Oct. 15, 2011: Video Message for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament

Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament

Video Message

Annual Assembly in Bern, Switzerland

October 15, 2011



Hello. I am Congressman Ed Markey from Massachusetts here in the United States, co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. I am sorry that I am could not be with you today. It is an honor to address you. 

First of all, thank you - all of you – for the incredible work you are doing to reduce our global nuclear arsenal. Your tireless commitment to this cause has gotten us to where we are today.  

Exactly 25 years ago this week, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met in Reykjavik to discuss how to rid the world of nuclear weapons.  

It is only fitting that today we continue the unfinished work of that landmark summit.  

A quarter century later, our values remain the same. We want our loved ones to be safe. We want our children and grand children to grow up in a peaceful world without fear. We want future generations to recognize the promise of a world free from nuclear weapons.

We have made progress over the decades, thanks in large part to your determination.

•    President Obama has outlined a clear vision for a world free from nuclear weapons, and taken practical steps to achieve this dream.

•    The passage of the New START treaty was a substantial step forward. It sent a clear signal that the United States is serious about meeting its disarmament obligations and that we will lead the way in the effort to reduce the global stockpile of nuclear weapons.

•    And at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference this spring, I was hearted by Secretary Clinton’s announcement that we are continuing to seek U.S. participation in the nuclear weapon- free zones established in Africa and the South Pacific.

But there is still much more to be done.

We must push for the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

We must maintain the U.S.’s commitment to its nuclear testing moratorium.

We must speak out against the development of new weapons and new weapons programs.

With governments around the world struggling to pay their debts and cutting critical health, social and poverty programs, the decision to spend more money on redundant nuclear weapons is more disturbing than ever.

That’s why this week, here in Washington, I launched a campaign to reduce the United States’ nuclear weapons budget by $200 billion dollars over the next ten years.

America is the financial caretaker for 5,000 radioactive relics. This is the epitome of overkill.

Twenty years after the Berlin Wall fell, the U.S. still spends around $50 billion every year on nuclear weapons.  $50 billion.  This makes no sense.

Meanwhile, Americans face another type of security threat at home.  Millions of seniors worry about an end to healthcare and retirement programs.  Millions of teenagers need help paying for college.  Millions cannot pay for heating oil to keep their homes warm this winter. And climate change continues to ravage our land, leading historic extreme weather, death and economic devastation.
We cannot turn our backs on the real threats that people across the world are facing at home: no jobs for young people.  No cures for cancer.  No security for seniors who have worked so hard for so long to make this world a good place to live.

We do not have to choose between nuclear weapons or cures for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.  The real choice is between spending billions on new weapons we no longer need or supporting programs that keep us safe and put our nations on the path of a prosperous future.

Already, 64 of my colleagues in our House of Representatives and nearly 50 organizations are joining me in this effort.

The Cold War arms race is over, but the fight for priorities has just begun.  Now is the time to stop fighting last century’s wars. Now is the time to reinvest in people and the technologies and industries of tomorrow

Again, I thank you for your tireless work and passionate commitment . This international, cross-party network of parliamentarians is unprecedented and unparalleled. Which is why we must be unyielding. You are the key to achieving sustainable multi-lateral nuclear disarmament.

You are the hope we need to build a more peaceful planet..

Thank you.