Friday, May 15, 2015


It's the approximate midpoint of the month-long review conference on the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations in New York. Perhaps this is a good time to give everybody a head's up:

The US is FAILING in its obligation to disarm.

Nuclear weapons for everybody? or for nobody?
White House talks with Saudis focus on nuclear weapons.
(Image: Kevin LaMarque/Reuters)

I was reminded of this yesterday by an article in The New York Times: "Saudi Arabia Promises to Match Iran in Nuclear Capability" by David E. Sanger. The story suggests that Saudi Arabia is unhappy that Iran retains too much potential to get nuclear weapons. But what the Saudis are telling the US is, essentially, either everybody has them or nobody has them.  It's just a lot easier, diplomatically, to say, "We're talking about Iran here" than it is to say, "We're talking about you."

Look at the picture above from the White House meeting. Look at the faces. YOU decide: what do you really think is at issue here?

I have heard country after country after country express their frustration with US intransigence on nuclear disarmament.  The US (and other nuclear "haves") are bound by existing treaty obligations to move to complete nuclear disarmament. What's the holdup?

At the Peace and Planet nuclear disarmament events in New York in April, I heard Prof. Zia Mian challenge the audience to confront the fact that the promises that we have gotten to date from the US to eliminate nuclear weapons aren't being honored. We think we've made progress, but the truth is that we've FAILED.

So I wasn't surprised that between the time I decided to write this blog post and the time I turned on my computer, I had received an email from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) saying,

"An overwhelming majority of governments have expressed great concerns over the catastrophic humanitarian consequences and the increasing risk of use of nuclear weapons, and are calling for nuclear weapons to never be used again, under any circumstances. . . . Meanwhile, a small number of governments – in particular those with nuclear weapons themselves – are vigorously opposing progress. . . . What we are witnessing in New York right now is that the will of the majority to move forward is being blocked by a small minority who is desperate to preserve the status quo."

ICAN is promoting a global ban treaty -- one that will be led by the countries without nuclear weapons (and especially without a history of using nuclear weapons!).

What are those of us in the US supposed to do?

[UPDATE May 18: David E. Sanger and William J. Broad report in The New York Times: "China Making Some Missiles More Powerful" that, after sitting on MIRV technology for decades without making use of it, China is sending a clear message to the US: It is improving nuclear weapons in a way that "can unambiguously reach the United States." Could it have anything to do with the steadfast refusal of the US to eliminate its own nuclear weapons? Is it a coincidence that this announcement is coming during the NPT RevCon?]

[UPDATE May 27: AFSC's Joseph Gerson in Truthout: "Obama Administration Sabotages Nuclear Nonproliferation Conference" -- the title of the article says it all . . . . ]

[UPDATE June 3: The New York Times didn't mince words: "This year’s conference, after four weeks of often acrimonious debate and finger-pointing, collapsed on May 22 without the members formally agreeing on a plan of action. All decisions must be made by consensus, and the United States, Britain and Canada rejected the final communiqué." See the lead editorial on June 3, "Lost Opportunity on Nuclear Disarmament."]


Get angry!

Then . . . 
Get involved.
Get vocal.
Get educated
Get political.
Get serious.

Related posts

2015 "No Nukes" Mobilizations are happening around the US and around the world.

(See Key 2015 Events for Nuclear Disarmament Movement Organizers )

In light of the upcoming review of the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) and the fact that organizations throughout the country and worldwide are organizing to press the U.S. to substantially reduce its stores of nuclear weapons, it seems like a good time to use social media to get EVERYONE on board!

(See 5 Ways YOU Can Make a Difference on #NoNukesTuesday )

How do you formulate a statement that can somehow convince the United States to eliminate its threatening nuclear weapons?  How do you formulate the 10th request? Or the 100th? Knowing all the time that the United States is in the position -- will always be in the position -- to say, "No" ?  At what point does it dawn on you that the United States will never give up its nuclear weapons, because it has the power and the rest of the world doesn't?

(See 360 Degree Feedback in New York (2014 NPT Prepcom and How the World Views the United States))

Elaine Scarry demonstrates that the power of one leader to obliterate millions of people with a nuclear weapon - a possibility that remains very real even in the wake of the Cold War - deeply violates our constitutional rights, undermines the social contract, and is fundamentally at odds with the deliberative principles of democracy.

(See Reviews of "Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom" by Elaine Scarry )

NOW THEREFORE, by the power vested in me, and on account of the actions on the part of the recipient today described, as well as others, I hereby declare the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize award to Barack H. Obama officially revoked.

(See Obama Nobel Peace Prize - REVOKED! )