FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

10 Reaons to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

by DAVID KRIEGER

1. Fulfill Existing Obligations. The nuclear weapons states have made solemn promises to the international community to negotiate in good faith to achieve nuclear disarmament. The United States, Russia, Britain, France and China accepted this obligation when they signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and extended their promises at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference and again at the 2000 NPT Review Conference. India and Pakistan, which are not signatories of the NPT, have committed themselves to abolish their nuclear arsenals if the other nuclear weapons states agree to do so. The only nuclear weapons state that has not made this promise is Israel, and surely it could be convinced to do so if the other nuclear weapons states agreed to the elimination of their nuclear arsenals. The International Court of Justice, the world’s highest court, unanimously highlighted the obligation to nuclear disarmament in its 1996 Opinion: “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.” This means an obligation to reduce the world’s nuclear arsenals to zero.

2. Stop Nuclear Weapons Proliferation. The failure of nuclear weapons states to act to eliminate their nuclear arsenals will likely result in the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other nations. If nuclear weapons states continue to maintain the position that nuclear weapons preserve their security, it is only reasonable that other nations with less powerful military forces, such as North Korea, will decide that their security should also be maintained by nuclear arsenals. Without substantial progress toward nuclear disarmament, the Non-Proliferation Treaty will be in jeopardy when the parties to the treaty meet for the NPT Review Conference in the year 2005.

3. Prevent Nuclear Terrorism. The very existence of nuclear weapons and their production endanger our safety because they are susceptible to terrorist exploitation. Nuclear weapons and production sites all over the world are vulnerable to terrorist attack or to theft of weapons or weapons-grade materials. Russia, due to the breakup of the former Soviet Union, has a weakened command and control system, making their substantial arsenal especially vulnerable to terrorists. In addition, nuclear weapons are not helpful in defending against or responding to terrorism because nuclear weapons cannot target a group that is unlocatable.

4. Avoid Nuclear Accidents. The risk of accidental war through miscommunication, miscalculation or malfunction is especially dangerous given the thousands of nuclear warheads deployed and on high alert status. Given the short time periods available in which to make decisions about whether or not a state is under nuclear attack, and whether to launch a retaliatory response, the risk of miscalculation is high. In addition, the breakup of the former Soviet Union has weakened Russia’s early warning system, since many parts of this system were located outside of Russia, and this increases the likelihood of a nuclear accident.

5. Cease the Immorality of Threatening Mass Murder. It is highly immoral to base the security of a nation on the threat to destroy cities and potentially murder millions of people. This immoral policy is named nuclear deterrence, and it is relied upon by all nuclear weapons states. Nuclear deterrence is a dangerous policy. Its implementation places humanity and most forms of life in jeopardy of annihilation.

6. Reverse the Concentration of Power. Nuclear weapons undermine democracy by giving a few individuals the power to destroy the world as we know it. No one should have this much power. If these individuals make a mistake or misjudgment, everyone in the world will pay for it.

7. Promote Democratic Openness. Decisions about nuclear weapons have been made largely in secrecy with little involvement from the public. In the United States, for example, nuclear weapons policy is set forth in highly classified documents, which are not made available to the public and come to public attention only by leaks. On this most important of all issues facing humanity, there is no informed consent of the people.

8. Halt the Drain on Resources. Nuclear weapons have drained resources, including scientific resources, from other more productive uses. A 1998 study by the Brookings Institution found that the United States alone had spent more than $5.5 trillion on nuclear weapons programs between 1940 and 1996. The United States continues to spend some $25-$35 billion annually on research, development and maintenance of its nuclear arsenal. All of these misspent resources represent lost opportunities for improving the health, education and welfare of the people of the world.

9. Heed Warnings by Distinguished Leaders. Distinguished leaders throughout the world, including generals, admirals, heads of state and government, scientists and Nobel Peace Laureates, have warned of the dangers inherent in relying upon nuclear weapons for security. These warnings have gone unheeded by the leaders of nuclear weapons states.

10. Meet Our Responsibility. We each have a responsibility to our children, grandchildren and future generations to end the threat that nuclear weapons pose to humanity and all life. This is a responsibility unique in human history. If we do not accept responsibility to speak out and act for a world free of nuclear weapons, who will?

DAVID KRIEGER is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He is the editor of Hope in a Dark Time (Capra Press, 2003), and author of Choose Hope, Your Role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age (Middleway Press, 2002). He can be contacted at dkrieger@napf.org.

 

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org). 

More articles by:
June 30, 2016
Richard Moser
Clinton and Trump, Fear and Fascism
Pepe Escobar
The Three Harpies are Back!
Ramzy Baroud
Searching for a ‘Responsible Adult’: ‘Is Brexit Good for Israel?’
Dave Lindorff
What is Bernie Up To?
Thomas Barker
Saving Labour From Blairism: the Dangers of Confining the Debate to Existing Members
Jan Oberg
Why is NATO So Irrational Today?
John Stauber
The Debate We Need: Gary Johnson vs Jill Stein
Steve Horn
Obama Administration Approved Over 1,500 Offshore Fracking Permits
Rob Hager
Supreme Court Legalizes Influence Peddling: McDonnell v. United States
Norman Pollack
Economic Nationalism vs. Globalization: Janus-Faced Monopoly Capital
Binoy Kampmark
Railroaded by the Supreme Court: the US Problem with Immigration
Howard Lisnoff
Of Kiddie Crusades and Disregarding the First Amendment in a Public Space
Vijay Prashad
Economic Liberalization Ignores India’s Rural Misery
Caroline Hurley
We Are All Syrians
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and a Confederacy of Lampreys: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail