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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Arms Control Association member talks nuclear arms during World Affairs Council lecture

Arms Control Association member talks nuclear arms during World Affairs Council lecture

Nuclear arms and international relations were the topics of discussion for the fourth week of the World Affairs Council lecture series that took place Tuesday, Feb. 26 at noon.

Kelsey Davenport of the Arms Control Association led the virtual lecture, while a full classroom of students and community members from Jamrich room 1320 participated in the event.

Davenport began her talk by explaining the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Many think the NPT “does not face any serious threats,” being one of the most successful treaties in international law by helping to de-escalate the nuclear arms race, Davenport said.

“Without question, the United States has been very critical in driving these successes in the NPT,” Davenport said.

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Past U.S. presidents of both major political parties from Lyndon B. Johnson to Barack Obama engaged in negotiations to limit nuclear risk, Davenport said. However, this bipartisan value is being challenged by the Trump Administration, she said. The severity of these policy decisions are not such that the next president will simply be able to reverse and put the United States back to the pre-Trump era bipartisan consensus on arms control, Davenport said.

“What we’re actually seeing is a much more fundamental shift that’s having ripple effects throughout the international community and again threatening those foundations,” Davenport said.

Davenport said there is a questionable lack of commitment to arms control by the five established nuclear weapons states: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States.

“This is particularly visible in how the United States is approaching arms control treaties,” Davenport said, referencing Trump pulling out of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty, which called for the destruction of nuclear-armed ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between about 300 to 3,400 miles and their infrastructure.

The United States is taking problematic steps like this, which negatively affect its international relations, Davenport said. The beginning of the expansion of nuclear arms increases the likelihood for a nuclear arms race between the United States and Russia, and also increases the likelihood for nuclear war, she added.

The widening of the scenarios under which the United States may use nuclear weapons, which is paired with the ambiguity under which Russia would use nuclear weapons does not bode well, Davenport said.

“This really is quite concerning,” she said.

With all of these conflicts, it is clear that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Arms Control architecture is in jeopardy.
The United States needs to look to the past to how to approach arms control in the future, Davenport said.

“The principal threat today is not deriving from the number of nuclear weapons, but rather the types of nuclear weapons that are being developed, the new nuclear systems and the relaxation in doctrine that make these systems more likely to be used,” Davenport said.

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