GSI eNewsletter: June, 2009
A Message from the President
US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made a joint announcement in London April 1, 2009, on the eve of the G20 summit: “We committed our two countries to achieving a nuclear free-world.” President Obama’s related speech on April 5, 2009, in Prague was inspiring. In relevant part, he said: “…(W)e must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century. And as nuclear power — as a nuclear power, as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it. So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”
Achieving this vision will require changing political relationships. A first step in making this change was made at the recent meeting of States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) held in New York during May. Thanks in large part to a constructive, forward-looking United States delegation and very substantive proposals to reinvigorate the Treaty, a new atmosphere and working agenda were promptly achieved. It is worth noting that President Barack Obama delivered a letter to the conference, thus significantly increasing the political salience of the NPT and of the entire non-proliferation and disarmament regime.
Yet, within the military-industrial complexes of Russia and the US, there appears to be a lack of enthusiasm for the visionary changes that will be needed to fulfill the aspirations of political leadership. Here are some examples that indicate how high this hurdle might be. General Kevin Chilton, head of the US Strategic Command, indicated the US would respond to a cyber attack with its full range of options, including a nuclear attack. (See Global Security Newswire article here.) General Nikolai Solovtsov, commander of Russia’s Strategic Nuclear Forces, urged his government to limit new arms reductions to no less than 1,500 weapons (See Reuters report here.) General James Cartwright, Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, continues to push for a “Global Strike” capacity, a conventional strategic posture with weapons to back it up, that could be used against any target in the world in a very short time frame. (Read the full text of General Cartwright’s remarks here.)
In this natural tension between different approaches to international security, the role of civil society advocacy becomes even more critical. We feel privileged to contribute to a perspective based on the premise that through diplomacy and law, greater security can be obtained and that nuclear weapons are simply unworthy of civilization. We are so deeply grateful that we can advance this message in harmony with political leaders, the vast majority of the world’s citizens, and our own sense of conscience.
Crisis upon crisis will continue to arise as long as nuclear weapons exist. North Korea is a symptom of a regime that needs to be strengthened. The challenge this small, poor, unstable country presents to the world highlights the critical nature of our work to obtain, as soon as possible, a universal, legally verifiable, enforceable, and non-discriminatory ban on nuclear weapons. We hope this report of what this relatively small non-governmental organization is doing invigorates your activism to join us in working to eliminate nuclear weapons.
Voices of Experience
L-R: Jean du Preez (CTBTO), Ioan Tudor (UNODA), Jonathan Granoff, Sergio Duarte, Michael Douglas, Joe Cirincione (Ploughshares Fund) and Tibor Tóth (CTBTO)
The May 7 panel “Voices of Experience” lived up to its title with presentations by UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Mr. Sergio Duarte, and two former Under-Secretaries-General for Disarmament, Ambassadors Nobuyasu Abe and Jayantha Dhanapala, and UN Messenger of Peace Mr. Michael Douglas. The panelists conveyed a new optimism – cautiously – that the long and short-term goals of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) could now be more vigorously advanced.
The event was broadcast on UN television. (requires Explorer, Running time: 1:50)
(L-R): Jonathan Granoff, Michael Douglas, Sergio Duarte, Jayantha Dhanapala, Kevin Davis and Nobuyasu Abe
photo credit: Malcolm Carter
Prior to the panel, High Representative Duarte hosted a small meeting in his office with Mr. Douglas, Mr. Granoff, Comprehesive Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Executive-Secretary Tibor Tóth, Ploughshares President Joseph Cirincione and CTBTO Chief of External Relations Jean du Preez. The meeting centered on discussions relating to the entry-into-force of the CTBT, to which GSI remains deeply committed. (As an example, see below for reports on the CTBT Briefing co-organized with the Government of Austria, and our work in Washington.)
Meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The Global Security Institute was privileged for our President to have a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and senior US statesman Ambassador (ret.) Max Kampelman, a senior negotiator during the Reagan administration. At the meeting, they discussed new and creative policies to advance nuclear disarmament, and used the opportunity to thank and express our support of the Secretary-General’s five point plan.
Briefing at the United Nations: Human Development is National Security
On June 4, GSI Senior Officer Rhianna Tyson delivered a presentation at the United Nations Department of Information briefing held in Conference Room 2. The briefing was intended to highlight the upcoming DPI conference in Mexico City, “For Peace and Development: Disarm Now!” and focused on the theme of “Human Development is National Security,” in particular on military spending, small arms and nuclear weapons and their effects on development.
H.E. Mr. Claude Heller, Permanent Representative of Mexico, Ms. Ray Acheson of Reaching Critical Will and Ms. Frida Berrigan of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation also delivered presentations.
Book Launch at the United Nations Bookstore
On May 5, 2009, the United Nations Bookstore hosted a special event to promote the book, “Towards a Nuclear Weapon Free World,” edited by Manpreet Sethi and published by the Centre for Air Power Studies and Kalpana Shukla. The book features the presentations made at the 2008 high-level conference in New Delhi commemorating the Rajiv Gandhi Plan to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, including presentations by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice President Hamid Ansari, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, UN High Representative Sergio Duarte, GSI President Jonathan Granoff, former MPI Chairman Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., and others.
Several contributors to the book delivered presentations to the crowd of diplomats, NGOs, UN staff and students, including High Representative Duarte, Senator Roche and Mr. Granoff; additionally, Acting Permanent Representative of India, H.E. Mr. M.S. Puri, also delivered remarks on behalf of his Government, which co-sponsored the 2008 conference. Mr. Michael Cassandra, Chief of UN Monitoring, Database and Information of the Office for Disarmament Affairs, chaired the event.
» Read the event report
» Watch videos of the presentations at the conference
» Read the presentation by High Representative Duarte
» Read the presentation by Senator Roche
» Read the presentation by Jonathan Granoff
On April 3, 2009, the Permanent Mission of Austria and the Global Security Institute held a special briefing on a lynchpin issue on the international arms control agenda. Over 40 ambassadors, experts and journalists gathered at the Austrian Mission to discuss “Contributions of the United Nations System in Advancing the Entry-Into-Force of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty”. Speakers included High Representative Sergio Duarte, CTBTO Executive-Secretary Tibor Tóth, GSI President Jonathan Granoff and Ambassador Jaap Ramaker, Special Representative for the CTBT.
(L-R): Amb. Jaap Ramaker, High Representative Sergio Duarte, Amb. Alexander Marschik, Jonathan Granoff and Ambassador Tóth
Austrian Ambassador Alexander Marschik, chairing the session, viewed the discussion as fulfilling the call of the CTBT Ministerial Meeting held at the UN last year, at which around 40 foreign ministers participated, as well as prominent Americans such as former US Secretary of Defense William Perry and UN Messenger of Peace Michael Douglas. At that meeting, it was agreed that the push for the CTBT’s entry-into-force requires the participation of governmental officials, civil society representatives and international civil servants together.
There was widespread recognition at the April 3 briefing, too, of the important roles for both the diplomatic community and civil society to play in the CTBT’s entry-into-force. Permanent Representatives in New York were encouraged to approach ambassadors and representatives of countries that have not yet signed or ratified the treaty and advance the benefits of the CTBT. We must consistently demonstrate that nuclear weapons are more of a threat than any threat they seek to address.
» Read the full event report here
» View a photo gallery of the event
» Read the full transcripts of remarks by High Representative Duarte
» Read the GSI brief delivered by Jonathan Granoff
» Download the fact sheets distributed by the CTBTO
» Visit the CTBTO website
» Download the brief distributed by the Arms Control Association
» Click here for a full list of participants
Progressive Initiatives: Panel event at the NPT PrepCom
Gareth Evans and Henrik Salander at the May 6 event at the UN
“Progressive Initiatives,” a UN panel event organized by the Global Security Institute, the Middle Powers Initiative and co-sponsored by the Government of Austria, was designed to highlight proposals for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, especially in light of the new potential openings on the international scene, and to look at them from the perspectives of civil society, international experts and parliamentarians.
The panel featured: GSI Board Member Christie Brinkley; Hon. Gareth Evans, Co-Chair of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament; MPI Chairman Henrik Salander; and Hideo Hiraoka, Member of the Japanese Diet. Rhianna Tyson, GSI Senior Officer, chaired the event.
(L-R): GSI Senior Officer Rhianna Tyson and Board Member Christie Brinkley
Prior to the panel, Ms. Brinkley and GSI President Jonathan Granoff attended a small, private meeting with High Representative Sergio Duarte in the Office for Disarmament Affairs, proceeded by a press conference with members of the media.
» Event Report by Jim Wurst
» Video of Christie’s speech, filmed by UN-TV
» Video of entire event
» Transcript of Christie Brinkley’s remarks, also published in the Huffington Post
» Transcript of MPI Chairman Salander’s remarks
» Transcript of Gareth Evans’ remarks
» Transcript of Hideo Hiraoka’s remarks
» Rhianna Tyson’s opening remarks
MPI Honors PrepCom Chairman Chidyausiku
Ambassador Chidyausiku and
The Middle Powers Initiative hosted a reception in honor of Ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku, Chairman of the 2009 NPT PrepCom. Over 60 delegates– governmental and non-governmental alike– gathered at the Beekman Tower in New York City on May 6. MPI Chairman Henrik Salander hosted the event.
This reception was the latest in a series of such informal events hosted by MPI, in New York and at the venues of the NPT preparatory meetings. This most recent reception was a strong demonstration of MPI’s special role in international diplomacy—as a bridge between the diplomatic community and civil society. Traditional diplomatic receptions are especially useful for the informal, off-the-record ability for guests to exchange views, float ideas and pick up useful insights. Such opportunities work to strengthen the efficacy of all NGOs’ efforts at the PrepCom.
(L-R): Ambassador Chidyausiku, Joe Cirincione (Ploughshares Fund), Anna-Lisa Giannella (EU Commission), Ambassador Salander, Senator Roche and Jonathan Granoff
photo credit: Malcolm Carter
Brown bag lunch series: “What is the NPT?”
On Wednesday, April 29, MPI Program Director Jim Wurst was a featured guest speaker in the brown bag lunch series organized by the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security.
This panel discussion was intended to demystify the field of nuclear weapons, arms control and disarmament to those who do not consider themselves “experts.” Ray Acheson of Reaching Critical Will also briefed the audience. They discussed the history of the NPT, the main challenges to its succesful implementation, and the role of civil society at NPT conferences.
PNND Global Coordinator
PNND Update #24 was published earlier this month, and includes information for parliamentarians on:
- President Obama’s Cairo speech
- North Korea nuclear test- UN and parliamentary reactions
- Joint Parliamentary Statement on Korean Nuclear Tests
- Conference on Disarmament adopts work program after 12 years of inaction
- Good signs from the 2009 Non-Proliferation Treaty meeting
- NATO Parliamentary Assembly considers nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament
- US nuclear policy in transition
- Senator McCain supports a nuclear weapons-free world
To sign up to receive PNND updates and other alerts from GSI’s parliamentary network, click here.
PNND panel at the NPT Prep Com:
The Role of Parliamentarians in Advancing a Nuclear Weapons-Free World
On May 8, PNND hosted a panel at the Preparatory Committee meeting of States Parties to the 2010 NPT Review Conference at the United Nations in New York.
The panel was chaired by Alyn Ware (PNND Global Coordinator) and included presentations by Dennis Kucinich (US Congress), Bill Siksay MP (Canada), Bill Kidd MP (Scotland), Ambassador (ret) Robert Grey Jr (Chair of the US Bipartisan Security Group), Hideo Hiraoka MP (Japan) and Mayra Gomez (PNND Senior Program Officer). Contributions were also made by Kenzo Fujisue MP (Japan), Ambassador Anda Filip (UN representative for the Inter-Parliamentary Union) and Pol D’Huyvetter (Mayors for Peace).
The event included distribution and discussion of the:
- Parliamentarians Declaration Supporting a Nuclear Weapons Convention, released by a cross-party group of Members of the European Parliament;
- UN Secretary-General’s five-point plan on nuclear disarmament which calls for work on a nuclear weapons convention or package of agreements;
- IPU Resolution on the Role of Parliamentarians to Advance Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament which calls on parliaments to promote the UN Secretary-General’s plan;
- European Parliament report and resolution on the NPT which includes support for the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention;
- Draft Treaty for a North-East Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone released by the Democratic Party of Japan; and the
- Explanatory document of the International Renewable Energy Agency which was established in January this year.
For more information see:
- Video presentation by Dennis Kucinich
- Presentation by Hideo Hiraoka
- The Role of Parliamentarians in Advancing a Nuclear Weapons-Free World (article from NPT News in Review)
GSI Testimony to the UK House of Commons
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons published a new report: “Global Security: Non-Proliferation,” which provides an assessment of the current threat posed by nuclear, biological, chemical and conventional weapons and ballistic missiles, both from states and from terrorists, and of current UK Government policy to mitigate these threats. Written testimony by GSI President Jonathan Granoff is included as an appendix to the report.
Leaders and staff of the Bipartisan Security Group continue to meet regularly with Members of Congress and their senior staff to advance key issues of non-proliferation and disarmament, such as entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, negotiations on a verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, the reduction of operational status of nuclear forces, further cuts in the US and Russian arsenals, and other priorities as outlined in the GSI Brief, “The Imperative of Preserving and Strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
Over the past two months, for example, BSG Director Ambassador Robert Grey, Jr. and BSG Program Associate Kevin Davis, accompanied at times by GSI President Jonathan Granoff and PNND Coordinator Alyn Ware, met with the senior staff of the following offices of over 30 Members of Congress, including, inter alia, those of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. David Loebsack (D-IA), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Rep. Shelia Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
US Nuclear Weapons Policy: An independent assessment
In April, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) released US Nuclear Weapons Policy, an independent Task Force report, co-chaired by former Secretary of Defense William Perry and former National Security Adviser Brent Scrowcroft, focusing on near-term policies that would diminish the danger of nuclear proliferation and use of nuclear weapons. “The imperative before the Obama administration,” the report says, “is to use all available tools to prevent the use and further acquisition of nuclear weapons.”
The Task Force was comprised of eminent leaders of the national security community and is directed by CFR Senior Fellow Charles D. Ferguson. BSG Director Ambassador Grey and GSI President Jonathan Granoff contributed to the report.
To launch the report, CFR hosted a high-level, two-day conference in Washington, DC, on May 19, 2009. At that event, Mr. Granoff presented on a panel titled “Evaluating and Strengthening the Nonproliferation Regime: What is Needed to Ensure the Long-Term Survival of the Regime?”. Other presenters at the conference included Joseph Cirioncione of Project Ploughshares, Hon. Jan M. Lodal, Chairman, Lodal & Company and Jonathan Schell, Harold Willens Peace Fellow, The Nation Institute. Dr. Charles Ferguson, Philip D. Reed Senior Fellow for Science and Technology, chaired the panel.
Overcoming Nuclear Dangers
On Friday, April 16-17 in Rome, Italy, GSI President Jonathan Granoff, BSG member James Goodby and GSI Advisory Board Member Mikhail Gorbachev, along with 75 other leaders from around the globe, gathered together to engage in a substantive dialogue on the steps that will need to be taken to reduce nuclear dangers and to move to a world free of nuclear weapons.
Jonathan Granoff and Rep. Dianne Fienstein (D-CA)
The two-day conference was one of the key global events springing from the op-eds written by George Shultz, Sam Nunn, Henry Kissinger and Bill Perry endorsing the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and the steps that can move us in that direction.
In this year of Italy’s Presidency of the G-8, the conference was co-sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with the Nuclear Security Project (which is managed by the Nuclear Threat Initiative in cooperation with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution), and the World Political Forum. The conference leaders — Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, former US Secretary of State George Shultz and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev — released a statement at the conclusion of the conference.
GSI Board Member leads US evangelical movement to abolish nuclear weapons
Rev. Tyler Wigg Stevenson
Rev. Tyler Wigg Stevenson, member of GSI’s Board of Directors, has launched the Two Futures Project, a movement of American Christians dedicated to the abolition of all nuclear weapons. The project has received considerable attention in the national, mainstream and ecumenical media and promises to be one of the most effective nuclear disarmament campaigns in recent American history.
Millennium Development Goals Awards Ceremony
GSI President Jonathan Granoff
On March 17, 2009, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Dr. Kevin Cahill, a world reknown physician and humanitarian, received lifetime achievement awards at the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Awards Ceremony at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations. GSI President Jonathan Granoff co-hosted and was privileged to give a presentation on the MDGs.
CSIS Conference at US Naval Academy
Jonathan Granoff with US Naval Academy students
Jonathan Granoff presented the new GSI brief, “The Imperative of Preserving and Strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty” at the Project on Nuclear Issues Spring Conference, organized and convened by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), held at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, March 26, 2009. He was joined on the panel by Henry Sokolski, Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center and Stephen Young, Senior Analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
For more information about the conference, click here.
GSI Senior Officer at Fordham University
On April 22, GSI Senior Officer Rhianna Tyson spoke at the Second Annual International Studies Conference at Fordham University in New York City. Titled “Issues and Careers: What Does the Future Hold?” the conference focused on the greatest security challenges facing the 21st century, including climate change, human rights crises, the global economic crisis and other paramount issues that today’s students must be prepared to tackle.
United Nations Launch of Reflections, the Yale Divinity School magazine
On May 12 in New York, Yale Divinity School officially launched the spring edition of Reflections, their biannual publication billed as “a magazine of theological and ethical inquiry.” The magazine includes articles based on presentations made at YDS the previous year, at a special conference on security, vulnerability, and moral leadership, including contributions from GSI Board Member Rev. Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, GSI President Jonathan Granoff, GSI Advisory Board Member Jayantha Dhanapala, UN High Representative Sergio Duarte, George Shultz, Jonathan Schell, and others.
Rev. Wigg-Stevenson was instrumental in organizing the Yale conference, as well as the UN launch.
Several op/eds and other pieces have been published by GSI staff and leadership:
- Nuclear Proliferation: A Mother’s Legacy
by GSI Board Member Christie Brinkley
May 13, 2009
- Evangelicals join the nuclear-weapon-free world movement
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
by GSI Board Member Rev. Tyler Wigg-Stevenson
May 6, 2009
- Prophet Obama’s Fight for Peace
by MPI Chairman Emeritus Douglas Roche
May 6, 2009
- An open, honest nuclear debate
The Edmonton Journal
by MPI Chairman Emeritus Douglas Roche
May 6, 2009
- Humanity’s Greatest Challenge and Its Solution
by GSI Chairman of the Board Kim Cranston
May 4, 2009
- A Clarifying Call
by GSI Senior Officer Rhianna Tyson
- Mr. Obama and Nuclear Weapons
Letter to the Editor
by BSG Chairman Thomas Graham, Jr.
April 13, 2009
- Obama’s Palm Sunday Mandate
by GSI Board Member Tyler Wigg-Stevenson
April 7, 2009