Zero Nuclear Weapons

April 3, 2009
New York Times
Michael Christ, IPPNW Executive-Director
Letter to the Editor

Re “Promises of a ‘Fresh Start’ for U.S.-Russia Relations” (news article, April 2): Twenty-three years ago, President Ronald Reagan and President Mikhail S. Gorbachev of the Soviet Union nearly signed an agreement to abolish nuclear weapons, but American commitment to missile defense killed the deal. It was a fateful missed opportunity to end the threat of nuclear Armageddon and to prevent the subsequent birth of new nuclear weapon states in India, Pakistan, North Korea and now possibly Iran.

The beleaguered 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is up for review in 2010. All eyes will be on the United States and Russia for evidence that they intend to finally fulfill their treaty promise to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

While the first meeting between President Obama and President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia in London on Wednesday was a step in the right direction, the task ahead is not to limit the number of nuclear weapons in the world, but to chart a course to zero.

In a letter to the two leaders, deans, health ministers, Nobel laureates and professors in medicine called on them to use their power to end “this gravest threat to human survival.” Indeed, this watershed moment may be the world’s last, best chance to abolish nuclear weapons, the sine qua non for stopping the spread of nuclear arms and for ensuring humanity’s future.

Michael Christ
Exec. Dir., International Physicians
for the Prevention of Nuclear War
Somerville, Mass., April 2, 2009

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