1. Some presidential candidates have indicated that the greatest threat to U.S. security lies in nuclear weapons getting into the “wrong” hands. Do you agree with this?
The only “right hands” for nuclear weapons are the hands of the scientists and engineers involved in dismantling them. Possession of nuclear weapons by any nation is a problem and the threat of misuse or nuclear proliferation is made worse by the possession of nuclear arsenals by any nation.
2. What do you consider to be the “wrong” hands?
While there are unstable nations – or nations involved in bitter conflicts – for whom possession of nuclear capabilities is particularly alarming, we must realize that the possession of nuclear arsenals by even more stable nation entails risks and is often the driver for nuclear proliferation. Governments change and military leaders can rebel against civilian authority. So there is no nation for which possession of nuclear weaponry poses acceptable risks.
3. Do you have a plan for preventing nuclear weapons from getting into the “wrong” hands?
I have called for the United States and Russia to lead an initiative to denuclearize the Middle East, dismantling the nuclear weapons-related programs of all the nations of that region, including Israel. I have also called for the US to lead the way to international treaties that would dismantle the nuclear stockpiles of all the current nuclear powers. In the meantime I would insist that all nations with nuclear programs ratify the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. I would make ratification of this Treaty a condition for receiving military or economic assistance from the United States.
4. Do you think there are any “right” hands to possess nuclear weapons?
As stated above, the only “right hands” for nuclear weapons are the hands of the scientists and engineers involved in dismantling them. The threat to humanity posed by nuclear weapons is too great to justify any excuse for using them for legitimate national security purposes. The only rational purpose of nuclear weapons is to use them to deter the use of nuclear weapons by others. But this presumes that we must live in an unstable and dangerous state that contains the seeds of its own ultimate failure. Rather than use nuclear weapons for deterrence, we should remove them from the equation and strengthen the other factors that make war unthinkable.
5. Do you agree with the sentiment that the United States should lead toward attaining a world free of nuclear weapons?
Leadership from the United States is absolutely essential. The Obama Administration approach of coddling of some would-be nuclear powers while condemning others is intellectually and morally indefensible. Our stepping away from nuclear nonproliferation treaties is a gross failure of leadership. We must demand something better than this. I would urge the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation to think carefully about whether accepting the lesser of two evils argument in the nuclear arena isn’t contributing to the drift toward catastrophe. I would urge the Foundation to speak up for the inclusion of my campaign in the presidential debates so that a genuine argument for peace can be put before the American people.
6. Do you agree with those who feel the U.S. should modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad along with the production infrastructure?
No. I think our emphasis should be on forging international agreements that would lead to the retirement of these capabilities. I would only support modernization that was required for safety reasons. My policies would make it unnecessary to maintain a production infrastructure.
7. Do you agree with the U.S. spending $1 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize its nuclear arsenal?
No. I have said that this modernization program would be immediately halted should I become President. The development of nuclear weapons for new battlefield purposes is particularly dangerous. I would instead spend this money to build a renewable energy infrastructure for America with the goal of making wars for oil obsolete and eliminating the need for nuclear power plants.