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WED 3 SEPT 2014





What the Ukraine crisis above all requires, on all sides of the
conflict is restraint and balance. Russia as well as Ukraine has
genuine security concerns. A Russia-NATO clash could all too easily
escalate to the use of nuclear weapons.

A large-scale US/Russia nuclear exchange would destroy the structures
of what we call civilisation in milliseconds, while the ensuing
nuclear winter could threaten human survival.

It was Putin who warned darkly last Friday that it 'should be
remembered that Russia is a nuclear power'. Indeed so. But both the US
and Russian missile forces regularly practice for the apocalypse. And
while the nuclear threat has long been relegated in the public
consciousness to the terrors and errors of the cold war the fact is
that it never went away. Russia and the US between them hold over 90%
of global nuclear arsenals. Each of them maintains just under 1000
warheads in a status in which they can be launched in less than a
minute. False alarms in both the US and Russia have come close to
bringing about accidental nuclear war on nearly a dozen occasions.

Russia has always had deep and  clear historical and strategic
interests in the Ukraine. A Ukraine dominated by NATO or by an
anti-Russian government is absolutely bound to provoke a strong
negative reaction in Moscow, right or wrong. Russian attempts to
'interfere' in what was in the tenth century the very birthplace of
the Russian state, are less surprising than US interference in Cuba in
the 1960s. Russia, rightly or wrongly will always regard what takes
place in Ukraine as affecting  a core strategic interest, just as the
US would see what takes place in Mexico and Canada as of central
strategic importance.

Sanctions are therefore guaranteed to fail, and likely to backfire.
Russia is sure to bear whatever cost it deems necessary to protect
what it sees as a core security interest. And it is Russia, not the
West, that determines what Russia sees as a core security interest.

What is astonishing about the entire Ukrainian crisis is that little
attempt is made by the NATO powers, with the exception of Germany, to
envisage what it might look like to Russian eyes, and anyone who does
so is deemed a Russian sympathiser. Yet to do so is surely common
sense. To understand what things look like to Russia does not make
Russia 100% right, but it might provide essential information that
would enable realistic and commonsense-based negotiations to take

Barring President Putin from the G20 meeting in Brisbane in November
is singularly unhelpful. Putin's presence in Brisbane amongst the G20
must be seen as absolutely essential. How else is rational dialogue to
take place?

The repeated calls for 'firm action' in the face of so-called
'aggression' are worse than unhelpful: they are downright dangerous,
and verge on the lunatic.

Meeting threats with threats in the name of 'firmness' merely serves
to escalate the crisis. And escalation could lead inexorably to an
utterly catastrophic outcome. Surely it does not take genius (or
Russophilia) to see this, but, again, rationality and common-sense are
lacking thus far.

It is not simply Putin who is playing nuclear roulette with the entire
planet. Both sides of the conflict are complicit in doing so. And any
attempt to get Putin to see things 'our' way without us seeing things
his way is calculated to fail, potentially  catastrophically.

Common-sense negotiations leading to a diplomatically neutral Ukraine,
with or without its troublesome eastern sector, and that (above all)
recognise and truly meet Russians deep security concerns (more or less
as Russia defines them) over its all too real semi-encirclement by
NATO, would provide an obvious way out. Context-blind calls for
'firmness', larded with threats and sanctions, will likely lead either
nowhere or, rather worse, to the abyss.

John Hallam
Human Survival Project/People for Nuclear Disarmament
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Prof. Peter King
Human Survival Project/Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies,
Sydney University

MON 14 APRIL 2014


Nuclear disarmament organizations worldwide, in a letter arguably
representing up to a billion people and certainly representing
millions, have written to presidents Putin and Obama, warning of the
dangers of escalation inherent in the Ukraine crisis.

The letter has been signed by organizations, some of whom have
memberships in the millions, and at least one of which (Mayors For
Peace), arguably represents up to a billion people. Signatories range
from relatively small Australia-based People for Nuclear Disarmament,
who did the overall coordination for the letter, to Mayors for Peace,
representing cities worldwide, to International Physicians for the
Prevention of Nuclear War (Nobel Peace prize 1985), to former UN
undersecretary for Disarmament Jayantha Dhanapala. A number of
parliamentarians also signed.

The letter argues that, as the United States and Russia between them
continue to hold 95% of all the worlds nuclear warheads and as each of
them continues to maintain just under 1000 warheads each in a status
in which they can be launched in less than a minute, the ultimate
consequences of unlimited escalation of a Russia/NATO conflict, should
there be one, could be truly apocalyptic.

According to a PND/Human Survival Project spokesperson:
“We aren't saying the world's going to end tomorrow, or even that this
is the most likely outcome. All we are saying is that the probability
of such an outcome with US and Russian nuclear weapons kept in a
ready-to-fire status at all times, is 'non-zero', though (hopefully)
“A crisis such as the current Ukraine crisis makes it higher, maybe as
high as 5-10% though this is a possibly wild guesstimate.”
“Hostilities between NATO and Russian forces, even without direct US
involvement, would make it still higher.”

“The results of such a conflict, should it ever take place, would be
the complete destruction of what we call civilization, a nuclear
winter with temperatures colder than the last ice-age lasting for
decades, and would make human survival itself questionable.”

“What is required is a climbdown from the confrontational postures
being taken by both sides, a commitment to non-military solutions that
respect the actual wishes of all involved, both Ukrainians and
Russians, and above all a commitment to take US and Russian nuclear
forces off the high alert that has for decades held the entire planet
hostage, and to get rid of nuclear weapons completely.”

John Hallam
People for Nuclear Disarmament/Human Survival Project
61-2-9810-2598 (leave message)
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Peter King,
Human Survival Project,
61-42264 7025
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The below has been faxed to President Putin (Obama no longer has a
fax), to the US and Russian Geneva and NY UN missions, to Kerry at
various numbers, to Lavrov at various numbers, and to the House
Strategic Forces subcommittee


Dear Presidents Putin and Obama, Secretary of State Kerry and Foreign
Minister Lavrov:

The undersigned people and groups wish to draw your attention, if your
own advisers have not already done so, to the grave dangers of
escalation and miscalculation that could flow from the
rapidly-developing crisis over Crimea and the Ukraine.

The very fact that you find yourselves in this situation underscores a
fatal flaw in the theory of nuclear deterrence and the danger of
relying upon it. Deterrence is mistakenly extolled for instilling
caution in international affairs; moderation and predictability, not
brinkmanship, are supposed to be everyone's watchword. And yet
escalatory actions have followed one upon another -- a pattern
witnessed in other crises as well. Given this apparently
uncontrollable urge to one-upmanship and the world-threatening nature
of nuclear war, it is the height of recklessness that the escalatory
ladder is topped off by nuclear war.

Having the threat of nuclear war feature in any way in this crisis
only worsens it. Each and every nuclear armed party involved in this
crisis should state unequivocally that the 'nuclear option' is
absolutely ruled OUT. Rather, all parties should emphasise the many
points of mutual benefit that favour the pursuit of de-escalation and
conflict resolution.

To give the preceding concrete meaning and to safeguard civilisation
and much else, immediate steps should be taken to de-alert the nuclear
arsenals. It is in times of crisis that accidents and unauthorised
action become the most likely. During the Cuban Missile crisis there
were several incidences that brought the world even closer to the
brink of nuclear war than either Khrushchev or Kennedy wanted or
realised at the time. The same was true of the crisis in Europe over
the deployment of medium range missiles.

Your two countries together posses about 95% of the world’s nuclear
warheads. Each of you maintain just under 1000 warheads each at a
state of readiness in which they can be launched, according to Russian
military sources, in 'a few dozens of seconds'. Those warheads are
meant to be aimed primarily at each other, and yet their use would
spell the end of civilisation. This subject was discussed at length in
the Nayarit, Mexico, conference of 13-14 February which your two
governments refused to attend, though 146 other governments did so.
After an immediate body count of over a billion, subsequent global
climatic effects could make human survival questionable, with ice age
conditions lasting as long as 30 years, according to the presentations
made at Nayarit by Professor Alan Robock and to the U.S. Congress in
Washington by Dr. Ira Helfand.

Your nuclear arsenals continue to impose profound existential
insecurity upon the world as a whole. That nuclear weapons give you a
perceived but unrealistic sense of security vis a vis one another must
not blind you to the utter recklessness of holding so much at risk--
most of which is not even 'yours'! You have no right to do that.

Looking beyond this crisis, a policy of ruling out ANY use of nuclear
weapons should be universally adopted.

Having been de-alerted, your arsenals should remain de-alerted until
they are disarmed.

In short, we urge you to find in this crisis an opportunity to prepare
for living in a nuclear weapon free world, by dealing with it strictly
in non-nuclear terms. We will all be much more secure when such a
world has been established, and human survival has thus been secured.

Thank you.

John Hallam
People for Nuclear Disarmament/Human Survival Project, Sydney Aust,
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Prof. Peter King
Human Survival Project, Sydney Aust,
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Aaron Tovish
Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign, Stockholm,
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David Krieger,
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation,
Santa Barbara, Calif, USA,

Alan Ware, (NZ)
World Future Council, Lond,
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Steven Starr, Senior Scientist, PSR, Missouri, USA,

Ira Helfand,, MD
Co-President, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.(IPPNW)

Reiner Braun, Executive Director of IALANA,

Reiner Braun, Ingeborg Breines, Co-Presidents, International Peace Bureau

Peer de Rijk, WISE International, Amsterdam,

Jayantha Dhanapala, Former UN Undersecy for Disarmament, (PersCapy)

Patricia Willis, Pacific Peace Working Group, Australia,

Joe Wolf, Coogee, Australia,

Chris Hamer, Scientists for Global Responsibility, Sydney Australia,

Claude Mostowyk, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Peace and Justice
Centre, Sydney Aust,

Bronwyn Marks, Fmr Chair, Hiroshima Day Committee, NSW Australia,

Dr Robert Hunter, Past President, Scientists Against Nuclear Arms,
Univ. Sydney, Australia,

Senator Christine Milne, Leader, Australian Greens,

Jill Hall, MP, NSW,

John Hinchcliffe, President, NZ Peace Foundation,

Marion Hancock, NZ,

Barney Richards, New Zealand Peace Council, Aotearoa/NZ

Junko Abe, Ikata People Against MOX, Japan

Hiro Umebayashi, Peace Depot, Yokohama, Japan,

Prof Takao Takahara, International Peace Research Institute

Wilfred D'Sousa, Indian Social Action Forum, Delhi, India

Sukla Sen, EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity), Mumbai, India,

Sudha Reddy, Forum for Ethics and Responsibilities, Bangalore, India,

Prema Verma, Jharkhand Alternative Development Forum, Ranchi, India,

Brigadier Vijai Nair, Magoo Strategic Infotech, Noida, India,

Sushovan Dhar, VAK, Malad West, Mumbai India,

Balakrishna Kurvey, Indian Institute for Peace, Disarmament &
Environmental Protection (IIDEP) Nagpur, Maharashtra, India

Dr Ranjith Jayasekhara, Vice-Pres, Sri Lanka Doctors for Peace and Development,

Paul Saoke, IPPNW Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya,
Kathy Sanchez, Tewa Women United, New Mexico, USA,

John Spitzberg, Veterans for Peace, USA,

Lewis Patrie, North Carolina Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), USA,

Robert M. Gould, San Francisco Bay Area Physicians for Social
Responsibility, (PSR),

Gloria Mc Millan, Tucson Balkan Peace Support Group, Tucson Ariz,

Stephen Kobasa, Trident Resistance Network, USA,

Kathleen Sullivan, Hibakusha Stories, New York, NY, USA,

Professor Martin Hellman (emeritus) Stanford University, Calif,

Susan Stout, World Peace Women, Vancouver, Canada,

Gordon Edwards, President, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear
Responsibility, (CCNR) Toronto, Canada,

Barbara Birkett, Past President, Physicians for Global Survival,(PGS) Canada,

Joan Russow, Global Compliance Project, Victoria, BC, Canada,

Vinay Jindal, Toronto Hiroshima Day Coalition, Toronto, Canada,

Dr Ruby Chirino, IPPNW Mexico City, Mexico,

Marco Martinez, UNAM, Mexico,
Maria Sotiropoulou, International Physicians for the Prevention of
Nuclear War,(IPPNW) Greece,

Michele Di Paolantonio, MD President of AIMPGN (IPPNW Italy)
Bjorn Roe, Nej Til Atomvapen, Oslo, Norway,

Helge Fiskaa, Nej Til Atomvapen Trondheim, Norway,

Frederick S. Heffermehl, lawyer/author, Oslo, Norway,

Hallgeir Langeland, Fmr MP, Oslo, Norway,

Agneta Norberg, Vice-Chair, Swedish Peace Council,
Prof. Andreas Nidecker, President, Basel Peace Office, Board IPPNW,
Basel, Switzerland,

Jenny Maxwell, Hereford Peace Council, UK,

Godrick Bader, life President, Scott Bader UK,

George Farebrother, World Court Project UK,

Dave Webb, Vice-Chair, CND, UK,

Jean-Marie Matagne, Pres, Action des Citoyens pour le Desarmement
Nucleaire (ACDN) Saintes, France,

Dirk Van Der Maelen, MP, Vice-President Commission for Foreign Affairs, Belgium,

Inge Hoeger, Member Bundestag, Die Linke, Germany,

Xanthe Hall, IPPNW Germany, Berlin, Germany,

Ingrid Schittich, Chairperson, Association of World Citizens (AWC),
Germany. www.worldcitizens.de
Last Updated on Sunday, 08 February 2015 21:54