Call for World Leaders To Wake Up to Dangers of Nuclear War

December 10, 2014

"We believe the risks posed by nuclear weapons and the international dynamics that could lead to nuclear weapons being used are underestimated or insufficiently understood by world leaders. Tensions between nuclear-armed states and alliances in the Euro-Atlantic area and in both South and East Asia remain ripe with the potential for military miscalculation and escalation. In a vestige of the Cold War, too many nuclear weapons in the world remain ready to launch on short notice, greatly increasing the chances of an accident,"

over 120 political, military and nuclear leaders from 46 countries warned in a letter addressed to Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, on the occasion of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, which is taking place on Dec. 8-9 in Vienna, hosted by the Austrian Foreign Ministry.

Five international organizations sponsored the letter: the U.S.'s Nuclear Security Leadership Council and Nuclear Threat Initiative, and the European Leadership Network and its Asian and Latin American counterparts. Prominent signators included Sam Nunn, Richard Lugar and Gen. James Cartright (ret.), from the U.S.; former Foreign Secretary David Owen and former Defense Secretary Lord Browne from the U.K.; former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard; former German Defense Minister Volker Ruhe; former Swedish Foreign Minister and IAEA Director Hans Blix; former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, and many others.

Pope Francis sent a message to the Vienna conference, calling for development to replace nuclear deterrence and Mutually Assured Destruction as the basis for

"peaceful co-existence among peoples and states. The youth of today and tomorrow deserve far more. They deserve a peaceful world order based on the unity of the human family," he wrote. "Peace must be built on justice, socio-economic development, freedom, respect for fundamental human rights, the participation of all in public affairs and the building of trust between peoples. Pope Paul VI stated this succinctly in his Encyclical Populorum Progressio: 'Development is the new name for peace.'"

Former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Mohamed ElBaradei sent a message warning of the increasing danger that the world is

"sleep walking into destruction" under its "dysfunctional system of collective security."

"War and peace, like many human conditions, are of our own creation. It depends on the environment we construct and the mindset we cultivate. What we need is an environment based on equity, trust, mutual respect and dialogue, and not on double standards, polarization, humiliation and dictates. And it should be a mindset that understands that in our globalized world, we will either succeed together or fail separately. If we work on eliminating the drivers of insecurity and war, the odds are we will be able to avert, or at least mitigate, most wars. If we work on the drivers of peace, the odds are we will be able to restore our rationality and understand that we are the same human species," he wrote.

The strategic basis for bringing about precisely this needed shift from war to global development in an environment of trust, is spelled-out in the Schiller Institute's petition, "Europe and the U.S. Must Join the BRICS!" being circulated by the LaRouche Political Action Committee in the United States, and in many languages by the LaRouche movement throughout the world.