President Trump: Like President Reagan, Make Us Safer

The horrific effects of a nuclear strike, either intended or accidental, should scare anyone.
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Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan stands with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during Gorbachev's arrival ceremony at the White House, December 8, 1987.
Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan stands with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during Gorbachev's arrival ceremony at the White House, December 8, 1987.
Reuters Photographer / Reuters

Dear President Trump:

There is a challenge more important than jobs, health care, border security, and economic growth, and yes, even your passion to “make America great, again!” The security of the world remains at risk from nuclear weapons and the unity of the American people requires trusting its leadership to address this threat reasonably. To make America great, unity and courage will be needed. I believe you do not want to make the American people afraid.

If all issues but the elimination of nuclear weapons are addressed effectively, and this issue falters, unimaginable catastrophe ensues. Proliferation must be stopped and progress toward elimination pursued.

Numerous articles have appeared that state that you would not object if Japan and South Korea developed nuclear arsenals. Now that you have become president I hope you realize that this attitude makes sensible people very afraid. These nations are prohibited from acquiring nuclear weapons under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in which the United States is party along with over 189 other nations. Suggesting violating the treaty is serious. It indicates a lack of respect for the U.S. Constitution, which provides that treaties are the Supreme Law of the Land. I hope you will quickly make it clear that you will prevent any further spread of nuclear weapons.

Many people believe you have a cavalier attitude toward the spread of nuclear weapons, which could be the third most dangerous thing that could happen to the world. The second would be the explosion of a nuclear weapon in a city. The first would be the explosion of less than 1 percent of the world’s arsenals, around 100 warheads, causing tons of soot to blacken the stratosphere and ending agriculture as we know it, consequently ending civilization. The horrific effects of a nuclear strike, either intended or accidental, should scare anyone.

Also, Sir, you have created fear by implying that you will support the expenditures of hundreds of billions of dollars to upgrade and modernize the nuclear enterprise and even engage in a nuclear arms race with Russia.

I urge you to take a look at the policies, statements, and practices of a previous Republican president, Ronald Reagan. He was successful in establishing better relations with Russia. The world could use progress in that realm again now. I believe you want to bring assurance to people and actually make the world safer. It is now in your hands to accomplish.

President Ronald Reagan’s actions in helping to end the Cold War are instructive. In addition to assuring adversaries that we did not intend them harm, his substantive policies were instrumental in bringing down nuclear arsenals from its excesses of over 60,000 to the present excess of over 15,000. Let’s not look at political spin but hard facts. Reagan engaged in serious negotiations with President Gorbachev aspiring to achieve the universal, legal, and verifiable elimination of all nuclear weapons. He did not do this as a political stunt, but rather he believed it was best for America and the world.

If you do not believe me, give former Secretary of State George Shultz a call. He is at Stanford and I am sure he would make it clear that President Reagan was serious when he said that nuclear weapons are “totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization.”

Be like Reagan, engage directly with President Putin and change, and possibly save, history by ending the nuclear threat. Even President Nixon made enormous advances in this realm: achieving the SALT I Treaty, bringing into force the NPT, negotiating the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty, and actually leading in banning an entire class of weapons of mass destruction by leading in the creation of the Biological Weapons Convention.

To make sure that no one in Washington succeeds in spinning, distorting, or minimizing President Reagan’s commitment to eliminating the most dangerous weapon of mass destruction, I have compiled several very clear quotes for your use:

  1. “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. The only value in our two nations possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they will never be used. But then would it not be better to do away with them entirely?” - Ronald Reagan, 1984 State of the Union

  2. “We seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.”- Ronald Reagan, Inaugural Address, 1985

  3. “My central arms control objective has been to reduce substantially, and ultimately to eliminate, nuclear weapons and rid the world of the nuclear threat. The prevention of the spread of nuclear explosives to additional countries is an indispensable part of our efforts to meet this objective. I intend to continue my pursuit of this goal with untiring determination and a profound sense of personal commitment.” - Ronald Reagan, “Message to the Congress Transmitting the Annual Report on Nuclear Nonproliferation,” March 25,1988.

  4. “Our moral imperative is to work with all our powers for that day when the children of the world grow up without the fear of nuclear war.” - Ronald Reagan from “Reagan’s Secret War” by Martin and Annelise Anderson

  5. “I can’t believe that this world can go on beyond our generation and on down to succeeding generations with this kind of weapon on both sides poised at each other without someday some fool or some maniac or some accident triggering the kind of war that is the end of the line for all of us. And I just think of what a sigh of relief would go up from everyone on this earth if someday–and this is what I have–my hope, way in the back of my head–is that if we start down the road to reduction, maybe one day in doing that, somebody will say, ‘Why not all the way? Let’s get rid of all these things.” - Ronald Reagan, “Remarks at a White House Briefing for Chief Executive Officers of Trade Associations and Corporations on Deployment of the MX Missile,” May 16, 1983

There will be those who work to diminish a common sense of obtaining security, which rests on finding common interests and building on them. We have no common interest in continuing to threaten annihilation. There could be no greater way to make America great than to have it lead in making the world safe from nuclear annihilation.

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