This week saw a spate of news stories all pointing menacingly to a new nuclear crisis. Iran announced it has now surpassed the cap on uranium enrichment set by a 2015 nuclear deal; North Korea successfully tested intercontinental ballistic missiles that can hit targets anywhere in the continental United States; and the House of Representatives approved a provision that requires Congressional approval before the president would be authorized to use military force against Tehran.
Given the rising tensions with Iran, Congress’s move brought to mind Elaine Scarry’s argument that, “Nuclear weapons and oversight are simply, starkly incompatible. You can’t have nuclear weapons and Congress. You can’t have nuclear weapons and a citizenry. The things can’t coexist.”
With the hands on the doomsday clock once again hovering close to midnight, we took a dive into our archive for more perspective. The essays below analyze our current threats, look to new solutions, and offer lessons from the Nuclear Freeze Movement, which was founded by one of Boston Review‘s regular contributors, the late Randall Forsberg.
Trump's populism, like that of Reagan before him, can be resisted through grassroots protest.
To be a nuclear-armed state is to invest the executive with dictatorial powers over immeasurable destructive capacity.