04/24/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

White House Welcome for Nuclear Disarmament

The White House rolls out the welcome mat for the nuclear abolition movement.

Sounds strange, doesn't it. But guess what?

The goal of nuclear disarmament is no longer just a dream. On the contrary, it's now official policy.

It's there on the White House website, in both the Homeland Security and Foreign Policy sections:

"Set a Goal of a Nuclear-Free World. Show the world that America believes in its existing commitment under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to work to ultimately eliminate all nuclear weapons."

A 70,000-signature petition supporting U.S. Leadership for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World was presented to the Office of Public Liaison at the White House earlier this month.

"The visit was very productive," said David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. "We communicated our hope that Presidents Obama and Medvedev would make a joint statement when they meet [in April], committing the US and Russia to actively seek a world free of nuclear weapons."

The petition, organized by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World, was supported by more than 100 organizations as well as remarkable individuals such as the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Walter Cronkite.

Times have changed dramatically.

Only a few years ago, Cold War thinking still dominated the U.S. approach to nuclear weapons. Without irony, our leaders reasoned that the threat of mutually assured destruction was the way to build world stability and indeed nuclear peace.

Now, the U.S. government's new nuclear policy has presented an historic opportunity to make the world safer. For example, U.S.-Russia talks this year may deliver significant reductions in the nuclear arsenals of both countries.

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation wants to take advantage of this dramatic change in U.S. policy. We want to use our extensive educational resources to create strong public support for the goal we share with President Obama - namely, a world without nuclear weapons.

Last year, we grew our membership from 10,000 to 23,000 in 2008. This year we want to double it again -- to 46,000.

We believe that sensible nuclear disarmament -- multi-lateral, phased, irreversible, verifiable and transparent -- is an important part of ensuring the future viability of our precious planet Earth.

Please join us here. Membership is free.

Here is the text of the petition presented to the White House on March 11, 2009.

US Leadership for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World

Nuclear weapons could destroy civilization and end intelligent life on the planet.

The only sure way to prevent nuclear proliferation, nuclear terrorism and nuclear war -- before the next blinding flash -- is to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

The era of nuclear weapons must be brought to an end. This can be done. It will require leadership and commitment. Nuclear weapons were created by humans, and it is our responsibility to eliminate them before they eliminate us.

The United States, as the world's most militarily powerful nation, must take the initiative in convening and leading the nations of the world to urgently take the following steps:

De-alert. Remove all nuclear weapons from high-alert status, separating warheads from delivery vehicles;

No First Use. Make legally binding commitments to No First Use of nuclear weapons and establish nuclear policies consistent with this commitment;

No New Nuclear Weapons. Initiate a moratorium on the research and development of new nuclear weapons, such as the Reliable Replacement Warhead;

Ban Nuclear Testing Forever. Ratify and bring into force the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;

Control Nuclear Material. Create a verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty with provisions to bring all weapons-grade nuclear material and the technologies to create such material under strict and effective international control;

Nuclear Weapons Convention. Commence good faith negotiations, as required by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention for the phased, verifiable and irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons;

Resources for Peace. Reallocate resources from the tens of billions currently spent on nuclear arms to alleviating poverty, preventing and curing disease, eliminating hunger and expanding educational opportunities throughout the world.

We call upon President Obama to make a world free of nuclear weapons an urgent priority and to assure US leadership to realize this goal.