Moments ago, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announced that it will keep its iconic Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight – matching last year’s record.
In response to the announcement, Cecili Thompson Williams, Director of Beyond the Bomb, a grassroots movement to pull us back from the brink of nuclear war, dismantle the nuclear system, and secure a just future for all, issued the following statement:
“As a year passes with little progress in reducing the catastrophic threats facing our planet, the Doomsday Clock remains at the closest time it has ever been to midnight. Still, we must do everything in our power to prevent it from moving forward any further – the nuclear risks that confront our present and future are profound and urgent, and our solutions must meet that challenge.
“We need to face the facts: The US nuclear weapons system is broken and vulnerable to the whims of a single individual in the Oval Office, regardless of who is president. But, it is unavoidable that our current reality is Donald Trump – an unstable commander-in-chief whose history of provoking conflict with foreign powers, undermining global treatries, or ignoring the devastating impacts of climate change has played a large part in pushing the Clock to its new zenith.
“In 2018, alone, the Trump administration rolled out a new nuclear posture review that would have the US spend trillions on modernizing our nuclear weapons arsenal and building unnecessary, new nuclear weapons; turned its back on important nuclear arms control agreements like the INF Treaty with Russia and the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran; escalated tensions in the Middle East; undermined important peacekeeping alliances like NATO; pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord; and eliminated any accountability for North Korea and the continued expansion of its nuclear weapons program.
“Simply put, President Trump is a nuclear threat with the keys to a broken nuclear weapons system, and we cannot allow him to drive our planet toward a self-inflicted nuclear demise.
“The decisions we make now will impact all of us. Low income communities, people of color, and indigenous peoples are disproportionately impacted by our nuclear system by living near nuclear storage sites, on land where nuclear weapons were tested, or near mines for nuclear materials. Families live in fear of nuclear cleanup sites and the effects of radiation on their reproductive choices, and the health of their loved ones. And, we all worry about the return of a Cold War-level nuclear weapons buildup spurred by current international tensions.
“That is why we can longer wait to heed this warning. We must call upon our legislators to take immediate action: curbing nuclear defense spending, demanding diplomatic engagement with nuclear-armed adversaries, and adopting policies to limit Presidential launch authority through legislation like Representative Adam Smith’s No First Use bill. These common-sense policies will help reign in the threat of our broken nuclear system and the unchecked power in the Oval Office.
“The time to act was yesterday.”