Archive for the ‘Jimmy Carter’ Tag

New groups wants total elimination of nuclear weapons

A new group that will formally launch this Tuesday (9 December), Global Zero, seeks the total elimination of nuclear weapons over the next 25 years.  After their big kickoff in Paris, they’re going to Moscow to meet with Russian officials and subsequently to Washington to meet with Bush administration figures, and possible advisors to President-elect Obama.

The 11-megaton Castle Romeo nuclear test, the third largest ever conducted by the United States

The 11-megaton Castle Romeo nuclear test, the third largest ever conducted by the United States. This image is often used to make nukes look scary, which they are.

The group, which has been organizing for 18 months already, is not a bunch of wild-eyed peaceniks.  Listed supporters include former President Jimmy Carter; former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger; former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci; former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev; Shaharyar Khan, a former Pakistani foreign minister; retired Air Chief Marshal Shashindra Pal Tyagi of India;  Malcolm Rifkind, a former British foreign secretary; Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.); Lee Hamilton, vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission; Robert Blackwill, a former top Bush administration official on Iraq policy; former Nebraska Senator and Governor Bob Kerrey; Strobe Talbott and Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution; former U.S. Ambassador Tom Pickering; former diplomat Richard Burt; retired Marine General John J. Sheehan; former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski, Anthony Lake and Sandy Berger; and retired four-star Marine General Anthony Zinni.  Other supporters include British billionaire Richard Branson and Jordan’s Queen Noor.

Though I’ve heard nothing about him being affiliated with Global Zero, former Kennedy- and Johnson-era Defense Secretary Robert McNamara has voiced support for reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons.  He included an appendix in his 1995 book In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam on the topic, writing that “insofar as achievable—and I underline that phrase—we should move back to a nonnuclear world. ”  McNamara argues, after some analysis, that “the military utility of nuclear weapons is limited to deterring one’s opponent from their use.  Therefore, if our opponent has no nuclear weapons, there is no need for us to possess them.”

Global Zero says its goal is achieving a binding verifiable agreement to eliminate all nuclear weapons by working through diplomacy and international public opinion.  They hope to organize a summit of world leaders in January of 2010.  Global Zero is funded by several charitable foundations.  This blog commends the group’s efforts.

Some trivia on presidents and President-Elect Obama

Well, Senator Barack Obama is now President-Elect Barack Obama, albeit unofficially until the electoral votes are counted in a joint session of Congress on January 6th.  Obama will be the second U.S. President from Illinois; the first, of course, being Abraham Lincoln.  But here is some useless presidential trivia that you may not know.

He is also the first president to be elected from outside the Sun Belt since John Kennedy in 1960.  (Note that Michigander Gerald Ford was appointed, not elected.)   When he assumes office at noon on 20 January 2009 he will be 47 years, 5 months, and 16 days old; that will make him the fifth youngest person to become president, after Theodore Roosevelt (42 years, 10 months, 18 days); John F. Kennedy (43 years, 7 months, 22 days); Bill Clinton (46 years, 5 months, 1 day); and Ulysses S. Grant (46 years, 10 months, 5 days).  He is the fourth youngest person elected to the presidency, since Teddy Roosevelt, as Vice President, took office upon the death of President William McKinley.

Perhaps surprisingly, Obama is just the third sitting U.S. Senator to be elected president.  The other two were Warren Harding and John Kennedy.  Thirteen other presidents had previously served as a U.S. Senator, but not immediately preceeding their becoming president.

Obama is the first Democrat to win a majority of the popular vote in 32 years; the last one to do so was Jimmy Carter, who won 50.08% of the popular vote in 1976.  (Due in part to the participation of Ross Perot, Clinton received only 43% and 49.24% of the popular vote in his two winning campaigns.  Though Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000, he also didn’t get an absolute majority, securing only 48.4% of the vote, due to Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan being in the race.)

Had John McCain won, he would have been the second U.S. President to have spent time as a prisoner of war; the first was Andrew Jackson.  McCain, who is from the Sun Belt state of Arizona, would have been the oldest president to assume office, beating out Ronald Reagan by over two years.