International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
(June 7, 2021) — In advance of the first summit between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joseph Biden in Geneva on June 16, a group of more than 30 American and Russian organizations, international nuclear policy experts, and former senior officials have issued an appeal to the two Presidents calling upon them to take steps to reduce and eliminate the threat of nuclear war.
Ira Helfand, past president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, said: “It is urgent that President Biden and President Putin reaffirm the ground-breaking statement issued by Gorbachev and Reagan in 1985 that a nuclear war can not be won and must never be fought.’”
In the statement, delivered on June 7, the signatories urge the two presidents to:
“Commit to a bilateral strategic dialogue that is regular, frequent, comprehensive and result oriented leading to further reduction of the nuclear risk hanging over the world and to the re-discovery of the road to a world free of nuclear weapons.”
The Risk of Nuclear War With China
The New York Times & Politico & The Arms Control Association
[The following letter was published in the New York Times on June 3. Dr. Gould is North American regional co-vice president of IPPNW and is president of the San Francisco Bay chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.]
To the Editor, Re: “The US Nuclear War That Almost Happened”
(June 7, 2021) — The courageous disclosure by Daniel Ellsberg of the dangerous 1958 US-China flash point over Taiwan provides a vivid warning of how easily we can precipitate a nuclear Armageddon by pursuing our strategy of heightened confrontation with China throughout the Pacific region.
Congress needs to oppose plans to greatly expand our military budget, including modernizing our deadly and overflowing stockpile of conventional and nuclear weapons. These expenditures, a down payment for a new Cold War, move us further from the global collaboration needed to solve our climate and other planetary emergencies evinced by the Covid pandemic.
Hopefully, learning from this grim historical revelation, our representatives should mobilize immediately to support the No First Use Act (H.R. 2603), introduced by Representative Adam Smith, to help avoid future predictable close calls involving nuclear weapons.
This would provide an opening for the United States and other nuclear-weapons states to move speedily to ratify the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which would do much to end the daily, too-invisible threat to our very existence.
Robert M. Gould
An Appeal to Biden and Putin to Reduce the Nuclear Threat
(June 8, 2021) — Representatives from arms control groups met with the National Security Council on Monday to press the case for Biden to seek even a modest breakthrough in his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Morning D has learned.
The groups delivered a written appeal [See below] signed by a number of US and Russian diplomatic and military experts calling on the leaders to “reaffirm” the joint statement of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan in 1985 that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
They also called on the White House to “commit to a bilateral strategic dialogue that is regular, frequent, comprehensive and result oriented leading to further reduction of the nuclear risk hanging over the world and to the re-discovery of the road to a world free of nuclear weapons.”
The statement is noteworthy for also including former Russian officials and academics, including Igor Ivanov, an ex-foreign minister, and retired Col.-Gen. Victor Esin, who served as chief of staff for Russia’s strategic missile forces. Other signatories include former Defense Secretary William Perry; former California Gov. Jerry Brown, who is now executive chair of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists; and former Rep. John Tierney, executive director of the Council for a Livable World.
Others urged the two sides to put nukes at the top of the summit agenda in Geneva next week. A collection of arms control groups and advocates published a primer on Monday that recommends a series of “near-term steps” — including an agreement not to deploy missiles that would violate the now-discarded Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and updating a 2000 agreement establishing a center to exchange early warning data and notifications of missile launches.
The groups, including the European Leadership Network, the Munich Security Conference, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and the Russian International Affairs Council, also urged Biden and Putin to begin laying the groundwork for additional reductions in nuclear weapons following their agreement in January to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty for five years.
“Washington and Moscow should commit to further reduce US and Russian deployed strategic nuclear weapons while working urgently to establish the mandate for and scope of a successor agreement to New START,” they said.
An Appeal to Presidents Biden and Putin
On the Occasion of Their Summit Meeting
(June 7, 2021) — We look forward with great optimism to your meeting in person as the leaders of the most powerful nuclear weapon states. We hope that your summit on June 16 in Geneva will help to rebuild mutual respect and cooperation between the United States and the Russian Federation.
Since the Soviet-US alliance defeated fascism in 1945, courageous Russian and American leaders have several times channeled the courage to work together to put an end to the greatest risk facing humanity: a nuclear apocalypse, intended or unintended, that could end life on our planet.
In their cooperation to create the 1968 Nonproliferation Treaty, your predecessors limited the spread of the most dangerous weapons ever invented and committed to their ultimate elimination. Successive bilateral treaties have reduced their number by more than 85%. And you, President Putin and President Biden, have shown the same determination by extending New START, the most significant remaining bilateral arms control treaty.
We appeal to you to show the same courage and sense of urgency again when you meet in Geneva. Specifically, we urge you to:
- Reaffirm the joint statement of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan: “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
- Commit to a bilateral strategic dialogue that is regular, frequent, comprehensive and result oriented leading to further reduction of the nuclear risk hanging over the world and to the re-discovery of the road to a world free of nuclear weapons.
Your responsibility extends far beyond your two great nations. The eyes of the world will be upon you, and we look forward to your success.
Peter Buijs, MD, Chair, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Netherlands
Prof. Paolo Cotta-Ramusino, Secretary General, Pugwash Conferences
Ambassador Sergio Duarte, President, Pugwash Conferences
Ruth Mitchell, MB, Chair, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
Andrew Albertson, Executive Director, Foreign Policy for America
Ambassador (ret.) Sergey Batsanov, Member, Pugwash Council
Andrey Baklitskiy, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of International Studies, MGIMO University
Emma Belcher, President, Ploughshares Fund
Rachel Bronson, PhD, President and CEO, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Edmund G. Brown Jr., former Governor of California, Executive Chair, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Dan Correa, Acting President, Federation of American Scientists
Ramon Cruz, President, Sierra Club
David E. Drake, DO, President, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Alexandre Dynkin, Chair, Russian Pugwash Committee, Russian Academy of Sciences
Colonel General (ret.) Victor Esin, Former Chief of the Main Staff, Strategic Missile Forces of the Russian Federation (1994-1996)
Prof. Aleksandr Ginzburg, Vice-Chair, Russian Pugwash Committee, Russian Academy of Sciences
Derek Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Global Zero
Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association, and publisher Arms Control Today
Anton Khlopkov, Director, Center for Energy and Security Studies
Sergey Kolesnikov, MD, co-President, All-Russia Social Movement “For Safeguarding People,” Russian Academy of Sciences
Dr. Anastasia Malygina, Saint Petersburg State University
Adlan Margoev, Institute of International Studies, MGIMO University
Prof. Steven Miller, Chair of the Executive Committee, Pugwash
Olga Mironova, MD, PhD, co-President, Russian Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
William J. Perry, 19th Secretary of Defense, Founder, William J. Perry Project
Dr. William C. Potter, Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
Joan Rohlfing, President and Chief Operating Officer, Nuclear Threat Iniative
Natalya Samoylovskaya, Chair, Russian Student Pugwash Group and Member, Russian Pugwash Committee, Russian Academy of Sciences
Elena Sokova, Executive Director, Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
Igor Ivanov, President of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Russia
Dmitry Stefanovich, Research Fellow, Primakov Instititute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences
John F. Tierney, Executive Director, Council for a Livable World
General of the Army (retired) Vyacheslav Trubnikov, Member, Board of Directors, Primakov National Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences
Stephen Young, Acting co-Director, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
*Affiliations listed for identification purposes only