Skip to content
CityLab
Government

The Fight for Nuclear Deterrence Goes Local

Some cities and states are taking their own initiative to protect the world from a U.S. trigger finger. And they’re mostly led by women.
relates to The Fight for Nuclear Deterrence Goes Local
Madison McVeigh/CityLab

Dropping an atomic bomb doesn’t happen as fast as it does in the movies. There’s no room with a red, shiny “nuclear button” primed for the pressing. But in the U.S., launching a nuclear weapon does depend on just one trigger finger: The President’s.

Peace builders, activists, and congressional leaders have tried unsuccessfully to take away this unilateral ability since the Cold War, when nuclear war with Russia felt imminent daily. Now, the threat looms again, as tensions between North Korea and the U.S. simmer—and a new group of local legislators are taking the lead.