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U.S. cities near nuclear weapons stations realise they are targets

Cities in the crosshairs are pushing back against nuclear weapons

“We forget that all power is local. And by forgetting to act locally, we are giving away all the power.” JON LETMAN, JANUARY 19, 2020 This article originally appeared on Truthout.   Two years after a mistakenly sent text alert warning of an inbound ballistic missile threat caused widespread panic and confusion across Hawaii, cities remain potential targets and nuclear jitters continue to grow around the world.

Panicked responses to the erroneous text alert — which read “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL” and was accidentally issued on January 13, 2018, to Hawaii residents via the Emergency Alert System and Commercial Mobile Alert System — revealed how believably close nuclear fears hover to our everyday life

And now two years later, at the beginning of 2020, those fears have grown even stronger following a year in which talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula faltered, fears of a nuclear clash between India and Pakistan spiked, and Russia announced it had deployed its first hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles.

Meanwhile, the U.S. abandoned the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty and continued to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran nuclear deal) after it unilaterally withdrew in 2018. Now, many fear the U.S. will likely withdraw from the Open Skies and New START treaties.

As the U.S. modernizes its nuclear arsenal at a cost that could exceed $1.5 trillion and the other eight nuclear armed states upgrade their own nuclear weapons, ordinary citizens and the leaders of cities, towns, and municipalities around the world are resisting nuclear weapons through efforts like the Back from the Brink campaign and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons’ #ICANSave Cities appeal.

Across the U.S., cities like SeattleAlbuquerqueColorado Springs and others are located near key military installations, which some see as a good reason to oppose nuclear policies. Today, more than 40 U.S. cities including, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Honolulu have adopted a Back from the Brink resolution, which puts forward five policy goals aimed at reducing the threat of nuclear war: no first use of nuclear weapons, end sole authority to launch a nuclear attack, take U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert, cancel modernization/replacement of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and ultimately seek the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Back from the Brink aims to prompt cities, counties, and local governments to pressure Congress and the Trump administration to adopt the above five points.

Dozens of smaller cities from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Arcata, California, have adopted the resolution, as have local and state governments across the U.S. More than a dozen more cities (Little Rock, Chicago, Madison) and states (New York, Vermont, Washington) have proposed resolutions.

In a joint article, three council members representing Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Montgomery County, Maryland, wrote, “As leaders of the Greater Washington area, home to the seat of our federal government and headquarters of its military — we are particularly at risk. We are living in the crosshairs of America’s enemies, both hostile governments and terrorists.” That risk, and the financial costs associated with nuclear weapons, led all three communities to adopt Back from the Brink resolutions…………

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) launched its #ICANSAVE cities appeal in 2018, calling on cities large and small around the world to formally support the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The ban treaty, currently ratified by 34 nations, will enter into legal force once 50 nations have done so.

ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn says that while, for many people, nuclear weapons can feel abstract and theoretical, it’s important to remain focused on their fundamental purpose.

“What these weapons really are made for is to wipe out whole cities. These are not precision guidance that will take out a specific military facility,” Fihn told Truthout. “We are so obsessed by staring at these world leaders, we forget that all power is local. And by forgetting to act locally, we are giving away all the power.”………..

January 20, 2020 - Posted by | USA, weapons and war

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