Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is not a peacenik. He sidesteps the pacifist constraints in Japan’s post-war constitution. He chafes at international criticism of Japan’s role in World War II and pressures publishers to soften descriptions of wartime Japan’s sexual enslavement of women. The conservative leader of Japan’s ruling party frequents a Shinto Shrine that lionizes convicted war criminals and glorifies the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He picks fights with Russia, China and South Korea over disputed islands and supports a significant increase in Japanese defense spending. Read More
April 27th, 2015
April 27th, 2015
Almost all the world’s nations gather today at the UN in New York City for the month-long Review Conference of the international treaty designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and eliminate the ones that already exist.
The 1970 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or “NPT”, divides the world into nuclear weapons haves and have-nots, with the five nuclear weapon states—the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, and France—committed to nuclear disarmament in exchange for which the other 186 parties have pledged not to acquire nuclear weapons. The treaty includes inspections to make sure that countries with nuclear power programs don’t use the technology to produce nuclear weapons materials. Read More
April 20th, 2015
April 17th, 2015
April 8th, 2015
Eric Schlosser, author of the best-selling book Fast Food Nation, last year published a new book that details dozens of accidents that have occurred with U.S. nuclear weapons—some of which nearly led to a nuclear explosion. His book, Command and Control, makes clear that nuclear weapons systems—like all complex systems involving technology and humans—are not perfect. Things go wrong. Read More
April 3rd, 2015
The world got some good news yesterday. The countries involved in negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran announced they had agreed on many of the key issues they will need to formalize in a final agreement over the next three months.
So, how does that interim agreement look? So far, so good. Read More
February 9th, 2015
We all take calculated risks, and justifiably so, when we judge the benefits of our action to outweigh the risks. I ride a bike to work when I can, for example. Sure, there’s a risk of injury but, to me, it is outweighed by the health, economic, and environmental benefits.
But the picture changes when we take risks with no real benefits. And when our political leaders do this, we have a duty to speak out and demand change. Read More
January 27th, 2015
January 16th, 2015
In his State of the Union speech next Tuesday night, President Obama is expected to focus heavily on challenges like economic inequality and international terrorism. But he is also likely to address at least some of the issues that UCS works on directly, such as climate change and energy. Here’s a quick take on what he may say on these issues, as well as some things he should say, but probably won’t. Read More
December 17th, 2014
The Cold War ended 25 years ago this month, according to many historians. On Dec. 2 and 3, 1989, Presidents Bush and Gorbachev met on a ship off the island of Malta in the Mediterranean and announced an end of hostilities between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The two presidents quickly turned to addressing the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War: the bloated nuclear arsenals in both countries. Within a few years, they cut their nuclear stockpiles in half, and have continued to cut them in the decades since. With U.S.-Russian tensions high again, it’s worth remembering what progress has been made. Read More