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No Winners In The Nuclear Arms Race

Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Woolsey) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, there is no greater security threat in the world than the continued development and proliferation of nuclear weapons. A single nuclear strike has the power to destroy the planet and to obliterate the human race.

The headline in Sunday's New York Times read, ``White House is rethinking nuclear policy.'' Boy, did it need some rethinking.

After years of a grossly irresponsible nuclear strategy, we should all be grateful that the Obama administration seems poised on this issue to put us on a course toward peace and global security.

It appears that the President is prepared to dramatically reduce the size of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. All accounts are that there will be no development of new nuclear weapons on his watch. That includes the unnecessarily dangerous, expensive, and wasteful ``bunker buster''--the pet nuke of the previous administration. While his predecessor thumbed his nose at the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, President Obama is sincere about honoring our multilateral obligations.

Not all the news is that encouraging, however. The emerging White House strategy looks like it will include an increased reliance on missile defense systems, which have proven themselves to be a failure and a waste of taxpayer money for going on 30 years now. Most ominously, there appears to be some reluctance in the White House to adopt a ``no first use'' policy. In other words, we would not specifically rule out the possibility of a preemptive nuclear strike. This should terrify all of us, Mr. Speaker, because it takes only a single nuclear attack to unleash untold human suffering, the likes of which the world has never seen.

What possible national security objective could be served by using weapons that could wipe out civilization?

I encourage the White House to be bold in its pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons. Specifically, I want to see the administration adopt the principles of the ``NO NUKES'' resolution that I have introduced in this Congress--``NO NUKES,'' which stands for Nonproliferation Options for Nuclear Understanding to Keep Everyone Safe.

The resolution specifically declares that the United States would not use nuclear weapons first, regarding them as a deterrent against attack until their eventual complete elimination.

The resolution also calls for more aggressive multilateral negotiations toward disarmament, greater cooperation with Russia toward dismantling Cold War nuclear warheads, a reaffirmation of the moratorium on nuclear testing, and a ban on weapons in outer space.

Nuclear nonproliferation is one of the pillars of the Smart Security approach that I have been advocating from this Chamber for years, Mr. Speaker. ``Smart Security'' means using more brains and less brawn to keep America safe. It treats war only as a last resort. It demands that we stop equating security with aggression or belligerence. It advances our security goals through humanitarian rather than military means--more development aid, more diplomacy, more conflict resolution, and a more vigorous commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.

There can be no winners in the nuclear arms race. We cannot afford to get this one wrong. I hope our President treats this issue with the urgency and the sensitivity that it deserves. Nothing less than the life of every man, woman, and child on Earth is at stake.