Spurring Global Action
When former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Senator Sam Nunn announced in 2007 their support of a world without nuclear weapons and described the steps to get there, the response was immediate.
The New York Times reported that the authors “sent waves through the foreign policy establishment.”
The Economist wrote: “They gave political cover to a renewed debate about whether nuclear weapons, credited with keeping peace between the big powers after the 20th century’s two world wars, are not part of the problem.”
The impact was global. Russian President Medvedev offered his country’s commitment to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “We will be at the forefront of the international campaign, to ultimately achieve a world that is free from nuclear weapons.”
The four NSP principals provided further depth to their thinking in follow-on op-eds in 2008, 2010 and 2011. In 2009, President Obama convened a United Nations Security Council Summit and he and fellow heads of state approved a resolution “to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons,” endorsing steps such as arms reductions, a ban on nuclear testing and negotiating a treaty to end production of nuclear weapons material. In 2010, President Obama hosted the first Nuclear Security Summit and world leaders defined specific actions for the goal of locking down all nuclear materials in four years.
One of the most intriguing responses to the web series was a wave of like-minded opinion editorials from high-level, former officials around the world. By 2011, former officials from 13 countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom) had joined together across party lines to publicly endorse the vision and agenda by speaking out on the pages of the press:
“We unreservedly support the call by Messrs. Kissinger, Shultz, Perry and Nunn for a turnaround on nuclear policy, and not only in their country.”
Former President German Richard von Weizsacker, former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, former Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, and former Minister Egon Bahr, International Herald Tribune
“The success of non-proliferation is a primary necessity for peace, and it depends on more urgent initiatives on the part of the five nuclear powers recognized in the NPT. They have to engage in a process leading to complete disarmament with full involvement of the three de facto nuclear powers.”
Former French Prime Ministers Alain Juppe and Michel Rocard, former defense Minister Alain Richard, and former Air Force Commander Bernard Norlain, Le Monde
The Nuclear Security Project
The four prinicpals formed the Nuclear Security Project in 2007 to galvanize global action to reduce nuclear dangers. The Nuclear Threat Initiatve serves as the coordinator of the Project, responsible for managing project activities and coordinating the joint work of the authors, in conjunction with the Hoover Institution. The goal is to encourage governments – both directly and through their citizens -- to embrace the vision of a world without nuclear weapons and to take immediate steps to get there. Today, the NSP works with leadership networks in Europe, the Asia-Pacific and Latin America, as well as organizations around the world.