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Gorbachev and Reagan Era Officials on Reykjavik, Getting to Zero

Gorbachev and Reagan Era Officials on Reykjavik, Getting to Zero
Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev has added his two rubles to the ongoing commemorations of the Reykjavik Summit that almost did away with nuclear weapons. Whether its been a post-Soviet conversion or his ability, now long out of power, to wax poetic on things nuclear, Gorbachev has been speaking out about the value of nuclear weapons in today’s environment. On that score, he emphatically believes that “Nuclear deterrence has always been a hard and brittle guarantor of peace. By failing to propose a compelling plan for nuclear disarmament, the US, Russia, and the remaining nuclear powers are promoting through inaction a future in which nuclear weapons will inevitably be used. That catastrophe must be forestalled.” He writes as such in a new editorial entitled A farewell to nuclear arms.

It would have been fascinating to have Reagan’s side of the story 25 years down the line. However, several Reagan-era figures are sounding the clarion call to “get to zero”. Global Zero is hosting a two day gathering at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California to commemorate the Reykjavik Summit. The event includes a gathering of a hundred prominent political, military and business leaders — including former secretaries of state George Shultz and James Baker — who will call for the first multilateral arms talks aimed at full nuclear disarmament.

In his remarks, former Secretary of State George Schultz, who was at Hofdi House advising Reagan during the historic meeting, actually said “let get rid of nuclear weapons so we can win one more for the Gipper.” Oy. But, you get the point.

Recently retired Former U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright also addressed the gathering, stating that “At the end of the day, the goal has to be zero. Not zero deployed. Not zero between Russia and the United States. It has to be zero…A nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon. It will not look ‘tactical when it goes off..And a weapon that’s in storage status, when it goes off, it does not look like it’s in storage. We have to get rid of them all.” Recall that, until his August retirement, Cartwright was a trusted adviser to President Obama and his pick to lead the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That, however, did not come to pass.



Jodi Lieberman

Jodi Lieberman is a veteran of the arms control, nonproliferation, nuclear terrorism and nuclear safety trenches, having worked at the Departments of State, Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She has also served in an advisory capacity and as professional staff for several members of Congress in both the House and Senate as well as the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Jodi currently spends her time advocating for science issues and funding as the Senior Government Affairs Specialist at the American Physical Society. The views expressed in her posts are her views based on her professional experience but in way should be construed to represent those of her employer.

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