Richard Butler

Richard Butler

America’s Role in the World

Learn about the relationship between foreign policy and nuclear weapons.


Ambassador Butler suggests that goodwill towards the U.S. has declined; do you think the damage is repairable?


Nuclear Weapons in Modern Society

Ambassador Butler refers to nuclear weapons as “dinosaurs” whose day is done. What role do nuclear weapons play in modern society?

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
07/07 at 08:54 PM
from New Port Richey, FL

I listened this evening to your conversation with Richard Butler.  To suggest that he’s a pompous, insufferable windbag is a potent understatement.  It’s a credit to those Penn State students who can sit through one of Butler’s lectures without some physical protection from the pre-packaged condesention hurled their way.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
07/08 at 02:08 PM
from UK

This man is inspirational and I think the more we listen tp these wise men and reflect and choose good stuff the better world we can make for ourselves and crucially for the next generation.I have learned about USA which is a country of extra-ordinary diversity and knwoledge and giant minded people through Media,newspapers and web-sites like this which gives me hope; that is it going to lead the world in a conscious and better direction as Obama has initiated.

People like this man should be listened,respected and be honoured so generations are inspired to follow wisdo not greed,equality not greed,carying about others not shying away from responsibilty and work for the betterment of humanity and cohesion between all people of differnt coulour,nationality,gender,social background,beliefe and ideals.

Freedom,democracy,transparecy and humanity are the bedrocks of all which humanity should work for and to achieve.

IT is very truse that USA can be a country which every individual on this planet can aspire to be its servant but equally it can be a country which makes many people to hate it.The remarkable difference in attitude towrads USA from other peoplelike me would be due to the actions of USA towards other countries and as the respectable speak said USA should not dictate but rather work with othr countries for the betterment of humanity all not few.

I am inspired by many americans who hae the capacity to be the best and the worst. Sureley USA can be the great country for all of us around the world to look up to for, courrage,humanity,prosperity,education and good. FOR that reason USA citizens and polaticians should never make the mistakes of the past in BUSH era and somne previous adminstration. USA is the greatest civilasation that humanity have ever know as far as my knowledge of the present and past is concerned.Though it has made blunders it still can be the country it was and I am confident it will be .

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
02/05 at 12:26 PM
from State College, Pa

Listening to Richard Butler’s take on nuclear weapons reminds me of the anti-gun lobby in the United States attempting to take guns away from responsible users and hunters, which of course leaves guns in the hands of those who would do society harm.  Mr. Butler lives in a utopian world and seems to base his strongly-held opinion that if the major powers disarm, no one else will want to acquire nuclear weapons and planet-wide rainbows will reign.  Wonderful thought, but unrealistic when dealing with humans.  The United States is strong because of its power, not in spite of it.  The likelihood of another nation attacking the United States with nuclear weapons is miniscule because of the retaliatory reaction.  Even Kim Jong-il of North Korea realizes that if he launches a nuclear weapon, he and his government will cease to exist.  As we have seen since 9/11, it isn’t a nation we need to remain vigil of.  Uniformed armies no longer face off in Europe or Asia.  Perhaps that will occur again in the future when China feels it is in a position to challenge us for world supremacy, but that’s a ways off.  There are many other weapons in the U.S. arsenal that we have never used, but probably should have to save American lives.  Ronald Reagan had it right when he coined the term, “peace through strength.”

What do you think?





Notify me of follow-up comments?

Submit the word you see below:


Is it really possible to eliminate nuclear weapons? And what will it take to renew U.S. foreign policy?

Ambassador Richard Butler, one of the leading experts with respect to nuclear arms control and disarmament, tackles these questions and more.

Download the transcript.

For a captioned version of this interview, go to YouTube.

More About Nuclear Weapons


Ambassador Richard Butler is distinguished scholar for international peace and security at Penn State’s School of International Affairs.

He is a recognized expert in nuclear arms control and disarmament and served as the United Nations’ chief arms inspector of Iraq between 1997 and 1999.


Penn State School of International Affairs


Big Ten Network

Tuesday, July 7 at 7pm
Thursday, July 9 at 4pm
Friday, July 10 at 9am


Thursday, July 9 at 9pm


Veteran interviewer Patty Satalia hosts in-depth conversations with a broad range of remarkable people.


| More