Back From the Brink

Back from the Brink: A Call to Prevent Nuclear War

We call on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by:

  • renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first
  • ending the sole, unchecked authority of any President to launch a nuclear attack
  • taking US nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert
  • cancelling the plan to replace its entire arsenal with enhanced weapons;
  • actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals



Since the height of the Cold War the U.S .and Russia have dismantled more than 50,000 nuclear warheads, but 15,000 of these weapons still exist and they pose an intolerable risk to human survival. 95% of these weapons are in the hands of the United States and Russia; the rest are held by seven other countries, the United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

The use of even a tiny fraction of these weapons would cause worldwide climate disruption and global famine.  As few as 100 Hiroshima sized bombs, small by modern standards, would put at least 5 million tons of soot into the upper atmosphere and cause climate disruption across the planet, cutting food production and putting 2 billion people at risk of starvation.

A large scale nuclear war would kill hundreds of millions of people directly and cause unimaginable environmental damage.   It would also cause catastrophic climate disruption dropping temperatures across the planet to levels not seen since the last ice age.  Under these conditions the vast majority of the human race would starve and it is possible we would become extinct as a species.

Despite assurances that these arsenals exist solely to guarantee they are never used, there have been many occasions when nuclear armed countries have prepared to use these weapons, and war has been averted at the last minute.

Nuclear weapons do not possess some magical quality that prevents their being used. As former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara said, speaking about the Cuban Missile Crisis, “In the end, we lucked out — it was luck that prevented nuclear war.” Our current nuclear policy is essentially the hope that our good luck lasts.

Furthermore, the danger of nuclear war is growing as climate change puts increased stress on communities around the world increasing the likelihood of conflict.

The planned expenditure of $1.2 trillion to enhance our nuclear arsenal will exacerbate these dangers by fueling a global arms race and it will divert crucial resources needed to assure the well-being of the American people.

There is an alternative to this march to nuclear war. In July of 2017, 122 nations called for the elimination of all nuclear weapons by adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  The United States should embrace this call for nuclear disarmament as the centerpiece of our national security policy.

Here are Back from the Brink resolution endorsers, circa 12/6/2017

National Organizations
Union of Concerned Scientists
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Women's Action for New Directions
Peace Action
American Friends Service Committee
Lawyer's Committee on Nuclear Policy
Beyond Nuclear
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
World Beyond War

National Faith-based Organizations
Pax Christi USA
Soka Gakkai International-USA Buddhist Association
Unitarian Universalist Association
United Methodist General Board of Church and Society
Franciscans for Justice
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces
Adorers of the Blood of Christ
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

Elected Officials/Bodies
Northampton City Council (MA)

Local/State/Regional Organizations
Peace Action Montgomery
Peace Action Baltimore
Youth Arts New York/Hibakusha Stories
Tri-Valley CARES
Maine PSR
Greater Boston PSR
Pioneer Valley PSR (MA)
Maine Nurse Practitioners Association
Albert Schweitzer Institute (CT)

Local/State/Regional Faith-based Organizations
Sandy Spring Friends Meeting (MD)
Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore
Colorado Interfaith Power & Light
Maine Council of Churches
Sisters of St. Francis Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation
Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community
Denver Catholic Network
Justice Commission of the Presentation Sisters
Sisters of St. Joseph
The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center (Seattle)
Dominican Sisters of San Rafael
Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose