Stepping Back from the Brink: The Cuban Missile Crisis and Lessons for Today

We are now 60 years away from the Cuban Missile Crisis. The October 1962 confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union over Soviet nuclear missiles stationed in Cuba was a moment when the world came perilously close to nuclear war. The episode’s extraordinary danger has understandably made the crisis the subject of much … Continue reading Stepping Back from the Brink: The Cuban Missile Crisis and Lessons for Today

“Sacrificed in the Name of Global Power”: How US Nuclear Policy Harmed Native American Nations

The lethal effects of nuclear weapons in wartime are well known. What is less appreciated is how nuclear weapons can kill and hurt people in other ways, through their production, their testing, and the waste they create. The United States’ creation of its vast nuclear weapons arsenal has harmed many beyond the tens of thousands … Continue reading “Sacrificed in the Name of Global Power”: How US Nuclear Policy Harmed Native American Nations

Fallout at Home Base: Nuclear Testing within the United States

The United States conducted the world’s first test of a nuclear weapon in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.[1] The test was followed in August by the use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although the wartime use of nuclear weapons has mercifully never been repeated since 1945, nuclear testing was repeated. From the … Continue reading Fallout at Home Base: Nuclear Testing within the United States

Unholy Trinity: The Terrible Consequences of the First Nuclear Test

The nuclear age officially began when the United States conducted the first atomic bomb test in New Mexico on July 16, 1945. On that day, years of work by civilian and military personnel involved in the Manhattan Project culminated in the use of the most destructive weapon in history. While overshadowed by the wartime use … Continue reading Unholy Trinity: The Terrible Consequences of the First Nuclear Test

“An Inferno That Even the Mind of Dante Could Not Envision”: Martin Luther King on Nuclear Weapons

Although Martin Luther King is most famous for championing racial and economic justice and nonviolent protest, an aspect of King’s thought that has received relatively less attention is his opposition to the ultimate tools of violence, nuclear weapons. Historian Vincent Intondi, in his work African Americans against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black … Continue reading “An Inferno That Even the Mind of Dante Could Not Envision”: Martin Luther King on Nuclear Weapons

Racial Discrimination and Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Navajo’s Struggle against Uranium Mining

A long struggle against injustice took a new turn this fall when a group of Navajo activists moved forward with an appeal to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The New Mexico-based activists are trying to stop the Canadian company Laramide Resources, and its US subsidiary NuFuels, from mining for uranium on Navajo Nation land.[1] … Continue reading Racial Discrimination and Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Navajo’s Struggle against Uranium Mining

The Forgotten War: The Libyan War and Its Legacy

Of the 21st century wars waged by the United States, the Libya War is perhaps the most forgotten one. The 2011 war waged by the United States, France, Britain, and other nations to overthrow the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi lasted only about seven months, in contrast to the years of US involvement in … Continue reading The Forgotten War: The Libyan War and Its Legacy

Hard Questions about the Response to Terrorism: Looking Back on September 11th

Andrew Young, the civil rights activist, politician, and diplomat, was present in Selma, Alabama, during the “Bloody Sunday” violence of March 7, 1965. When hundreds of Black Americans and others tried to march for voting rights only to be beaten and tear-gassed by Alabama state troopers, Young helped the wounded and others retreating from the … Continue reading Hard Questions about the Response to Terrorism: Looking Back on September 11th

People Standing against Tanks: The Civil Resistance of August 1991 and Its Ambiguous Legacy

Nonviolent civil resistance helped change history 30 years ago this August. When a group of hardline Communists within the Soviet Union attempted a coup in August 1991, they were met with significant resistance from other Soviet citizens, including both ordinary people and elites. The civil resisters ultimately prevailed over the coup plotters. The failed coup … Continue reading People Standing against Tanks: The Civil Resistance of August 1991 and Its Ambiguous Legacy

No Combat Experience, No Opinion: Parallels in Pro-bombing and Pro-choice Rhetoric

Paul Fussell, a literary critic and World War II veteran, wrote an essay in the 1980s with the arresting title “Thank God for the Atom Bomb.”[1] A passionate defense of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Fussell’s essay is still sometimes invoked today by bombing supporters.[2] However, Fussell’s argument is seriously flawed—and notably … Continue reading No Combat Experience, No Opinion: Parallels in Pro-bombing and Pro-choice Rhetoric