers in an unwinnable war, but the “increasing tendency to attribute the failures of the Russian military to foreign assistance provided to Ukraine and employ threats of nuclear force to discourage such aid.”
Erath reflects on the future of arms control in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the imminent expiration of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in his latest blog post:“Our goal should be to minimize the danger of nuclear weapons, not simply to have treaties, and there are a number of possible lines of effort that can and should be pursued, pending the revival of a big-ticket treaty process.”
YOUR CHANGE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD
Want an easy way to give back to the Council? Round up your change to change the world! Every time you make a purchase on the selected debit/credit card you enroll, the system will round up to the next dollar. The change is then donated to the Council collectively once per month. Enroll on our website: follow the prompts to register the debit/credit card you would like to use to participate.