In your upcoming meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia you have an incredible opportunity to set a new course toward a nuclear weapons-free world, an opportunity initially made possible by the end of the Cold War nearly two decades ago.
By David Krieger
March 23, 2009
Dear President Obama,
In your upcoming meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia you have an incredible opportunity to set a new course toward a nuclear weapons-free world, an opportunity initially made possible by the end of the Cold War nearly two decades ago. As you said in your Berlin speech on July 24, 2008, “This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.” We agree that this is the moment to reverse decades of mistrust and danger, and to set a new course for humanity.
President Medvedev appears to share your vision. He said recently, “Today, we are facing a pressing need to move further along the road of nuclear disarmament. In accordance with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Russia is fully committed to reaching the goal of a world free from these most deadly weapons.”
President Medvedev went further, emphasizing that Russia “is open to dialogue and is prepared for negotiations with the new US administration.” He said that he fully shares your commitment “to the noble goal of saving the world from the nuclear threat and see here a fertile ground for a joint work.”
In the midst of the acute economic and environmental problems in the world, a joint statement of intent from you and President Medvedev, committing yourselves and your countries to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons within a reasonable time span, would provide tangible evidence that a new era of hope has begun. You would awaken hope and appreciation in every corner of the globe.
We urge you to join with President Medvedev in making such a statement and setting in motion a course of concrete actions such as those called for by former senior statesmen from the United States and throughout the world.
Among the concrete actions we would particularly urge you and President Medvedev to initially take are: agreeing to extend the 1991 START agreement beyond its expiration in December 2009 in order to retain its verification provisions; taking nuclear arsenals on both sides off hair-trigger alert; and agreeing to make dramatic cuts in the arsenals of both sides to below 1,000 nuclear weapons each, deployed and in reserve, as a next step toward a world free of nuclear weapons.
On behalf of tens of thousands of our members and supporters throughout the world, we call upon you to act boldly in moving to rid the world of its greatest existential threat, that of nuclear omnicide. We urge you to lead the world in achieving this decisive victory for humanity.
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org) and a Councilor of the World Future Council.