top of page


Call on your elected representatives to urge the U.S. Administration to reaffirm this declaration as a recognition of our responsibility to work together with all nuclear powers to reduce the nuclear danger.   


Call on leaders of Russia and all nuclear powers to affirm this declaration.  


The declaration made by both Reagan and Gorbachev, was embraced by all European countries in the 1980s. Today, the U.S. and Russian leaders, U.K., France, Germany, others, should reinforce the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. It would communicate that leaders today recognize their responsibility to work together to prevent a nuclear catastrophe and provide a foundation for other practical steps in The Nuclear Playbook to reduce the nuclear risk. See article by Lord Des Browne.  

In their declaration, Reagan and Gorbachev primarily had in mind a war between the U.S. and Russia, which at the time had 60,000 nuclear weapons.  A full-scale nuclear war between the two countries, then and now (the two countries now have “only” 14,000 nuclear weapons), would cloak the Earth in a deadly nuclear winter, bringing nuclear famine and accelerate the “Sixth Extinction” to a level comparable to the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs.  


But even a “small” nuclear war, say between India and Pakistan, or a nuclear war anywhere in the world using as few as 100 nuclear weapons would, according to some experts, disrupt the global climate and agricultural production so severely that it would kill more than two billion people.


Those who believe that the U.S. can use low-yield small nuclear weapons against another nuclear power like Russia or China are taking massive risks for all of humanity. The probability of escalation to a larger nuclear war is so high that the use of “small” nukes, or contemplation of any “small” nuclear war, must not be part of any responsible nuclear policy.


The declaration that a nuclear war “cannot be won and must never be fought,” some might say, is “simply words,” but it is a statement of intent that played a major role in the 1980s to galvanize political will to take the steps toward drastic arms reductions and greater security.  Such a declaration can play the same role today. It must be accompanied by steps to move away from a nuclear war-fighting posture. Such a declaration does become meaningless if we are still threatening, preparing for, and risking a nuclear war.  A war between the U.S. and Russia cannot be won.  But it also should not be threatened, or prepared for, or risked. The U.S. and Russia continue to threaten, prepare for and risk a civilization-ending nuclear war. A declaration that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought is a major step to rebuild trust as we take concrete steps to move away from the current war-fighting policy.


bottom of page