“After a long winter of discontent we have the audacity to hope forspringtime…. But there are miles to go before we sleep.”–Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapalawe, President ofPugwash
For more than five years, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC) and its Chairman, Dr. Hans Blix, have worked to generate proposals for reducing the dangers of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Two weeks ago in Washington, DC, the commission met for the last time.
Blix described this moment as hopeful–a post-Iraq world in whichpeople see the limits of force and the need for diplomacy. The world’sattention is focused on the potential threat of nukes in Iran and NorthKorea, or in the hands of a terrorist group, and on nuclear instability inPakistan. And there is real hope as a result of the new and focusedleadership of President Obama and other leaders around the world.
It’s critical that the disarmament movement seize this opportunity topush its agenda.
So, as the Commission ended its work, Dr. Blix invited the leaders ofeight disarmament groups to speak about their continued efforts to ridthe world of nuclear weapons. Participants included the PloughsharesFund, Global Zero, Nuclear Security Project, Pugwash, Luxembourg Forum, InternationalCommission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, Global SecurityInstitute, and the Middle Powers Institute. There was also apresentation by White House WMD Coordinator, Gary Samore.
Dr. Bruce Blair of Global Zero said a major challenge will be to sustainthe disarmament momentum and “prevent a lapse.” While nuclear abolitionhas broadened its appeal politically–receiving endorsements fromconservatives such as former Senator Chuck Hagel, John McCain, Henry Kissinger and George Schultz–Blair said the constituency isn’t as vibrant as it needs to be and young people aren’t sufficiently involved.
His colleague, former Ambassador Richard Burt, agreed. He said theresimply isn’t “a constituency like there was twenty or thirty years ago. Youngerpeople are not paying attention.” To that end, Global Zero isorganizing field workers on college campuses and around the world.