Sunday, May 28, 2017

Where Will Europe Stand on #Nuclearban?

Detail of interactive map from ICAN Austria.
Positions of European countries on global nuclear weapons ban negotiations.

I have spent the past several weeks lifting up the names of the 130+ countries worldwide that are leading and supporting the UN process of putting a global ban on nuclear weapons in place. (See 133 Is a Lot of #Nuclearban-Supporting Countries.)

That includes virtually all of Latin America and Africa, much of Asia and the Pacific -- including almost all of the Commonwealth countries -- and a substantial part of the Middle East.

It is time now to speak of the situation in Europe.

The bad news is that most of the countries in Europe voted against holding negotiations on a nuclear ban, and have refused to participate in the talks. A map of these obstructionist countries essentially corresponds to a map of NATO.

NATO Countries (showing year of entry into NATO)
(Map by Patrickneil on Wikipedia.)

But there is good news, too:

* Several European countries -- Austria, Ireland, Sweden, Malta, Liechtenstein -- have been in the forefront of the global nuclear ban effort.

* Several additional European countries also voted to support the ban talks. They include FYR Macedonia and San Marino.

* The Holy See voted to support the ban talks, and Pope Francis has spoken strongly in favor of the nuclear ban. This could be extremely influential on public opinion in majority Roman Catholic countries that are not yet supporting the ban.

* Several traditionally neutral countries abstained from the vote: Switzerland and Finland.

* One NATO country -- the Netherlands -- is showing signs that it could break from the rest of the NATO countries and support the ban.

* Several of the former "Eastern Bloc" countries -- Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova -- abstained from or did not participate in the vote, and their position on the ban remains unclear.

* Developments in individual countries could be pivotal. (The general election in the UK comes to mind . . . . )

In other words, Europe is "in play" as far as the nuclear ban goes.

The footage of the recent Trump speech at NATO headquarters was a reminder that even the members of NATO are not all of one mind, either.

Trump speech at NATO headquarters in Brussels
(See full video of the speech.)

Finally, it's important to remember that participation in the treaty negotiations is not the ultimate question. The overwhelming majority of the world's countries are already particpating in negotiations and well on their way to agreeing on treaty language. (See draft nuclear weapons ban treaty here.) At the end of the day, the real question is: which countries will accede to the treaty? which countries will ratify their accession? which countries will act to enforce the treaty?

Prediction: in the days ahead we may see more and more support in Europe for the nuclear weapons ban.

So . . . please help lift up the leadership of European nations in eliminating nuclear weapons. Share these messages and create your own:

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

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

(Please share this message on Twitter.)

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

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

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

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

Even more countries here: 133 Is a Lot of #Nuclearban-Supporting Countries.

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