April 15, 2003

Forsberg Lectures on Nuclear Disarmament

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Yesterday afternoon, Randall Forsberg, director of the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies, spoke to an audience of approximately 45 people in the Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall. Her lecture was part of a series of weekly events hosted by the Peace Studies Program and the Program on the Study of Contentious Politics.

Weapons Talk

Her talk opened with an introduction on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Forsberg declared that if it were not for President George W. Bush’s claim that Iraq held weapons of mass destruction, the current U.S. war with Iraq would not be taking place.

Forsberg then elaborated on her argument by giving a detailed history of test banning and arms control treaties, underscoring that little has been done to curb the creation and testing of nuclear weapons such as ballistic missiles. She also indicated that the Bush Administration has been unreasonably selfish and harsh during nuclear arms control negotiations with potentially dangerous countries such as North Korea.

“We’d all like to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but what our government is doing right now is directly in contradiction with what should be done,” she said.


She then outlined the measures that the Bush Administration has taken to foster the war and their resulting consequences. These included what she believes to be a wreckage of the fabric of international arms control agreements and a U.S. violation of international law. She pointed out that the U.S. has been highly unilateralist in its actions and has not valued international cooperation.

She also called attention to the fact that the U.S. is adopting new policies where it would not only be able to keep its current nuclear stockpiles but also grant new funds for the refurbishment and production of new nuclear weapons.

Forsberg is currently taking action by running several programs alongside other activists in hopes of challenging the actions of the decisions of the U.S. government. These include the Global Action to Prevent War and Urgent Call, both of which are campaigns that delineate a series of steps to help prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to educate the general public on these respective issues.

“She is amazing,” said Patrick McLeod ’05, an audience member. “The shame and disgust of my government is more bearable knowing that intelligent and responsible people like [Forsberg] are working hard to make America and the entire world safer.”

However, others were more skeptical and rather unimpressed with Forsberg’s intentions.

A Cornell Institute for Public Affairs fellow who wished to remain anonymous said, “I didn’t hear anything particularly striking. She spoke about the need for a reinvigorated Democratic leadership, but given how this war is shaping up, it’s unclear how there will be any significant popular mandate for a new government, let alone a Democratic one.”

Archived article by Jennifer Chen