Stop the arms race to the bottom!
Stop the arms race to the bottom!
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Countries must negotiate a joint reduction of their military spending and use the immense resources liberated to address humanity's most urgent threats: climate change, pandemics, and extreme poverty.
Eisenhower led one of the largest military operations in human history, but he understood that humanity cannot be safe in a world that keeps filling up with arms. Today, with the war raging in Ukraine, governments are once again rushing to hike military budgets.
More weapons for war isn't the solution—it's the problem. Global military spending has doubled since 2000. We produce 14 billion ammunition rounds each year, two bullets for every human. About 4,000 nuclear warheads could launch with the press of a button, each capable of causing destruction far beyond the Hiroshima and Nagasaki massacres.
It seems logical to invest in defence to deter foreign aggression. But it isn’t working, because it can’t: the more one country spends on its defence, the more its adversaries spend in response. The result is not peace and stability, but a global arms race that drains the world's resources and threatens our common security.
Meanwhile, half of humanity lives under the direct threat of climate change, the frequency of natural disasters is increasing, and dozens of species go extinct each day. COVID-19 has killed over ten million people, and the future will bring even more severe pandemics. Extreme poverty continues to blight the lives of children across the world.
There is a way to both assure peace and address these urgent issues: a negotiated reduction in military spending that redirects resources to urgent needs. We ask that countries jointly reduce their military budgets by just 2% per year for 5 years. This sounds modest, but it is game-changing: the money saved would exceed $1 trillion—more than total climate finance and total foreign aid combined during this period, at no additional cost to any nation, and without upsetting the balance of power.
It isn’t utopian to think that countries would agree to such a treaty. By the end of the Cold War, the USA and Russia negotiated a 90% reduction of their nuclear arsenal. Whatever their differences, they succeeded because demilitarization was in their mutual interest. You don’t have to be friends to cooperate.
Of course, the arms industry won’t be happy about a reduction in military spending, however small it might be. It will fight back. But if we, the people of the world, come together and demand an end to the global arms race, nothing can stop us.
Where you come in
We have rallied high-profile supporters and generated interest in the media. But our voice needs to get much louder. And that's where you come in: don't just sign—get at least two other people to sign as well. Talk about the petition to your colleagues at the coffee machine, to your family members over dinner, to your friends in group chats, and on social media. If each of us manages to convince just two more people to sign, we will quickly reach millions of signatures, and our voice will be heard.
This appeal has been signed by
55 Nobel laureates
His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Peace); Hiroshi Amano (Physics); Peter Agre (Chemistry); David Baltimore (Physiology or Medicine); Barry C. Barish (Physics); Martin L. Chalfie (Chemistry); Steven Chu (Physics and Former US Secretary of Energy); Robert F. Curl Jr. (Chemistry); Johann Deisenhofer (Chemistry); Jacques Dubochet (Chemistry); Gerhard Ertl (Chemistry); Joachim Frank (Chemistry); Sir Andre K. Geim (Physics); Sheldon L. Glashow (Physics); Carol Greider (Physiology or Medicine); Harald zur Hausen (Physiology or Medicine); Dudley R. Herschbach (Chemistry); Avram Hershko (Chemistry); Roald Hoffmann (Chemistry); Robert Huber (Chemistry); Louis J. Ignarro (Physiology or Medicine); Brian Josephson (Physics); Takaaki Kajita (Physics); Tawakkol Karman (Peace); Brian K. Kobilka (Chemistry); Roger D. Kornberg (Chemistry); Yuan T. Lee (Chemistry); Jean-Marie Lehn (Chemistry); John C. Mather (Physics); Eric S. Maskin (Economics); May-Britt Moser (Physiology or Medicine); Edvard I. Moser (Physiology or Medicine); Erwin Neher (Physiology or Medicine); Sir Paul Nurse (Physiology or Medicine and Former President, Royal Society); Giorgio Parisi (Physics); James E. Peebles (Physics); Sir Roger Penrose (Physics); Edmund S. Phelps (Economics); John C. Polanyi (Chemistry); H. David Politzer (Physics); Sir Venki Ramakrishnan (Chemistry and Former President, Royal Society); Sir Peter Ratcliffe (Physiology or Medicine); Sir Richard J. Roberts (Physiology or Medicine); Michael Rosbash (Physiology or Medicine); Carlo Rubbia (Physics); Randy W. Schekman (Physiology or Medicine); Gregg Semenza (Physiology or Medicine); Robert J. Shiller (Economics); Sir Fraser Stoddart (Chemistry); Horst L. Störmer (Physics); Thomas C. Südhof (Physiology or Medicine); Jack W. Szostak (Physiology or Medicine); Olga Tokarczuk (Literature); Sir John E. Walker (Chemistry); Torsten Wiesel (Medicine)
Presidents of Academies of Sciences
Roberto Antonelli (Italian Lincean Academy); Patrick Flandrin (French Academy of Sciences); Mohamed H. A. Hassan (World Academy of Sciences); Annibale Mottana (Italian National Academy of the Sciences); Anton Zeilinger (Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Artists, authors, creators
Sir Anish Kapoor (Sculptor); Juliette Binoche (Actress); Yuval Noah Harari (Historian and author); Chris Haughton (Designer and author); Sir Paul McCartney (Singer and songwriter); Adam McKay (Filmmaker); Christoph Niemann (Artist, illustrator and author); Steven A. Pinker (Cognitive scientist and author); Malaika Vaz (National Geographic Explorer and filmmaker)
Political and NGO leaders
Colin Archer (Former Secretary-General of the International Peace Bureau); Alejandro Plans Beriso (National Spokesperson, Por un Mundo Mas Justo); May Boeve (Executive Director, 350.org); Natalie Bennett (Member of the House of Lords and ex-Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales); Rachel Bronson (President, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists); Deborah Burton (Co-Founder, Tipping Point North South); Joseph Cirincione (Former President, Ploughshares Fund); Nicole Deitelhoff (Director, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt); Daniela Fatarella (CEO, Save the Children Italy); Beatrice Fihn (Executive Director, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons); Philip Jennings (Co-President, International Peace Bureau); Johanna Chao Kreilick (President, Union of Concerned Scientists); Zia Mian (Co-Director, Princeton University's Program on Science and Global Security); Nancy Parrish (Executive Director, Women's Action for New Directions); Garett Reppenhagen (Executive Director, Veterans for Peace); David Swanson (Executive Director, World Beyond War); Yoshioka Tatsuya (Director, Peace Boat); John F. Tierney (Executive Director, Council for a Livable World and former U.S. Representative); Hirotsugu Terasaki (Director General of Peace and Global Issues, Soka Gakkai International); Francesco Vignarca (National Coordinator, Rete Italiana per il Disarmo); Angelika Wilmen (Head of Office, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Germany)