A Message from Council for A Livable World
The older generation has an important political and moral responsibility to educate the younger generation about the dangers of nuclear weapons and how these dangers can be defused.
Freed from a constant nuclear standoff as a dominant fact of international life, the younger generations have never experienced a face off with another nuclear superpower that could have exploded in mere moments into a nuclear holocaust.
Nor did these newer generations hide under their desks in elementary school as a practice exercise for nuclear war or contemplate civil defense shelters in which to survive for weeks or months.
With the median age in America now about 36; fifty percent of the nation has little memory of events before the 1980’s. Hiroshima and Nagasaki don’t carry the same emotional and moral impact.
In 2007, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, born in 1972, confessed her mystification when a reporter mentioned the Cuban Missile crisis. “Wasn’t that like the Bay of Pigs thing?” she later asked her husband.
Now is a good time to remind all six billion humans and especially the younger generations that the global nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) had its 40th anniversary on July 1. The NPT, with its rules for nuclear weapons and nuclear power, makes it more difficult for states without nuclear weapons to obtain or build them.
The treaty has not worked perfectly, but has helped sustain a near-miracle that only four additional countries beyond the original five possessors have nuclear weapons. Equally important, Article VI of the treaty commits the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France to achieve nuclear disarmament.
The anniversary of the non-proliferation treaty should be celebrated - mainly by strengthening it and pursuing the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. Popular education and political support for these efforts must be expanded; the older generation has the memories and the fears to lead the way
Jerome Grossman is Chairman Emeritus of Council for A Livable World
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