The Rising Nuclear Threat

It’s Time to Protest Nuclear War Again

A new series from Times Opinion about the threat of nuclear weapons in an unstable world.

To the Editor:

Re the “At the Brink” series (Opinion, March 10):

Thank you for highlighting the existential threat of nuclear weapons.

President Ronald Reagan and the last Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, issued a joint statement in 1985 saying “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” But we squandered the opportunity at the end of the Cold War to abolish these weapons.

Today we are entering an extremely dangerous new arms race and risking direct military confrontation with a revanchist Russia, while other nuclear conflicts loom around the world.

The United States, as you report, is expected to spend up to $2 trillion to “modernize” the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal. More modern weapons are more likely to be used and to take the world over the fateful nuclear threshold.

A group of citizens and experts has proposed an alternative: “Back From the Brink,” a program to reduce nuclear risk. It calls on the United States to 1) declare it will never be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict and invite other nations to make similar pledges; 2) take nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert; 3) end the president’s sole, unchecked authority to launch a nuclear attack; 4) cancel plans to “modernize” its nuclear arsenal; and 5) enter negotiations with other nuclear powers toward the verifiable global elimination of nuclear weapons.

An awakened citizenry must demand that our leaders work to end the nuclear threat.

David Keppel
Bloomington, Ind.

To the Editor:

The “At the Brink” series offers a much-needed reminder of the continuing grave danger of nuclear war. Yet it understates that danger in some respects.

Back to top button