Monday, November 30, 2015

When the facts all point to one conclusion: "No More Nukes"

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev
About 9 months ago I wrote a post about the Reagan-Gorbachev meeting in Iceland, and I said that, "what Reykjavich does tell us is: Obama and Putin need to sit down together and talk total nuclear disarmament."

Two days ago, in one of my posts after returning from the World Nuclear Victims Forum in Hiroshima, I talked about the fact that activists need to master the scientific data about nuclear radiation - including that from nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

During my time in Hiroshima, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to talk with the forum's keynote speaker, Dr. Tilman Ruff, about these issues. When we talked about Reykjavich, Dr. Ruff told me about the key role played by physicians who met with Gorbachev and laid out the science for him. Dr. Ruff has generously compiled the references to that story - which I share here . . . .

Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev commented in an interview in 1994 that when he received control over the Soviet nuclear arsenal: “Perhaps there was an emotional side to it…. But it was rectified by my knowledge of the might that had been accumulated. One-thousandth of this might was enough to destroy all living things on earth. And I knew the report on ‘nuclear winter.’” In "Mikhail Gorbachev explains what's rotten in Russia” (Mark Hertsgaard,, Sept. 7, 2000), he said,“Models made by Russian and American scientists showed that a nuclear war would result in a nuclear winter that would be extremely destructive to all life on Earth; the knowledge of that was a great stimulus to us, to people of honor and morality, to act in that situation.”

Gorbachev credited International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) with his decision to halt nuclear testing and reach agreements to reduce nuclear arms with the US:

“I admire both your movement and its work … We take into account the activities of your movement in shaping our foreign policy” (M Gorbachev, communication to IPPNW, 2 June 1987)

"I want to thank you for your great contribution to preventing nuclear war. Without it and other effective antinuclear initiatives this [INF] Treaty would probably have been impossible.” (Mikhail Gorbachev 1993)

“Their work commands great respect. For what they say and what they do is prompted by accurate knowledge and a passionate desire to warn humanity about the danger looming over it. In light of their arguments and the strictly scientific data which they possess, there seems to be no room left for politicking. And no serious politician has the right to disregard their conclusions.” (Mikhail Gorbachev, about IPPNW, in his political autobiography, Perestroika, 1987)

International Physicians for the
Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)
When Ronald Reagan was asked about the effects of nuclear war for a February 12, 1985 interview in The New York Times, he said:“A great many reputable scientists are telling us that such a war could just end up in no victory for anyone because we would wipe out the earth as we know it. And if you think back to ... natural calamities - back in the last century, in the 1800’s, ... volcanoes - we saw the weather so changed that there was snow in July in many temperate countries. And they called it the year in which there was no summer. Now if one volcano can do that, what are we talking about with the whole nuclear exchange, the nuclear winter that scientists have been talking about? It’s possible ...”

(And at the 1986 IPPNW World Congress in Cologne – New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange credited New Zealand doctors through IPPNW with having played a significant role in the development of New Zealand’s nuclear free status: “You have made medical reality a part of political reality.”)

The moral of the story: the data about the threat from nuclear weapons and nuclear radiation -- when made known -- can put an end to politics as usual.

Related posts

It can all happen very fast . . . . No one really knows ahead of time what will happen . . . . That's why it's so important for people to get together and talk.

(See The Lesson of Reykjavik: TALK About Nuclear Disarmament (You Never Know) )

Nuclear radiation is invisible. It needs to be measured and counted to be recognized, and it requires careful scientific method to be understood. Measuring and counting and science are difficult. But . . .

(See GLOBAL HIBAKUSHA: Doing the work to render the invisible visible)

The logic is simple: nuclear power and nuclear weapons result in irreparable harm to human health. Decades of evidence is in. There's no more disagreement. Now it's just a political problem. (And everyone knows: Bill Gates is nothing if not logical.)

(See NO NUKES PHILANTHROPY: How to spend $1 billion wisely)