The Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists stands at two minutes to midnight, yet risks of the arms race and the costs of militarism are notable for their absence from the presidential campaign. Groups like 350 Action and the League of Conservation Voters are rightly insisting that candidates debate climate change. Activists should also insist they address the arms race. Determined bird-doggers, especially in early primary states, can bring this studiously neglected issue to the attention of candidates and the nation. Here is a starter:
1. Do you support the Trump administration’s $1.2 trillion program to “modernize” US nuclear weapons?
2. Do you support the concept of “usable” nuclear weapons for “limited” nuclear war?
3. Do you support the so-called “low yield” Trident nuclear warhead, the W76-2?
4. Should the United States declare that it will never be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict?
5. Should the US nuclear arsenal be restricted to deterrence of a nuclear attack on the US, or should it be used any time the US is at a military disadvantage?
6. Do you agree with President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty?
7. How would you ensure that ongoing tensions with Russian President Vladimir Putin do not threaten cooperation with Russia to reduce nuclear risks? Would you support deep nuclear-weapons reductions in a treaty with Russia?
8. Would you support cutting the $61.5 billion US nuclear-weapons budget and using the money to fund unmet human needs?
9. Should the president have to seek specific congressional authorization before ordering a nuclear strike, other than in response to a direct nuclear attack on the US?
10. Would you reaffirm the nuclear deal with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action)?
11. Would you reaffirm the goal stated by President Obama in Prague of working toward a world free of nuclear weapons? How should the US honor its commitment in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to work toward nuclear disarmament, in exchange for nonnuclear states’ abstaining from the bomb?
12. Would you pledge not to take campaign contributions from nuclear-weapons makers such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, and Raytheon?
13. What does the concept of “shared security” mean to you?