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Robert Dodge

Social Philosopher
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Robert Dodge is a family physician practicing full time in Ventura, California.

Dr. Dodge received his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Colorado and his Doctorate of Medicine from University of California-Irvine in 1978.

His family practice internship and residency were completed at Ventura County Medical Center. Dr. Dodge is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Practice. He has been the President of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Ventura County Chapter since 1987.

Dr. Dodge is affiliated with Community Memorial Hospital and Ventura County Medical Center.

He is the president of Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles serving as a Peace and Security Ambassador and at the national level he is co-chairman of Physicians for Social Responsibility National Security Committee. He also serves on the board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions. He writes for PeaceVoice.

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Robert Dodge, USA 02/15/2018 0

With Trump’s Nuclear Doctrine the Cold War Resumes

While elected officials of our increasingly dysfunctional democracy debated “memogate”, the world became more dangerous as Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review was officially released on Friday. Ignoring scientific studies of the past decade and growing global sentiment by the world’s non-nuclear states to abolish nuclear weapons, with this announcement the new arms race begins and the Cold War resumes.

Scientific studies have demonstrated the potential catastrophic global environmental effects following a limited regional nuclear war, using just 100 Hiroshima size weapons that would potentially kill 2 billion people. This new Doctrine proposes the development of two new generations of nuclear weapons including “low-yield nukes”, Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM) and the long-term development of Submarine Launched Cruise Missiles (SLCM). These “low-yield nukes” are 20 kiloton or the larger Nagasaki size bombs that killed more than 70 thousand people. Seemingly ignoring the fact that nuclear weapons are nuclear weapons regardless of size with the same horrific initial devastation and radioactive fallout, these weapons are proposed to demonstrate America’s resolve in deterring nuclear attack.

In fact this circular argument of smaller nuclear weapons being a greater deterrence actually increases the likelihood of their use. This further promotes the mythology of deterrence which actually drives all nine nuclear states to follow suit. Coupled with the Trump Doctrine’s new non-nuclear circumstances under which nuclear attack would be launched, such as certain cyberattacks, the risk of nuclear war is only increased.  These proposals only increase the role of nuclear weapons in our defense policy. This fact was also acknowledged in the recent Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ movement of their nuclear Doomsday clock to two minutes till midnight, the closest since World War II.

Unless we reject this reckless Trump Doctrine and the false notion that nuclear weapons make us safe we ALL become complicit with Trump and therefore support his vision of a future with greater conflict with an even greater risk of nuclear war. In that world luck becomes our principle security policy.

This is a reality that does not have to be. This reckless Doctrine which breaches the United States obligation to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, requires congressional funding. Estimates place additional funds up to $50 billion per year over the next 20 years for the new arms race. We must demand that these funds that would be taken from the pressing needs of our nation such as healthcare, education and infrastructure not be spent on these suicidal weapons.

We must demand this change now. Each of us has a role to play. We can encourage our communities, legislatures and cities to endorse the multi organization “Back From the Brink: A Call to Prevent Nuclear War Resolution” that is spreading across our nation. We can also make sure that our money is not going to support institutions and companies that build, develop and fund nuclear weapons by divesting using the Don’t Bank On The Bomb website.

We must celebrate those nations that have been working to ratify and bring forth the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and celebrate the day when their efforts will have eliminated nuclear weapons entirely. The choice is ours. Silence implies consent.

Top photo: “We must demand that these funds that would be taken from the pressing needs of our nation such as healthcare, education and infrastructure not be spent on these suicidal weapons.”(Photo: Melissa K. Elliott/flickr/cc)

By Common Dreams

Robert Dodge, USA 02/09/2018 0

Approaching the Apocalypse, the Doomsday Clock Moves Forward

 Midnight represents nuclear apocalypse. The Clock is recognized around the world as an indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies. Each year the decision to move the Clock forward, backward, or not at all, is determined by the Bulletins Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors which includes 15 Nobel Laureates.

In making this year’s move to two minutes till midnight, the Bulletin stated that “in 2017, world leaders failed to respond effectively to the looming threat of nuclear war and climate change, making the world’s security situation more dangerous than it was a year ago-and as dangerous as it has been since World War II.”

In recent years the Bulletin has added climate change to nuclear weapons as a major risk of global conflict. This year the greatest threat remained that of nuclear conflict with the ongoing North Korea crisis featuring dangerous rhetoric and actions coming from both sides. World experts have made their assessments; leadership in the US and North Korea have now radically elevated the risk of nuclear war either by accident or miscalculation.

Coupled with deteriorating relationships between the world’s nuclear powers, with US and Russian relations at the lowest point in decades and rising tensions between the US and China, all while the United States plans to rebuild its nuclear arsenal—prompting all of the other nations to follow suit. The situation is further undermined from a diplomatic standpoint by an understaffed and demoralized US State Department and thus the Clock ticks forward.

The Board stated, “To call the world nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger—and its immediacy.”

It was also emphasized that this urgent warning of global danger described a future that did not have to be, but in order to change demanded action now from the citizens of the world. We have the ability and now the legal framework with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to abolish nuclear weapons, just as we have the ability to address climate change.

What is necessary is the political will for change arising from the people across the country and the globe demanding this action now.

At this year’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the leader of the recipient, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Beatrice Fihn, said regarding abolishing nuclear weapons, “those who say that future is not possible need to get out of the way of those making it a reality.”

It’s time, possibly our final chance, to abolish nuclear weapons. It’s two minutes till midnight.

Robert Dodge, USA 12/18/2017 0

The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN: Saving Humanity from Itself

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear (ICAN) acknowledges these realities and celebrates the efforts to achieve the latter.

From the beginning of the nuclear age after the inception of the Nobel Peace Prize with its award criteria specifying: the promotion of fraternity between nations, the advancement of disarmament and arms control and the holding and promotion of peace congresses, to the founding of the United Nations, 71 years ago, with its very first resolution, advocating for the importance of nuclear disarmament and a nuclear weapon-free world, nuclear abolition has been the necessary goal for our survival. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) exemplifies these ideals and brings hope to our world.

In a world armed with approximately 15,000 nuclear weapons, everything that we cherish and value is threatened every moment of every day. From a limited nuclear war to all out nuclear war between “superpowers” our future is hanging in the balance. Whether by intent, miscalculation or accident, never before has the world been closer to nuclear war. From the setting of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock in January of this year to 2 ½ minutes till midnight, where midnight represents Armageddon from nuclear war and the relationship to climate change, to the dangerous rhetoric between our president and North Korea, China and Russia resulting in the worst relations between nuclear powers in decades, we face great peril. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize acknowledges the grave humanitarian consequences of nuclear war. A threat for which there is no adequate humanitarian or medical response and whose only solution is prevention through the total abolition of these weapons.

This is the path chosen by the majority of the nations of the world on July 7 when they voted 122-1 to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Unwilling to remain forever hostage to the arsenals of the nuclear armed states, these nations, with the strong support of civil society, called for the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons.

ICAN is a coalition of 468 non-governmental organizations from 101 countries around the globe. The coalition has been a driving force in prevailing upon the world’s nations to pledge to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders in efforts to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. To date, 127 states have made such a commitment, known as the Humanitarian Pledge that ultimately led up to this year’s U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This Treaty will ban nuclear weapons just as every other weapon of mass destruction has previously been banned. The Treaty opened for signature on September 21, the International Day of Peace. As soon as the Treaty has been ratified by 50 Nations, the ban on nuclear weapons will enter into force and will be binding under international law for all the countries that are party to the treaty.

Paradoxically, five of the states that currently have nuclear weapons – the USA, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China – have already committed to the objective of abolishing nuclear weapons through their accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1970. While the Non-Proliferation Treaty will remain the primary international legal instrument for promoting nuclear disarmament and preventing the further spread of such weapons, it has until this time lacked the legal status of declaring these weapons illegal. And therefore, following the lead of the United States, a new arms race costing in excess of $1.2 trillion dollars to the U.S. is under way.

This nuclear hypocrisy must stop. These expenditures rob future generations of the necessary resources required to address desperate human needs around the planet resulting in more conflict. We risk realizing Albert Einstein’s prophetic words: “With the unleashed power of the atom, we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe unless we change our mode of thinking”. Ultimately, we will see the end of nuclear weapons. Either through adherence to international law and their abolition or through their use and the end of humanity. The choice is ours.

The Nobel Committee has joined the peoples and nations of the world in calling on and demanding the nuclear armed states to begin the serious negotiations toward the complete elimination of these weapons. The time is now and this Nobel Peace Prize highlights these efforts and brings new hope and determination to this call. Each of us has a role to play in bringing forth this reality and must demand that our nation sign the Treaty and abolish nuclear weapons.

By Smirkingchimp

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Robert Dodge, USA 10/05/2017 0

Slaying the Atomic Dragon: In Favor of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Today, September 26, is the International Day for the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons.

This day, first proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013, draws attention to the international commitment to global nuclear disarmament by the majority of the world’s nations as expressed in Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It also highlights the lack of progress by the nine nuclear nations who hold the rest of the world hostage with their nuclear arsenals.

Albert Einstein said in 1946, “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our mode of thinking and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”

This drift has perhaps never been more perilous than at the present time. With careless rhetoric of threatened use of nuclear weapons, fire and fury, and total destruction of other nations, the world has recognized that there are no right hands to be on the nuclear button. Total abolition of nuclear weapons is the only response.

Global nuclear disarmament has been a goal of the United Nations since its inception in 1945. With the passage of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970, the world’s nuclear nations committed to work in “good faith” eliminate all nuclear weapons. The NPT treaty which is been a cornerstone of nuclear disarmament lacked the legal framework to achieve this goal. This reality in a world with 15,000 nuclear weapons coupled with the recognition of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences if nuclear weapons are ever used again has coalesced a global movement of civil society, indigenous peoples, victims of atomic attacks and testing, in a global campaign focused on the unacceptability of the existence and use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.

This multi-year process has resulted in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which was adopted at the United Nations on July 7, 2017 and provides the legal framework necessary to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons.

At the opening day of the UN General Assembly last week on September 20, the Treaty was opened for signature. There have now been 53 nations who have signed the Treaty, and three who have ratified the Treaty. When 50 nations have finally ratified or formally adopted the Treaty it will go into force 90 days thereafter thus making nuclear weapons illegal to possess, stockpile, use or threaten to use, test, develop or transfer, just as all other weapons of mass destruction have been.

The world has spoken and the momentum toward complete nuclear abolition has shifted. The process is unstoppable. Each of us and our nation has a role to play in bringing forth this reality. Each of us must ask what is our role in this effort.