Nations possessing nuclear weapons:
- The United States
- The United Kingdom
- North Korea
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)
The detailed wording of the NPT can be found on the Internet. However, we can sumarize this important treaty by saying that it rests on three “pillars”: 1) Non-proliferation, 2) Disarmament, and 3) Peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Article I requires the nuclear weapon states not to transfer possession or control of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices to any recipient and not to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapon state to acquire nuclear weapons.
Following Article VI of the NPT, each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control
Violations of the NPT
Article I of the NPT was violated when France helped Israel to obtain nuclear weapons. The government of the United States was aware that this was happening, but turned a blind eye. Another violation of Article I, is the stationing of U.S. nuclear weapons in many European countries. Pilots in the air forces of these countries are even trained in how to deliver the nuclear weapons.
Article VI of the NPT is grossly violated by all of the nations currently posessing nuclear weapons. None of them have any plans for giving up their weapons.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal being their total elimination. There are 92 signatories. The treaty was signed on 20 September, 2017, and it became effective on January 22, 2021. Although opposed by all the nations currently posessing nuclear weapons and their allies, the TPNW represents an important step towards the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
Flaws in the concept of nuclear deterrence
One important defect is that nuclear war may occur through accident or miscalculation - through technical defects or human failings. This possibility is made greater by the fact that despite the end of the Cold War, thousands of missiles carrying nuclear warheads are still kept on a “hair-trigger” state of alert with a quasi-automatic reaction time measured in minutes. There is a constant danger that a nuclear war will be triggered by error in evaluating the signal on a radar screen.
A number of prominent political and military figures (many of whom have ample knowl-edge of the system of deterrence, having been part of it) have expressed concern about the danger of accidental nuclear war. Colin S. Grey expressed this concern as follows: “The problem, indeed the enduring problem, is that we are resting our future upon a nuclear deterrence system concerning which we cannot tolerate even a single malfunction.” General Curtis E. LeMay has written, “In my opinion a general war will grow through a series of political miscalculations and accidents rather than through any deliberate attack by either side.” Bruce G. Blair has remarked that “It is obvious that the rushed nature of the process, from warning to decision to action, risks causing a catastrophic mistake.”... “This system is an accident waiting to happen.”
Against nuclear power generation
An isotope of plutonium, Pu-239, is just as fissionable as U-235 . Instead of trying to separate the rare isotope, U-235, from the common isotope, U-238, physicists could just operate a nuclear reactor until a sufficient amount of Pu-239 accumulated, and then separate it out by ordinary chemical means. This means that from the standpoint of prevention of nuclear proliferation, all nuclear reactors are prohibitively dangerous.
The continuity of life is sacred
In 1985, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War received the Nobel Peace Prize. IPPNW had been founded in 1980 by six physicians, three from the Soviet Union and three from the United States. Today, the organization has wide membership among the world's physicians. Professor Bernard Lowen of the Harvard School of Public Health, one of the founders of IPPNW, said in a recent speech:
...No public health hazard ever faced by humankind equals the threat of nuclear war. Never before has man possessed the destructive resources to make this planet uninhabitable... Modern medicine has nothing to offer, not even a token benefit, in the event of nuclear war...
We are but transient passengers on this planet Earth. It does not belong to us. We are not free to doom generations yet unborn. We are not at liberty to erase humanity's past or dim its future. Social systems do not endure for eternity. Only life can lay claim to uninterrupted continuity. This continuity is sacred.
Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar , former Secretary-General of the United Nations, emphasized the same point in one of his speeches:
"I feel”, he said, “that the question may justifiably be put to the leading nuclear powers: by what right do they decide the fate of humanity? From Scandinavia to Latin America, from Europe and Africa to the Far East, the destiny of every man and woman is affected by their actions. No one can expect to escape from the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear war on the fragile structure of this planet. ...
No ideological confrontation can be allowed to jeopardize the future of humanity. Nothing less is at stake: todays decisions affect not only the present; they also put at risk succeeding generations. Like supreme arbiters, with our disputes of the moment, we threaten to cut off the future and to extinguish the lives of innocent millions yet unborn. There can be no greater arrogance. At the same time, the lives of all those who lived before us may be rendered meaningless; for we have the power to dissolve in a conflict of hours or minutes the entire work of civilization, with all the brilliant cultural heritage of humankind.
“In a nuclear age, decisions affecting war and peace cannot be left to military strategists or even to governments. They are indeed the responsibility of every man and woman. And it is therefore the responsibility of all of us... to break the cycle of mistrust and insecurity and to respond to humanity's yearning for peace”
Nuclear weapons are criminal! Every war is a crime!
War was always madness, always immoral, always the cause of unspeakable suffering, economic waste and widespread destruction, and always a source of poverty, hate, barbarism and endless cycles of revenge and counter-revenge. It has always been a crime for soldiers to kill people, just as it is a crime for murderers in civil society to kill people. No flag has ever been wide enough to cover up atrocities.
But today, the development of all-destroying nuclear weapons has put war completely beyond the bounds of sanity and elementary humanity.
Can we not rid ourselves of both nuclear weapons and the institution of war itself? We must act quickly and resolutely before everything that we love in our beautiful world is reduced to radioactive ashes.