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On North Korea’s Nuclear Test

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This latest terrifying and dreadful underground nuclear test by North Korea should be a warning to the United States and the other nuclear weapons states, that the longer we continue to modernize and  cling to our nuclear arsenals and promote a nuclear deterrence policy which promise catastrophic threats of nuclear retaliation if attacked, the more additional countries will  be seeking to get their own “deterrent”, just as North Korea has done creating ever greater threats of accidental or deliberate nuclear disaster.

It is telling that at the same time we made the deal with Iran to rein in their “peaceful” nuclear power program and secure their enriched uranium in Russia, we promised “peaceful” nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Turkey so they too will have their bomb in the basement.

It cannot have escaped the notice of North Korea that after Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program was ended after the first Gulf War and Muammar Ghadafi voluntarily gave up his nuclear weapons program, one wound up dead in a hole in the ground and the other in a sewer pipe.   The only way to control the further spread of nuclear weapons and future catastrophic nuclear disaster, is for the US and the other nuclear nations, Russia, UK, France, China, Israel, India, and Pakistan, to give up their nuclear weapons and negotiate a treaty for the total abolition of nuclear weapons under strict and effective international monitoring and control.

Unfortunately, this won’t happen until the two nuclear behemoths at the table, the US and Russia, who now have 15,000 of the 16,000 nuclear weapons on the planet agree to do this. Russia has been quite clear, that unless the US stops its aggressive expansion of NATO up to its borders, despite promises made to Gorbachev when the wall came down that NATO would not expand beyond East Germany, and forgoes its intention to dominate and control the military use of space, but rather joins in with Russia and China to negotiate on their proposed space weapons ban treaty, which the US has been blocking since the treaty was first tabled in Geneva in 2008, there will be no cooperation from Russia.

People are not aware that the US still has 30,000 US troops stationed on the North Korean border and there have been many bad faith sabotages of proposed negotiations to bring North Korea back into the family of nations.   With Obama announcing a proposed nuclear weapons program of one trillion dollars over the next thirty years for new bomb factories, delivery systems and upgraded nuclear weapons, what can we realistically expect from North Korea at this time?

The buck definitely stops here in the US, and the only promising pressure on the horizon is an effort by 121 non-nuclear weapons states to negotiate an international ban of nuclear weapons, filling the legal gap created by the Non-Proliferation Treaty which only requires “good faith efforts” for nuclear disarmament for the five original nuclear weapons states that signed it.  The UN will host an Open Ended Working Group to address the legal gaps this year which could be a promising opening for non-nuclear weapons states to take the lead.

A ban treaty would outlaw nuclear weapons just as we have done with chemical and biological weapons, thus stigmatizing them and creating pressure on the hypocritical allies in NATO and in the Pacific like Japan, Australia, and South Korea, which say they support nuclear disarmament but rely on the US nuclear umbrella for their deterrent.

See, www.icanw.org South Korea’s participation in the US nuclear alliance, must be yet another red flag in the face of North Korea, suffering from an unresolved war since 1958 and cruel and brutal sanctions over these many years.

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Alice Slater is a founder of Abolition 2000, which works for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. 

CounterPunch Magazine

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