Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Global Zero’s Flawed Attempt at Being Relevant to America’s Young People

Posted by K.E. White on March 8, 2011

Valerie Plame pushes Global Zero, pleading for young people to jump on board with the group’s nonproliferation agenda.  A question for readers under 30:  do you spend your nights (a) wondering about how to achieve nuclear abolition, (b) your school debt/employment prospected, or (c) your next vacation destination–as funded by Mommy/Daddy dearest?

I’m guessing (b).

Writing for the Huffington Post, Valerie Plame endorses Global Zero–a group of over 300 political, faith, business, and military leaders worldwide “working for the phased, verified elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide.”  In fact, Plame–along with Jordan’s Queen Noor–will soon launch Women for Global Zero.

But I question the main thrust of her article:  her call on young people to join Global Zero’s call to action, which–coincidently–is the aim of Global Zero’s April 8-10 Global Zero D.C. Convention.  With gas hitting $4/gallon, and youth employment prospects as bright as a black hole, I’m thinking her intended audience–America’s ‘progressive’  youth–are more worried about the rent than nonproliferation.  But wait, the convention’s in DC–so with enough transportation-subsidization and swag, I’m sure they’ll get a good-sized group of whiny distinguished NYC/DC undergrads looking to score with one another.  Try holding the convention in Cleveland….actually wait:  do hold the convention in Cleveland–it’d be a welcome change of pace and, frankly, a small–but real–economic infusion to the city (that not only offers the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but a fantastic–and seldom crowded–international airport).

Don’t get me wrong, I wish Global Zero well.  But wouldn’t it be better to coalesce this movement with other groups advocating policies a bit more relevant to today’s political discourse?  How about teaming up with some liberal group for  cutting the federal budget responsibly, or even just teaming up with the well-established human rights and international justice movement.  But again, you’re not a ‘real’  group if you can’t throw your own ‘real’ convention.

Global Zero having a stand-alone convention is like me throwing my own surprise birthday party:  no matter how nice the decorations, my plead to be relevant only proves the opposite.

And it’s not like there aren’t better ways to spend the money.  How about sending accomplished speakers to graduate schools, law schools and undergraduate programs, and then link up interested young adults with opportunities to write or research on getting to global zero, diffusing other conflicts world-wide, and global development.  While there’s no big self-congratulatory party, in 5-10 years there will be a network of community leaders nationwide ready to push nonproliferation at a time when the American mind isn’t filled with fears of the double-dip, crushing debt, or Charlie Sheen’s latest antic.

But perhaps the convention will be a smash, proving to everyone–from the victims of the golden handcuffs to my hair-stylist Renee, that you’re not a zero if you’re in Global Zero.

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