Monday, July 10, 2017

New This Week (July 10, 2017)

A historic day of liberation for the world;
a historic day of shame for US citizens, because their country tried to stop #nuclearban
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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?
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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!