On Sunday, the New York Times featured a distressing front page story about North Korea’s nuclear activities and the changing landscape of how neighboring countries are reviewing their own nuclear capabilities. Countries, such as South Korea, Japan and Australia, that for years have avoided developing nuclear weapons, are now reconsidering. Does it make sense for them to be nuclear-free if other countries are arming themselves? Polls in South Korea show 60% of the population favoring building nuclear weapons. North Korea’s aggressive developments and Donald Trump’s combative tone have added to this atmosphere of fear.
This is alarming news. Now, more than ever, we need to stay informed and educated. Two upcoming events—a large-scale conference and the other a lunchtime discussion—can help us think through this complex issue. On Saturday, November 4, there will be a full-day program at Harvard University: Presidential First Use of Nuclear Weapons: Is It Legal? Is It Constitutional? Is It Just? Speakers include Bruce Blair, Sissela Bok, Rosa Brooks, and US State Representative Jim McGovern. Students can attend at no charge and general admission is $0-20, depending on ability to pay. This all-day conference is being sponsored by Mass Peace Action, the Mahindra Humanities Center and the Office of the Dean of Arts and Humanities, Harvard University. For registration, please go to the Mass Peace Action website.
On Monday, a more intimate and equally important lunch discussion will take place. The 12Noon lunch in Room 5-232, hosted by MIT Students for Nuclear Arms Control (MIT SNAC), is an opportunity for the MIT community, particularly students, to gather, learn and share information. MIT SNAC is a student group focused on discussing nuclear weapons issues and educating the MIT community on nuclear weapons. A further objective of the group is to separate nuclear weapons from nuclear energy to help de-stigmatize nuclear energy. For more information about the lunch, please email Jacob Miske at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.