New ‘No First Use’ Campaign Urges All Nuclear-Armed Nations to End First Strike Policies
Global Zero campaign begins with US focus on Warren-Smith ‘No First Use Act’
WASHINGTON, DC — Global Zero, the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons spearheaded by 300 eminent world leaders, today launched a new global “No First Use” campaign to convince the world’s nine nuclear-armed nations to commit to never using nuclear weapons first. Establishing “No First Use” globally would dramatically reduce the risk of any nuclear use, stabilize crises and enable deep reductions in nuclear forces.
Responding to a level of nuclear risk not seen since the worst days of the Cold War, the Global Zero campaign aims to end the notion that security can be enhanced by threatening the first use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.
Global Zero’s No First Use campaign begins in the United States, urging members of Congress to support Senator Elizabeth Warren’s and Representative Adam Smith’s “No First Use Act” (S.272/H.R.921), which would make it the policy of the United States to never use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. This would lower the risk of nuclear war and carve out a path that other nuclear-armed nations could safely follow. The “No First Use Act” would also immediately begin to address the undemocratic system that empowers an American President to unilaterally start nuclear war by making such a launch order illegal.
Global Zero leaders and experts will work to enlist 2020 presidential candidates to support “No First Use” policies and incorporate them into their campaign platforms. Global Zero’s groundbreaking Alternative Nuclear Posture Review (“Alt-NPR”), developed in response to the Trump administration’s official Nuclear Posture Review, offers a credible new vision for the size, composition and deployment of U.S. nuclear forces based on actual Pentagon mission requirements. In contrast to the current administration’s proposed expansion and accompanying nuclear warfighting plans, the Alt-NPR calls for the United States to adopt a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, de-alert nuclear weapons and end the practice of launch-on-warning.
No First Use would bring about a sea change in the size, composition and deployment of nuclear arsenals. When No First Use takes hold globally, the pressure to ‘go nuclear’ first would be essentially zero.
Global Zero aims to leverage growing political support in the U.S. into an international movement — securing a series of agreements, or one major international treaty, that aligns every nuclear-armed nation behind the policy. China and India have already adopted credible No First Use policies and refrain from deploying first strike, rapid launch weapons systems. In addition, Russia and China have entered into a No First Use agreement and committed to never using nuclear weapons first against each other.
“No First Use would bring about a sea change in the size, composition and deployment of nuclear arsenals. When No First Use takes hold globally, the pressure to ‘go nuclear’ first would be essentially zero. Hair-trigger missiles would be taken out of attack mode, and weapons intended solely for first strikes could be eliminated. Small nuclear stockpiles meant only to survive a nuclear first strike would replace the massive Cold War arsenals used to threaten one. All of this would enable deep cuts in nuclear stockpiles, curb lavish spending on dangerous and unnecessary weapons, and help end governments’ addiction to weapons of mass destruction,” explained Derek Johnson, executive director of Global Zero. “Nuclear weapons threaten every city on the planet with staggering humanitarian, environmental and economic loss. So long as they exist we will never be safe. This won’t happen overnight, but by removing the rationale for these arsenals, global No First Use would make the phased, verified elimination of all nuclear weapons a goal that can be achieved in our lifetime.”
Another recent study by Global Zero confirmed President Ronald Reagan’s maxim that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”: an estimated that 30% of the total population of the top 145 biggest cities in the United States — 21 million Americans — would perish in a Russian nuclear counterattack. To put that in perspective, in the first 24 hours the U.S. death toll would be 50 times greater than all American casualties in World War II.
For more information: globalzero.org/no-first-use