Press the Button Celebrates 1 Year
Press the Button began as the 21st Century nuclear arms race was losing its brakes, with the ambitious goal of trying to make sense of the big military, corporate and government forces that were moving the world to the nuclear brink in real time. In April 2019, Ploughshares Fund launched Press the Button with stories the informed, non-expert would actually want to listen to. The first guest was Dr. Carol Cohn, founding director of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights.
A year later, the COVID-19 pandemic has exploded, the threat posed by nuclear weapons has grown and the last bilateral nuclear weapons treaty between the US and Russia is set to expire, but there have been positive developments as well. Although Iran freely surpasses the enrichment limits it had been voluntarily following and North Korea continues to test missiles, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has been ratified by 36 nations and will enter into legal force once 50 nations have signed. There are still plenty of stories to tell and the nuclear drama continues with new challenges and innovative solutions. So, in honor of 1 year of Press the Button, here are 5 of favorite episodes, good places to start if you are new to Press the Button, or podcasts in general. Enjoy.
And thanks for listening! If your favorite episode was left off, let us know.
In the debut episode, in April 2019, host Joe Cirincione sat down for an in-depth conversation with Dr. Carol Cohn, founding director of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights. Dr. Cohn explored the distinction between gendered ideas and gendered people – and how vulnerability is an inevitable part of the human condition. We went behind the scenes of the annual setting of the Doomsday Clock and showed how Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists brief leading members of congress on Capitol Hill. And we heard nuclear news analysis from Ploughshares Fund Program Director Michelle Dover and Roger L. Hale Fellow Catherine Killough.
Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology and the creator of NUKEMAP, an interactive map that calculates the effects of the detonation of a nuclear bomb, joined Joe Cirincione for a special interview on the history of nuclear weapons, deterrence theory, and why we never really left the 'first' nuclear age. Ploughshares Fund programs director Michelle Dover discussed nuclear weapons news with our policy director Tom Collina and special guest Caroline Dorminey, policy director at Women's Action for New Directions (WAND), including Iran's seizure of a British oil tanker, nuclear weapons spending within the context of upcoming negotiations on the US government budget and debt ceiling, and the recent passing of Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Donté Stallworth, a retired NFL wide receiver who now dedicates himself to exploring issues of national security joined Joe Cirincione for an in-depth conversation on US-Iran tensions, the Trump administration’s online attacks on private citizens, and ideas for saner nuclear policy. We heard nuclear news analysis from Ploughshares Fund deputy director of policy Mary Kaszynski and senior program officer John Carl Baker.
Daniel Ellsberg, author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, anti-war activist and former US military analyst famous for releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971, joined Joe Cirincione for a rare in-depth interview. Daniel discussed what he learned about US nuclear strategy during his time working at the RAND Corporation and the Pentagon, the use of deterrence theory to justify current nuclear arsenals, and the morality of threatening nuclear war. In nuclear news analysis we heard from Ploughshares Fund deputy director of policy Mary Kaszynski and Roger L. Hale Fellow Catherine Killough.
Beatrice Fihn of Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) joined Joe Cirincione to explore the humanitarian narrative around nuclear weapons and examine a basic belief -- that it shouldn’t be legal to wipe out an entire city. In nuclear news analysis we heard from Michelle Dover, John Carl Baker and Catherine Killough.
More About Press the Button:
Press the Button is co-hosted by defense experts Joe Cirincione and Michelle Dover of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. Production team: Delfin Vigil, Derek Zender, Zack Brown, Alex Spire and Will Lowry. You can hear Press the Button on wherever you get your podcasts. A new episode of Press the Button is available every Tuesday.