Last Thursday, the United Nations’ member states took a positive step toward perhaps saving the world. It voted for the first time to begin talks on a nuclear-weapons-ban treaty — a first step to quell the New Cold War that’s getting hotter. Yes, discussing a ban for the first time since the UN’s forming 71 years ago. Making history.
We should say, 123 member states made positive history, voting to begin talks in March 2017. Another 38 countries – including major nuclear-weapons powers such as the United States, Russia, Israel, France and the United Kingdom – voted no, continuing their making negative history.
We’ve been expressing concern about the New Cold War and increasing tensions for a while, including our column “Nukebuild: This Will Not End Well”, which includes information on the U.S. $1 trillion, 30-year rebuilding of its nuclear-weapons arsenal, going on now. It has caused both Russia and China to ramp up their nuclear weapons. Great for the nuclear-weapons industry. Great for the Millionaire Congress that supports it. Not great for us.
Why is U.S. opposing nuclear-weapons ban?
The Obama Administration was in fierce opposition. It lobbied all nations, particularly its allies, to vote no. ‘How can a state that relies on nuclear weapons for its security possibly join a negotiation meant to stigmatize and eliminate them?’ argued Ambassador Robert Wood, the US special representative to the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, ‘The ban treaty runs the risk of undermining regional security.’
The US opposition is a profound mistake. Ambassador Wood is a career foreign service officer and a good man who has worked hard for our country. But this position is indefensible.
Every president since Harry Truman has sought the elimination of nuclear weapons.
That, of course, includes President Obama, who early in his administration won a later-undeserved Nobel Peace Prize for efforts with Russia to reduce nuclear warheads. Obama even recently preached against nuclear war on a visit to Hiroshima. But politicians, of course, are known for talking out both sides of their mouths. And speaking against nuclear war is not nearly as meaningful as actively pushing us toward nuclear war.
And the United States seems set on doing that through three recent simultaneous activities: (1) the US-led NATO aggression toward Russia’s borders; (2) Obama’s “Asian Pivot” in an effort to militarily control the Pacific and surround Eurasia; and (3) efforts to place THAAD missiles in South Korea, which both Russia and China have called a threat to their security.
Meanwhile, as Washington leads us back into the cycle of the old Cold War’s Mutual-Assured Destruction (MAD) policies, a large majority of other nations in the U.N. are trying to pull us away from self-destruction.
How You Can Take Action
Ironically or not, the day before the UN vote, an international legislative group released a potentially vital booklet offering an action plan to ban nuclear weapons: “Time to Move the Nuclear Weapons Money: A Handbook for Civil Society and Legislators.” Potentially vital because the group consists of nations’ legislators, those who fund defense policies. They call themselves Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), and add to their title the action line, “Engaging legislators worldwide in steps towards nuclear disarmament.”
PNND launched the handbook at the 135th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, (IPU) an organization of 170 member parliaments from around the world. The group is debating the issue of military spending versus Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), policies approved last year at the major climate conference in Paris. The PNND website quoted IPU’s president:
‘Over $100 billion is spent annually on nuclear weapons — funds that are sorely needed to meet the SDGs,’ says Saber Chowdhury, IPU President. ‘Parliamentarians have a key role to play in setting budgets, developing policy and providing oversight on government investments. This handbook provides a guide for effective parliamentary action to invest in peace and sustainability rather than on maintaining the threat of nuclear war.’
A bit of a different view, eh, than US Ambassador Wood?
One section you might find particularly valuable in the handbook: “How to Engage with Legislators.” Peculiar Progressive has insisted for years that, if you want to create change, you can’t do it alone. You’ll need to get organized, get educated and get active. This handbook should help you do that, if you want to remove the nuclear-weapons threat for you and your children.