Special Events


The Kameshwar C. Wali Lecture in the Sciences and Humanities: US Nuclear Weapons Policy: 'Time for the Concerned Public to Intervene Again' by Dr. Frank von Hippel

Nov 29, 2018, 4:00 PM-5:30 PM


Coordinator: Prof. Simon Catterall. Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton

The last massive intervention by the concerned public in U.S. nuclear weapons policy was by the grassroots Nuclear Weapons Freeze Movement and its European counterpart in the early 1980s. One result was to shift the U.S. government from insisting that the Soviet Union believed it possible to fight and win a nuclear war, and therefore so must we; to repeated joint summit statements by Presidents Gorbachev and Reagan that “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” More tangibly, the result was a reduction in the global stock of nuclear warheads from about 65,000 in 1991 to about 10,000 today. The effect has worn off, however, and two separate but related nuclear arms races have begun: between the U.S. and Russia and the U.S. and China, plus proliferation crises with the “rogue” states, North Korea and Iran. The perverse dynamics underlying these crises will be explained and possible initiatives to mitigate them will be discussed, including a:

• U.S. no-first use policy,
• Restoration of limits on ineffective but provocative ballistic missile defenses,
• Resumption of US-Russian nuclear reductions along with a cap on China’s nuclear buildup,
• Strengthening the nonproliferation regime with bans on the separation of plutonium and on
national uranium enrichment capabilities.

Finally, the effectiveness of activist citizens teamed up with scientists for “credibility” working to educate Congress – as in the “Freeze” movement – will be recounted.