Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Who Has Been "Begging for War"?

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley says North Korea's tests of increasingly sophisticated nuclear weapons and missiles amounts to "begging for war."

So THAT'S what testing increasingly sophisticated nuclear weapons and missiles is! Thank you for the clarification, Ambassador Haley.

Is that what the US and the other nuclear weapons states have been doing for the past 70 years? Perhaps now we have some inkling of how we have been viewed by the rest of the world as we have brandished weapon after weapon after weapon . . . ?




(The video above is a 3 minute version of all nuclear detonations since 1945. I invite you to watch the unrelenting sequence of thousands of nuclear detonations by the US and other nuclear powers unfold in the original 14 minute version, if you have the stomach for it.)

"I think that North Korea has basically slapped everyone in the face in the international community that has asked them to stop," Haley said. Yes, well . . . .

What, then, is the opposite of this way of "begging for war"? Perhaps becoming a party to the UN #nuclearban? Perhaps that is what countries "insisting on peace" are doing?


Related posts

Korea: A History of Living Under Nuclear Terror

Nuclear Weapons Abolition: What Will Be Different After September 20?

USA: Bringing a Trumpian Posture to the Nuclear Ban Talks. (Bankruptcy.)


Please share this post . . . .

Thursday, August 24, 2017

#Nuclearban: How Will China Play Its Hand?

From the moment the global nuclear ban treaty initiative first
got under way, it was clear that China's role would be pivotal.


I wrote yesterday to begin a conversation about possible ways that the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons may come to dominate the global discourse in the months ahead.

An extremely important question is how China will engage with this new development. People frequently assume that China is a country trying to catch up with and surpass the United States, and so China's behavior in the world must necessarily be a near version of how the US behaves. However, a growing school of thought has begun to notice that the best way to understand what China might do is to ask, "What could China do that in one fell swoop would put them three steps ahead of the US?"

China declined to participate in the negotiations on the nuclear ban treaty. Observing that decision, I began to realize that China's involvement in the process could at the right moment carry enormous weight, and would certainly be calculated to maximize the benefit to China. (See "China DOES Have a Role in the Nuclear Ban Movement.")

It's important to remember that China played an important role in defining a post-World War II world in which the countries of Asia, Latin America, and Africa need not be dominated by the US, Europe, and Russia (then the Soviet Union) -- despite the threat posed by the latter countries' nuclear weapons. Yes, China has nuclear weapons. But a quick review of the size of China's nuclear force suggests that, unlike the US and Russia, China does not believe that strength comes from having nuclear weapons. So where does China seek strength?

I propose a thought experiment: Imagine that China deems the advent of a global treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons (with 50 or more signatory nations), together with the resulting impact on the global security discourse, to offer an advantageous moment to make a bold move. Imagine, further, that China declares its intention to accede to the nuclear ban treaty, together with a definitive timeline -- say 5 years -- for dismantling its nuclear arsenal. What might be some of the possible outcomes of such a move?

First, in the general sense of "global leadership," it would be a stunning complement to the role now being accorded to China in the global effort to address global warming (particularly in light of US abandonment of the Paris Accord).

Second, in the realm of "optionality," it would give China enormous control over its ability to tell its story to the world over the coming five (or however many) years. China would have obtained the option to volunteer progress reports in the years ahead on its work toward fulfilling its unprecedented promise.

Third, it could have particular benefit for China's relations with other countries that support the nuclear ban. For instance:

* China's relations with other countries bordering the South China Sea are vitally important. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia were among the sponsors of the nuclear ban treaty initiative when it was first put forward in October, 2017, and have been strong supporters throughout the process.

* Supporting the nuclear ban would be a way of building bridges with the countries of Latin America -- including original ban sponsors (and Pacific neighbors) Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. In fact, Latin America has a 50-year history of working toward a global nuclear ban.

* And, of course, it has long been apparent that China is busily building relations with countries throughout Africa. Nearly every country in Africa is a supporter of the nuclear ban.

Fourth, there is the potential for shaking loose other "holdouts":

* Australia has opposed the ban, but is a vital trade partner with China. And 75% of the public in Australia support the ban.

* China has been moving progressively toward playing the principal role in negotiating some kind of grand bargain to denuclearize/demilitarize the Korean peninsula.

Finally, in the long run, there will be a solution to the countries that refuse to come to the table: India and Pakistan, the US and Russia. While it may be difficult today to imagine that it will be China that will one day play the "honest broker" and host such talks . . . it is not difficult to imagine people saying "this wouldn't have been possible without China."


Of course, everything outlined above is hypothetical. But I believe it illustrates an important point: the impending nuclear ban treaty carries enormous potential consequences for many countries -- China being just one example -- and the more people delve into the risks, opportunities, and possibilities involved, the more global excitement there will be about the treaty.


Please share this post . . . . 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Nuclear Weapons Abolition: What Will Be Different After September 20?

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

The global treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons will be available for countries to sign when the UN General Assembly begins its session September 20. The treaty enters into force 90 days after 50 countries have signed it.

The treaty text was drafted during a three week conference in June and July. One hundred and twenty-two (122) countries who participated in the special conference voted in favor of the text. (There was one vote against and one abstention.)

Some personal predictions:

* Fifty (and probably many more) nations will rapidly sign the treaty on September 20, or very shortly after. (I base this on the extremely strong support from the many participating countries in the drafting conference, including public statements and social media updates from their delegations.)

* There will be a strong impetus to reach the fifty nation threshold by September 26 - the fourth International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

* There will also be a motivation to reach the fifty nation threshold at the latest by October 3. That would mean that the 2018 would be ushered in with the treaty entering into force on January 1. (Ninety days from October 3 is January 1.) 

The momentum is already building as individual states affirm their intent to sign the treaty as soon as it becomes available.

So here is a question for all of us to think about: how will it change the global conversation when a treaty is affirmed by so many countries from all over the world? What will it feel like to know the clock is ticking down to nuclear weapons abolition . . . instead of worrying that the clock is ticking down to nuclear war? What will be different about the way people talk about the behavior of the states that still stubbornly hold on to nuclear weapons (and threaten each other with them)? In what light will it cast the countries that rely on the "nuclear umbrella" of countries like the US?

I've written about the important conference that will take place in Cambridge on November 4, which will focus on US nuclear weapons. What might be different about those deliberations if the participants know that, within days, a global nuclear weapons ban treaty will be entering into force?


Related post

#Nuclearban: How Will China Play Its Hand?


Please share this post . . . .

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Time to Call the Question: Is Presidential First Use of Nuclear Weapons Constitutional?

"CNN BREAKING NEWS . . . .
Trump: If N Korea keeps threatening, will be met with 'fire'."


Adam Liptak wrote in the New York Times several days ago that law schools are preparing to delve into numerous Constitutional questions that have been brought to a head by the Trump presidency, not the least of which is:

"Must Congress authorize a nuclear strike against North Korea?"

(See "New on This Fall’s Law School Syllabus: Trump.")

Case in point: a conference taking place in Cambridge on November 4 will address the question, "Presidential First Use of Nuclear Weapons:  Is it Legal? Is it Constitutional? Is it Just?"  The affiliations of the speakers -- including Yale Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, MIT -- tend to affirm Liptak's suggestion that this is a question that is being taken up in law schools and on campuses nationwide.

Also speaking at the Cambridge conference will be Massachusetts member of Congress Jim McGovern, a co-sponsor of HR669 "Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017." Central to HR669 are the principles that . . .

"The Constitution gives Congress the sole power to declare war";

"By any definition of war, a first-use nuclear strike from the United States would constitute a major act of war"; and

"A first-use nuclear strike conducted absent a declaration of war by Congress would violate the Constitution."

Of course, breathing life into HR669's steely logic requires the participation of actual members of Congress, and in turn by the life-and-blood people they represent. It is worth noting that HR 669 now has forty-seven (47) co-sponsors in the House, including representatives from . . .

Arizona
California
Connecticut
Hawaii
Illinois
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Texas
Vermont
Washington
Wisconsin

Food for thought: how many law schools and universities will avail themselves of the opportunity to invite their member of Congress to participate in a discussion of this vital question? As the list above indicates, "Presidential First Use of Nuclear Weapons:  Is it Legal? Is it Constitutional? Is it Just?" has now become the question people are asking everywhere.


Related posts:

Nuclear Weapons: People Power Over Trump Power

"Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom" by Elaine Scarry


Please share this post . . . .

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Donald Trump: The Great Clarifier



Ever since nuclear weapons were first invented and the United States used them against Japan, ordinary citizens have been subjected to an unrelenting campaign of obfuscation and confusion about their true nature and what's at stake. If any of us stopped long enough to think about nuclear weapons, we realized that everything possible must be done to get rid of them, and to make sure no one is every able to cause them to be used. But our ability to think has been challenged by a smokescreen of state propaganda: the state needs them, the state has everything under control, the state will take care of it. (Just feel lucky you're a citizen of such a big, strong state.)

Now along comes Donald Trump, who has sole authority to order a nuclear first strike and is tossing out threats left and right against North Korea.

People are waking up. Nuclear war is not an abstraction. It is a real possibility, and it is in the hands (right now) of a single person.

There are now forty-four (44) co-sponsors on Rep. Ted Lieu's House bill to rein in presidential first use of nuclear weapons. (And nine (9) co-sponsors on the corresponding bill in the Senate sponsored by Ed Markey.) Now is the time to demand a tidal wave of support for this bill, and get the unilateral authority over these weapons out of the hands of a single person.

Please use this script to call and get YOUR representative on that list! 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

New This Week (July 18, 2017)


South Korea's new leader: Moon Jae-in
(Image: NY Daily News)


Several months ago, I wrote suggesting that there will be a breakthrough in the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula under the new president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in. (See #Nuclearban Game-Changer: South Korea? and Korea: A History of Living Under Nuclear Terror.)

Today, The New York Times reported that South Korea wants to enter into negotiations with North Korea, breaking from the confrontational approach of the US in dealing with North Korea's nuclear program. (See "South Korea Proposes Military Talks With North at Their Border.")

*     *     *

There are now forty (40) co-sponsors on Rep. Ted Lieu's House bill to rein in presidential first use of nuclear weapons. (And nine (9) co-sponsors on the corresponding bill in the Senate sponsored by Ed Markey.) Will support continue to grow in the rest of July and through the summer?

Please use this script to call and get YOUR representative on that list! 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Modest Proposal: UNAs and #Nuclearban Education

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has issued a challenge:
" . . . show the people reasons to support the UN . . . "
Exhibit #1 is #nuclearban
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


One hundred and twenty-two (122) countries have agreed on a global nuclear weapons ban treaty text, and the treaty is in line to be adopted and enter into force in the months ahead.

A global network of United Nations Associations (UNAs) exists to engage in public education about the work of the UN, and encourage public support of the UN.

The #nuclearban is an issue the UNAs on which the UNAs can really roll up their sleeves and make a difference -- by using their convening power to bring together members of the public to learn about, discuss, and organize for action in support of this most important of UN initiatives. In doing so, they will foster a better understanding of the UN overall, and form the basis for more and better public involvement with their UNA chapters in the years ahead.

This work is especially important in the US and other countries whose governments are not currently supporting the #nuclearban. The public needs to become much, much more engaged.

It's worth remembering that the United Nations was created at the very moment that nuclear weapons were introduced. The UN's work for peace during all the ensuing decades has been done under the shadow of the nuclear threat.

In my opinion, the future of the UN very much hinges on the #nuclearban. Isn't it time for UNAs everywhere to answer the call and bring this development before the larger public?


Please share this post . . . . 


Related links

"Response to UNA-UK call for UK to attend nuclear ban treaty negotiations"


Monday, July 10, 2017

New This Week (July 10, 2017)

7-7-17
A historic day of liberation for the world;
a historic day of shame for US citizens, because their country tried to stop #nuclearban
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


On Friday at the United Nations, 122 nations voted on final language on the "Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons" (#nuclearban). The treaty will be open for signature when the General Assembly reconvenes September 20 in New York; all signs point to rapidly reaching the threshold that will cause the treaty to go into effect. The treaty enters into force 90 days after 50 signatures are reached. That means that on or about January 1, 2018, the world will very likely have a treaty in force outlawing nuclear weapons.

The United States has opposed the entire nuclear ban process. (Their response to the treaty announcement was to join the UK and France in saying, "We do not intend to sign, ratify, or every become party to it." - see "A Treaty Is Reached to Ban Nuclear Arms. Now Comes the Hard Part," by Rick Gladstone in The New York Times.)

Of course, the US is bound by treaty to strive toward complete nuclear disarmament -- eventually. I'm referring, of course, to its Article VI obligations under the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) (See A DEAL'S A DEAL! (What part of "nuclear disarmament" doesn't the US understand?) )

So the question is not if, but when. And the nuclear ban treaty seems to point to a much earlier date for achieving complete nuclear disarmament.

There is so much courageous work by people all around the world to bring about #nuclearban. People in the holdout countries like the US could be forgiven for feeling frustration and shame that their governments are clinging stubbornly to the wrong side of history. The #nuclearban treaty looks like it will sail into force while the US continues its bizarre journey into irrelevance in this and other aspects of global affairs. (viz. climate - e.g. "World Leaders Move Forward on Climate Change, Without U.S.")

Fine. The US is going to stamp its feet and hold its breath. Just one question: do we have to burn through $1 trillion while we're doing it? (See "Why a $1 trillion endeavor to modernize the US nuclear arsenal could get more bipartisan support") There is a massive nuclear weapons modernization program underway in the US, and you've gotta ask, "Is that a good investment as we head into a world in which nuclear weapons are outlawed?"

For our democratically-elected representatives, the calculus has got to be pretty simple, "People are really not happy that we can't agree on a way to come up with the money to make sure everyone will have health care. One trillion dollars -- trillion with a "T" -- maybe we'd better start acting like we're not throwing money down the drain . . . . "

Luckily, there are already a group of senators on the case. In March, 13 US senators wrote, "While we appreciate the work of the Defense Science Board, we strongly disagree with the wisdom or need to develop new nuclear weapons or resume nuclear testing. For 71 years the United States has led the world in opposition to the use of nuclear weapons, leadership that would be called into question should the United States develop new, so-called low-yield nuclear weapons. As you prepare to lead the Trump administration’s review of U.S. nuclear policy and posture, we urge you not to act on the Board's recommendations." (See "Senators Reject Call for New Nuclear Weapons, Ending Nuclear Testing Ban," March 14, 2017, signed by Senators Dianne Feinstein, Edward J. Markey, Richard J. Durbin, Patrick Leahy, Ron Wyden, Sherrod Brown, Al Franken, Tammy Baldwin, Jeffrey Merkley, Bernard Sanders, Brian Schatz, Chris Van Hollen, and Kamala D. Harris.)


#nuclearban: If the world is now OUTLAWING #nuclearweapons,
how is a $1 TRILLION development program a good idea?
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


Let's pick up where we left off and start exercising Congressional power over the sky's-the-limit nuclear weapons spending of the US government.


RELATED UPDATE - JULY 12 -  There are now thirty-nine (39) co-sponsors on Rep. Ted Lieu's House bill to rein in presidential first use of nuclear weapons. (And nine (9) co-sponsors on the corresponding bill in the Senate sponsored by Ed Markey.) Will support continue to grow in the rest of July and through the summer?

Please use this script to call and get YOUR representative on that list! 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Food for Thought: #Nuclearban's Network Character

Global Connectivity


I have written quite a bit encouraging people to be interested in the network aspect of our joint peace promotion endeavors - particularly as it relates to a truly global peace activism community.

I continue to believe that there is a great leap forward that is available to us if we devote more attention to the network character of what we are doing.

It is so close, we can practically taste it. The current work on a global nuclear weapons ban treaty -- particularly connected via social media and #nuclearban hashtag -- brings these network dimensions tangibly close.

In the course of any one individual's activism efforts, they inevitably bump up against the realization that each of us -- even the most prolific, even the most creative -- is limited. But there truly is power in the network: a strong network just keeps getting bigger and stronger and more effective, even as individual nodes (er, people) wax and wane.

What should this realization lead us to do?

Here are three recommendations:


(1) Laboratory Approach

I believe there is a lot that could be learned by putting some of the recent activity (e.g. with respect to #nuclearban) under a microscope.

Activists may not be inclined to sift through several weeks or months of social media communication, but there are lots of talented people who could contribute to this. Data mining and #peacetech are growing areas of interest.

There are existing apps, such as Bluenod, that can be used to take a first stab at this. And there is readily-available data on the major social media platforms -- there for the analyzing by anyone comfortable using a little code. (See Matthew A. Russell, Mining the Social Web: Data Mining Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, GitHub, and More)



#nuclearban Twitter community on Bluenod



(2) Actionable Research Output

Just about every activist and activist organization engages in social media communication. Most organizations (and even some individuals) have an explicit plan to "up their social media game." Some even have staff devoting substantial amounts of their time to just doing social media campaigns.

It seems reasonable that the laboratory approach suggested in (1) above have as a near-term objective communicating its discoveries to organizations (and individuals) that have a real commitment to using them to become more effective.

That naturally points to the desirability of starting the conversation as soon as possible. If people digging into the true face of the social web-driven global peace community know what activist organizations are already observing and conjecturing, and what they wish they know and what they hope they will someday be able to accomplish, they can be that much more alert in their researches.

For instance, in my very limited experience in this area, it seems to me that the evolving global nature of network raises the question for every activist organization, "How much of our effort should be directed at communicating with people who are already part of our audience? How much to people we are not currently reaching? How do we decide the amount of resources to spend on various approaches? How do we gauge return on investment?" In other words, should we be thinking Montana? or Mongolia?


Mongolia: lots of #nuclear ban supporters
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


(3) Expand the Conversation

As someone who not-so-long ago moved to the Bay Area I'm having an epiphany . . . .

The technology and social media tools we are using today were, in many cases, conceived by people who are profoundly interested in how these (or next stage) applications can help society be better.

Evan Williams
For instance, this article made me think, "Here's someone who's spending his days asking the same questions I am asking!": "'The Internet Is Broken': @ev Is Trying to Salvage It." "'I thought once everybody could speak freely and exchange information and ideas, the world is automatically going to be a better place,' Evan Williams says. 'I was wrong about that.'" By the way, Williams created Blogger (on which this blog is published), was one of the founders of Twitter, and has a new project called Medium.

People like Ev Williams may or may not identify themselves as "peace activists," but they and we share some major concerns, and they have enormous resources to contribute.

Resolved: I will meet some new people . . . and have some conversations . . . even if I have to (gulp) leave the East Bay to do it!


The #nuclearban effort on the ground is surging ahead. Now is the perfect time to explore the network character of #nuclearban -- a little measurement and analysis, a little actionable research output, and some scintillating conversation.


To be continued . . . .


Please share this post . . . .

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Food for Thought: Global Markets, Global Brands, and the #Nuclearban

The negotiations on a global nuclear weapons ban are moving inexorably to conclusion at the United Nations.

By coincidence, the US -- the great #nuclearban refusenik -- will celebrate Independence Day this week, just as the negotiations are wrapping up. So it seems like a good moment to remember what Independence Day is all about . . . .


Consumers saying NO!: The Boston Tea Party


Scholars have recently begun to stress that the real revolutionary power of the American Revolution lay in the organized action of consumers in North America who hit their imperial rulers where it hurt: in their trading businesses. (See, for instance, The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence, by H.T. Breen)

As someone who had a long career in international trade, I look at the map of all the #nuclearban-supporting countries from the standpoint of a US-based global marketer, and I think, "Uh-oh ...."


Interactive #nuclearban map from @icanaustria.
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


People ask, "Even if all the #nuclearban-supporting countries enter into a treaty, what difference does it make if countries like the US remain outside the treaty? Where is the leverage to make the US change?"

I suspect that we have an enormous amount of leverage . . . !


Top 100 Global Brands ... including Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft, Google,
GE, McDonald's, Intel, Apple, Disney, HP, and more ...


Everything that is happening in the US right now -- really, a state of political chaos -- is a function of how rapidly our economy is changing, and our inability to understand where we sit relative to the global economy. We are the beneficiaries of our integration with global markets . . . and we don't seem to realize how good we've got it, or how quickly we could lose the benefits of that integration.

One thing that I learned during my years traveling around the world as a US business person: people in other countries don't actually love us that much.  I'm not saying that people in other countries have anything against people in the US, but we often float through life in a kind of trance in which we imagine that everything about the US is great! and people everywhere are filled with warm feelings about the US. The truth is that there is a lot of ambivalence.

And that means the US -- the government, the people, the businesses -- don't get a free pass for bad behavior.

I was very intrigued by the actions of Apple CEO Tim Cook several weeks ago. When Donald Trump rejected US participation in the Paris climate accord, Cook hastened to reassure the community of Apple stakeholders:

I know many of you share my disappointment with the White House's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. I spoke with President Trump on Tuesday and tried to persuade him to keep the U.S. in the agreement. But it wasn't enough.

Climate change is real and we all share a responsibility to fight it. I want to reassure you that today's developments will have no impact on Apple's efforts to protect the environment. We power nearly all of our operations with renewable energy, which we believe is an example of something that's good for our planet and makes good business sense as well.

We will keep working toward the ambitious goals of a closed-loop supply chain, and to eventually stop mining new materials altogether. Of course, we're going to keep working with our suppliers to help them do more to power their businesses with clean energy. And we will keep challenging ourselves to do even more. Knowing the good work that we and countless others around the world are doing, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about our planet's future.

Our mission has always been to leave the world better than we found it. We will never waver, because we know that future generations depend on us.

(See "Tim Cook emails Apple employees after failing to change Donald Trump’s mind about the Paris climate deal")

I believe business leaders like Tim Cook are gravely concerned about the political risk to their brands. They understand that their wildly popular brands may be tarred by association with the US - the country where they just happen to be domiciled. In the case of climate, there is a world consensus on the problem, and a daily-growing awareness that those who stand to be hurt the most by the problem are in the Global South. The problem for Tim Cook and Apple (and many other global brands based in the US) is: how can we let our customers throughout the world know that we're good guys -- that we're the ones wearing white hats -- despite the fact that we live in painfully close proximity to a practically outlaw regime?

In the days and weeks ahead, we will likely have a global consensus on outlawing nuclear weapons. And in boardrooms across this country, heated discussion of a new kind of political risk will begin . . . .

RELATED POST: Is there a relationship between #nuclearban and #G20?


Please share this post . . . .

Monday, June 26, 2017

#Canada150 and #nuclearban: A World Turned Upside-Down

Expo 67 - Canada Pavilion
#Canada150 and #nuclearban: A World Turned Upside-Down
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


I have written before about how formative a few short days I once spent in Canada turned out to be for my life. Back then, I went around the world in 5 days as we went from pavilion to pavilion. During the first decades of my working career, I traveled to every country I could get to in the course of my work in import/export.  And today I'm connecting to a peace movement that is truly global. (See: O Canada! (We'll always have "Expo" . . . . ).)

A big focus of Expo 67 was "Man and his World." It was a moment when people were very much aware of how the human species had come to dominate the planet -- and each other -- and there were the beginnings of a call for balance.

The 50th anniversary of Expo 67 is this year. I've been enjoying reading about the many related exhibits and commemorations, and the memories come flooding back. (See "Expo 2017: Utopia, Rebooted" in The New York Times, by Jason Farago.) I was delighted to hear my daughter say she's hoping to drive up to Montreal this summer.

By the way, I've always particularly loved the inverted pyramid design of the Canada Pavilion from Expo 67 -- although until I sat down to write this piece today, I wasn't quite sure what I thought it meant . . . .


*     *     *


This year is also the 150th anniversary of the beginning of Canada's process of becoming an independent country. As I read more about Canada's  progression from possession of the British Empire to member of the community of nations, I realize that it's been a long road.

Coincidentally, I have just come to realize that there is a very large group of countries that continue to exist in a kind of vague relation to the UK and each other through the Commonwealth of Nations. This hit home when I realized that practically the entire Commonwealth -- in this year when it has adopted the slogan "A Peacebuilding Commonwealth" -- consists of countries that are supporters of the global nuclear weapons ban negotiations at the United Nations. (See The Road to the Commonwealth Games Passes Through #Nuclearban Territory.)

The UK opposes the nuclear ban treaty talks, however, as do Australia and Canada. Is Australia's opposition because of the UK position? Is Canada's?  I wonder why these two countries, almost alone among Commonwealth countries, fail to support the nuclear ban.


*     *     *


Canada's posture is influenced by more than just the UK, of course. It also has something to do with the United States.

The US opposes the nuclear ban talks, and has dragged its main allies along with it. (See USA: Bringing a Trumpian Posture to the Nuclear Ban Talks. (Bankruptcy.).)

There is very public discussion right now about Canada and whether it will follow the line set down by the US -- particularly by Donald Trump.  There was a very intriguing story by Max Fisher several days ago saying that the Trudeau government is not standing still for the Trump stonewall against action on climate: "Canada’s Trump Strategy: Go Around Him".

Could the same thing happen with respect to the nuclear ban?  Ian Austen, in "Canadian Minister Signals a Growing Role Outside the US Umbrella," quoted Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland saying, "To rely solely on the US security umbrella would make us a client state."


*     *     *


It was those words -- "client state" -- that suggested to me what the inverted pyramid may be all about.

The long road signified by #Canada150 (as well as Expo 67) is all about a world turned upside-down, where the rules are no longer dictated by this or that mighty empire, but instead are formulated by people who have the interests of the majority at heart.

Canada beholden to the UK? Canada beholden to the US? Or Canada serving its people, and all people, and Canada's fundamental values?

Please, please, please, Canada: don't stop now. Turn the world really upside-down and join the treaty for a world free of nuclear weapons - #nuclearban.

It's where your heart lies.


Expo 67 artwork


Related post: "At the surrender of the British to the American forces at Yorktown, the band played an old tune called "The World Turned Upside Down." See The World Turned Upside Down - Huff Post, Wash Post, and Twitter.


Please share this post . . . .

New This Week (June 26, 2017)

100+ countries are negotiating a global ban on nuclear weapons right now at the UN, and you can watch it happen.

You can read the updated draft of the #nuclearban treaty, hot off the press; and follow the next steps via live-tweeting at #nuclearban on Twitter.

How mainstream is the global #nuclearban treaty effort? The International Committee of the Red Cross has stepped forward to say: everyone needs to confront the real truth about nuclear weapons and implement a ban now.  (Click the image below to see their video.)


"From the 1st second, to 70 years on: here’s what could happen
to you and your city if a nuclear bomb is dropped. #nuclearban"
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


How widespread is the global #nuclearban treaty effort? I've spent recent months encouraging people to delve into the stories of the many countries that are leading the ban effort -- countries ranging from Indonesia to New Zealand to Mexico and many more.



SO GRATEFUL for 100+ countries making the #nuclearban happen at @UN!
http://joescarry.blogspot.com/2017/04/133-is-lot-of-nuclearban-supporting.html
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


How fast is the global #nuclearban treaty effort growing? Just two cool examples from the last couple of days:

More and more prominent cultural figures support the ban. I had always hoped that the great Chinese artist and activist and social media user Ai Weiwei would help promote #nuclearban. Now . . .  check THIS out:


"Ai Weiwei, renowned artist, lends support to ban"
(See Ai Weiwei's video message on the International
Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) website
.)


And at Sunday's PRIDE parade in NYC . . .  THIS:


@IQAN - International Queers Against Nukes
"We're here! We're queer! Ban the bomb, don't live in fear!"
#pride2017 #nuclearban #disarmhate
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


The picture is emerging clearly: #nuclearban is unstoppable . . . .


More to come . . . . 


 . . .  AND . . . in the US . . . there are now thirty-eight (38) co-sponsors on Rep. Ted Lieu's House bill to rein in presidential first use of nuclear weapons. (And eight (8) co-sponsors on the corresponding bill in the Senate sponsored by Ed Markey.) Will support continue to grow in the rest of June and through the summer?

Please use this script to call and get YOUR representative on that list! 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

INDONESIA: What can we learn about #nuclearban from wayang?

INDONESIA: What can we learn about #nuclearban from wayang?
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


It is breathtaking to follow the #nuclearban hashtag and read the live tweets about specific contributions being made minute-to-minute at the "United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination."

We're talking about a treaty banning nuclear weapons globally.

Notably, my own country (the US) is boycotting the talks. So are a few other "big powers." But what is becoming clear day by day is that this is really about who is at the table. And what you see by clicking on #nuclearban is the way 100+ countries are successfully creating a treaty.

I reflected yesterday: "To me, the enormous significance of the #nuclearban is this: global rules are no longer going to be dictated by a small number of countries -- those with the most money, the most weapons, who 'know better,' who have appointed themselves the 'leaders' and 'policemen' of everyone else. With this treaty and other efforts like it -- on climate, for instance -- the majority of people in the world -- the people who for decades have been saying 'we want a nuclear weapons free world' -- are going to be the ones leading the way."

Here's a single tweet that helped crystallize that idea for me:


via @nuclearban
"We need to delegitimize nuclear deterrence as a concept,
says Indonesia. The treaty's preamble can help us do this."
#nuclearban
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


The representative from Indonesia is wearing native batik. For one thing, it serves as a reminder that the Western business attire of US diplomats is not in the picture because the US chose to un-include itself.  For another thing, it invites you to wonder, "What do I really know about Indonesia and its people . . . ?" Indonesia is a very populous country - did I remember that there are about 260 million people there? Indonesia is one of the supporters of the #nuclearban - did I remember that Indonesia was one of the co-sponsors of the original proposal to hold the #nuclearban talks? India is a growing economic power - did I remember that Indonesia is a member of the G20?

The second aspect of this image of the Indonesian representative at the #nuclearban talks that grabs my attention is all the retweets and "likes." This speaks to the enormous power of social media to help spread these new perspectives and examples of heroic leadership like that of Indonesia around the world in real time.

Then: there are the Indonesian representative's words themselves: "We need to delegitimize nuclear deterrence as a concept. . . . The treaty's preamble can help us do this." This goes to the very heart of what the #nuclearban treaty is about. It is a challenge to the "conventional wisdom" or "global security system orthodoxy" that has been thrust upon the world by a few countries with large nuclear weapons arsenals. A big part of the treaty creation process is to jolt people into breaking out of these old ways of thinking and embracing a new perspective. (See "Deterrence": As a strategy, it makes about as much sense as "proliferation")

I think it's not irrelevant to remark that Indonesia has intellectual and cultural traditions that help give insight and solve problems, and sometimes in ways that those of us outside of the South/Southeast Asian sphere miss. By coincidence, a few months ago I was learning about the epic involving the hero Rama at the Ramayana exhibition at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The Ramayana is the subject of an enormous body of performance art in Indonesia -- shadow puppet or wayang theater. When I learned about Rama and the Ramayana, I learned about is arch-foe, the evil king Ravana. Ravana is so bad, so evil, so rapacious, that he actually wants to swallow up the entire universe.  That's when it occurred to me, "Ravana is like the nuclear weapons states!" That's when I created this meme, based on a scene from the Indonesian shadow puppet theater in which Rama battles the evil Ravanna:


Thank you #INDONESIA.
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


(Ravana is the scary-looking guy on the left with the bright red eyes and bulging nose.)

The story of Rama's struggle with Ravana extends across many episodes, and wayang performances are marathons -- often lasting all night. This is helpful to remember as we embark on an epic struggle to rid the world of a nearly inconceivable evil, wielded by adversaries willing to contemplate plunging the world into darkness and chaos. The #nuclearban treaty will be just the beginning.

This epic struggle to get the nuclear weapons to disarm: perhaps we can only fully understand it with the help of the  world's great literature and mythology?


Related posts:

VIETNAM and the NUCLEAR BAN: Out From Under the Shadow of US Nuclear Terror

Why People Want a Pacific (and World) Free of Nuclear Weapons

China DOES Have a Role in the Nuclear Ban Movement

Korea: A History of Living Under Nuclear Terror and The Cynical American Scapegoating of Korea as a Cover for Nuclear Terror

Tlatelolco 50: A Gift to the World

133 Is a Lot of #Nuclearban-Supporting Countries


Please share this post . . . .

Monday, June 19, 2017

New This Week (June 19, 2017)

Today was a good day for the planet and everyone on it.
Thanks to all who are working on the #nuclearban at the @UN!
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


June 15 saw the resumption of talks on a global treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons at the United Nations, and they continue this week. You can follow the progress minute-to-minute at the #nuclearban hashtag. The negotiations appear to be on track for completion as scheduled by July 7.

The treaty is the work of 100+ countries that are determined to outlaw nuclear weapons. The effort is supported by activists throughout the world -- in the countries leading the push for treaty talks, in the other countries lending their strong support, and also in the countries that are opposing the ban effort.

It seems extremely likely that the world will, in fact, have a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons very soon -- with participation from the outset of a very large number of countries. That, in turn, will open up enormous opportunity for activists to help persuade every country to accede to the treaty and honor it.


SO GRATEFUL for 100+ countries making the #nuclearban happen at @UN!
http://joescarry.blogspot.com/2017/04/133-is-lot-of-nuclearban-supporting.html
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


To me, the enormous significance of the #nuclearban is this: global rules are no longer going to be dictated by a small number of countries -- those with the most money, the most weapons, who "know better," who have appointed themselves the "leaders" and "policemen" of everyone else. With this treaty and other efforts like it -- on climate, for instance -- the majority of people in the world -- the people who for decades have been saying "we want a nuclear weapons free world" -- are going to be the ones leading the way.

Think about it: how will you participate in this new reality?


Rest of @UN is banning #nuclearweapons today
and THIS is the picture of US "leadership" we have to look at. Sad!
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


 . . .  AND . . . in the US . . . there are now thirty-seven (37) co-sponsors on Rep. Ted Lieu's House bill to rein in presidential first use of nuclear weapons. (And eight (8) co-sponsors on the corresponding bill in the Senate sponsored by Ed Markey.) Will support continue to grow in the rest of June and through the summer?

Please use this script to call and get YOUR representative on that list! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Is there a relationship between #nuclearban and #G20?

THIS WEEK: #nuclearban talks resume at @UN!


I noticed that two events are happening in rapid succession:

Negotiations on a global nuclear weapons ban treaty take place at the UN in New York City June 15 through July 7.

The G20 meets July 7 through 9 in Hamburg.

The United States opposes the former, and has convinced most of its allies to oppose it, too.

The United States views the latter as "home turf" -- it consists of the countries it sees itself leading into a new century of global economic interdependence and prosperity.

What will it look like when US President Donald Trump stands before his colleagues in Hamburg, after opposing the nuclear disarmament efforts of 100+ countries at the UN in New York?

When I first thought about this question, I had the recent NATO events in mind. So my first thought was, "Oh, well, the G20 is a lot like NATO -- those are all the same allies the US has roped in to opposing the #nuclearban . . . ."

But when I looked more closely, I realized that the G20 is not just another rooting section for the USA and its wishes. In fact, with specific reference to #nuclearban, it's a very mixed bag:

* G20 members Mexico, South Africa, and Indonesia were co-sponsors of the original motion to hold nuclear ban negotiations. And since the EU is a G20 member, we need to count co-sponsors Austria, Ireland, Malta, and Sweden. (In addition, Philippines and Vietnam, who will be in Hamburg as guest attendees, were also co-sponsors.)

* Argentina, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and EU-member Cyprus voted in favor of the nuclear ban negotiations. (In addition, so did Hamburg guests Guinea, Senegal, and Singapore.)

Sure, there will big opponents of #nuclearban at Hamburg (USA, Russia, UK, Australia), as well as some nominal opponents (Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Turkey).

But what about China, India, Japan, and South Korea? Where exactly they stand (or will stand) on #nuclearban is an open question.


G20 economies (see theconversation.com)


Now, it may seem that #G20 has nothing to do with #nuclearban. The #G20 is about trade and development, and #nuclearban is about weapons, right? And isn't most of the #G20 economic activity is accounted for by the opponents of the #nuclearban?

Perhaps. But what if we flip that on its head and ask: "What would the chart of the economic activity of the big 20 economies look like in a world without nuclear weapons?" After all, the #G20 is all about shaping the world economy of tomorrow, not perpetuating the past.

#G20 and #nuclearban may end up having quite a bit to do with each other.


Please share this post . . . .

Monday, June 12, 2017

New This Week (June 12, 2017)

June 17 - "Ban the Bomb" demonstrations throughout Australia


Thursday, June 15: negotiations on a global ban on nuclear weapons (#nuclearban) resume at the United Nations in New York City.

Saturday, June 17: marches in NYC, throughout Australia, and in other locations in support of #nuclearban.

Please share these memes on social media to help emphasize the global extent of the coming #nuclearban treaty: 133 Is a Lot of #Nuclearban-Supporting Countries.


SO GRATEFUL for 100+ countries making the #nuclearban happen at @UN!
http://joescarry.blogspot.com/2017/04/133-is-lot-of-nuclearban-supporting.html
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


 . . .  AND . . . in the US . . . there are now thirty-seven (37) co-sponsors on Rep. Ted Lieu's House bill to rein in presidential first use of nuclear weapons. (And eight (8) co-sponsors on the corresponding bill in the Senate sponsored by Ed Markey.) Will support continue to grow in the rest of June and through the summer?

Please use this script to call and get YOUR representative on that list! 

#Nuclearban Memes from World Stamps

#Oman
"stigmatize, prohibit, and eliminate #nuclearweapons in light
of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences."
Thank you #Oman     #nuclearban
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


Postage stamps are a kind of pre-Internet-era meme (social media graphic) through which countries have told people what they value.

When I noticed there are so many countries working to bring about a global ban on nuclear weapons -- #nuclearban -- I started to make memes related to each country. That allowed me to select an image I found emblematic of a given country, attach the #nuclearban hashtag and a description of that country's support, and tweet it out to the world. (See 133 Is a Lot of #Nuclearban-Supporting Countries.)

But I also wanted to domore to suggest the values that each supporter country brings to the #nuclearban effort. So I decided to select some of their own postage stamp designs -- to let them tell the story, themselves!

Below is a growing selection of country postage stamps I have shared, together with the Twitter message I used with each one.

Most stamps shown are for supporter countries. I've also shared some stamps from countries that are not yet supporters . . . but should be!)

Please share these on social media . . .and create your own!


#Algeria
#nuclearban ... because our planet is filled with precious living things!
Thank you #Algeria for your support!
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Bangladesh
This world and all its life: too beautiful to destroy.
Thank you #Bangladesh for supporting #nuclearban at the @UN!
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Brazil
This world and all its life: too beautiful to destroy.
Thank you #Brazil and 100+ more for supporting #nuclearban!
joescarry.blogspot.com/2017/04/133-is-lot-of-nuclearban-supporting.html
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#CaboVerde
"stigmatize, prohibit, and eliminate #nuclearweapons
in light oftheir unacceptable humanitarian consequences."
Thank you #CaboVerde!    #nuclearban
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Dominica
This world and all its life: too beautiful to destroy.
Thank you #Dominica & 100+ more for supporting #nuclearban!
joescarry.blogspot.com/2017/04/133-is-lot-of-nuclearban-supporting.html
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#France
Les armes nuclĂ©aires: que fera la #France?    #nuclearban
@jmc_nonukes @adecroissance @ICAN_France
@ScienceMarchFR @greenpeacefr @cicr_fr
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Guinea-Bissau
#nuclearban ...
led by those confronting the unacceptable
humanitarian consequences of #nuclearweapons
#GuineaBissau @ICRC @nuclearban @UN
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Malta
#nuclearban... with our #children in mind!
Thank you #Malta for your leadership!
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Mexico
THANK YOU #Mexico & 100+ other countries
 steering us toward a world free of #nuclearweapons!
#nuclearban
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Monaco
 Time to get rid of this beast once and for all.
#nuclearban #Monaco
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Mongolia
Thank you #Mongolia.
FOR #life
AGAINST #nuclearweapons
#nuclearban
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Namibia
#WednesdayWisdom
"In the best interest of the child."
#nuclearban #Namibia
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#NewZealand
I love people who tell you exactly where they stand.
Thank you #NewZealand.
#nuclearban - at the @UN - Thursday
nuclearban.org
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Oman
"stigmatize, prohibit, and eliminate #nuclearweapons in light
of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences."
Thank you #Oman     #nuclearban
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Seychelles
This world and all its life: too beautiful to destroy.
Thank you #Seychelles and 100+ more for supporting #nuclearban!
#WorldSeaTurtleDay
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#SriLanka
"stigmatize, prohibit, and eliminate #nuclearweapons in light
of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences."
Thank you #SriLanka!      #nuclearban 
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Tanzania
#nuclearban ...with our #children in mind!
Thank you #Tanzania for your support!
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Ukraine
RADIATION: invisible killer ....
#Europe #Ukraine #Chernobyl #nuclearban
http://joescarry.blogspot.com/2017/05/where-will-europe-stand-on-nuclearban.html
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


#Vietnam
Maybe it's time for us to start listening for a change . . . .#nuclearban
(Please share this message on Twitter.)


Please share this post . . . .