According to a recent article by David Krieger of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation entitled, “The High Costs of Nuclear Arsenals,” U.S. expenditures on nuclear weapons from 1970 to 2005 cost $7.5 trillion. Kreiger said, “Today the figure is approaching $8 trillion, and that amount is for the U.S. alone.”
Krieger reveals the shocking fact that the U.S. and 9 nuclear nations together spend $105 billion yearly on nuclear arsenals and delivery systems. Of that $105 billion spent on nuclear weapons, the U.S. spends 60% of the amount or approximately $60-63 Billion dollars. Annually, the U.S. spends more on nuclear weapons than 8 other nuclear countries combined!
The most important part of the nuclear related budget is the money spent on safely dismantling nuclear weapons and preventing proliferation of nuclear grade materials. However, over the past few years, that necessary expenditure has decreased. Krieger states in his article:
“The one place the US is saving money on its nuclear weapons is where it should be spending the most, and that is on the dismantlement of the retired weapons. The amount that the US spends on dismantlement of its nuclear weapons has dropped significantly under the Obama administration from $186 million in 2009 to $96 million in 2010 to $58 million in 2011. In the 1990s the US dismantled more than 1,000 nuclear weapons annually. We dismantled 648 weapons in 2008 and only 260 in 2010.”
Human Security vs. Nuclear Nightmare
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – UN – M8
The above song about Millennium Goals was performed by students and staff at the John Muir Middle School in California.
The eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals for ending poverty can be achieved by 2015 if we spend $40 to $60 billion annually according to the World Bank:
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Goal 3: Promote gender quality and empower women
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Goal 7: Ensure environment sustainability
Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development
Let’s Get Our Priorities Straight
Human security is more important than building nuclear weapons. What would it take for the U.S. and the world community to refocus its spending efforts on achieving the UN Goals for alleviating poverty instead of amassing nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction?
Isn’t it ridiculous that we have the tools to achieve the eradication of poverty and to increase the quality of life for all humanity yet wealthy nations continue to spend massive amounts of funds on weapons that could destroy all life on this beautiful planet?
The song sung by the young students of John Muir Middle School are encouraging all of us to recognize that we can make a difference and achieve the eradication of poverty. It’s a matter of where we focus our priorities, energy and money.