Thursday, December 11, 2014

A DEAL'S A DEAL! (What part of "nuclear disarmament" doesn't the US understand?)

Find out why the nations of the
world left Vienna determined upon
a global nuclear weapons ban.
Hundreds of diplomats and civil society representatives have just concluded a conference in Vienna on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. The clear message is that the vast majority of nations of the world are determined to bring about a global ban on nuclear weapons.

In light of the energy and determination expressed by the participants in Vienna, it is very important to underline the U.S. part of the equation.

Simply stated: the U.S. has already ratified the treaty in which it promises nuclear disarmament, and it's up to the people of the U.S. to assure that this promise is honored.

Article 6

It is extremely important that every US citizen know what the US has committed itself to by signing the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Article 6 of the NPT states:

"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." (emphasis added)

(See "THE TREATY ON THE NON-PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS( NPT ) (text of the treaty) on the UN website.)

World to US: DISARM!
Far too many people think that the NPT is about freezing the status quo, and preventing additional states from obtaining nuclear weapons. This is a fundamental misunderstanding. The NPT is based on a quid pro quo: nuclear "have-nots" agree to not acquire nuclear weapons, and nuclear "haves" agree to disarm.

The nations of the world meet at the United Nations in New York City in April/May 2015 for the every-five-years review of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  The main item of business will be: will the nuclear "haves" -- foremost among them the U.S. and Russia -- honor their treaty obligation to move rapidly toward complete elimination of their nuclear weapons?

Take it from someone who knows

El Baradei:
" . . . obligation . . . "
If you think I am overstating the case, don't just take it from me. Nobel Peace prize winner Mohamed El Baradei spent his career enforcing the terms of the NPT, eventually managing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In his letter to the the recent Vienna conference he emphasized:

"Under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Weapon States not only have an obligation to negotiate in good faith towards nuclear disarmament, but equally in the words of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) 'the obligation to achieve a precise result: nuclear disarmament in all its aspects'. However, after more than four decades of undertaking these obligations, the nuclear-weapon states are moving in the opposite direction. Nuclear weapon modernization programmes continue and will assure that these inhumane weapons will haunt us until the end of the century." (emphasis added)

El Baradei has been an eloquent and unstinting advocate for the type of promise-keeping by all parties -- especially including the US -- that is the only hope of saving us from nuclear disaster. His book The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times is a must-read for all of us working for peace. Or just read "Towards a safer world" in The Economist (October 16, 2003), in which El Baradei emphasizes: "the asymmetry [the NPT] endorsed was never intended to be permanent. The nuclear-weapon states agreed to move towards full disarmament—a commitment renewed 'unequivocally' by all five states as recently as 2000—although without a timetable." El Baradei's recent speech at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard -- "Between an Elusive Peace and a Haunting War" -- underlines the urgency of disarmament.

Who is "the US"?

One thing that is becoming more and more clear to me: too many people think that accomplishing nuclear disarmament is all about President Obama, or other leading politicians.

The fact is that we are the US . . .  President Obama does what we tell him to do . . . and when "the US needs to do something" that translates into "we need to make sure that that 'something' happens."

They're just the clerks.
WE'RE making the rules!
When the nations of the world meet on the NPT at the United Nations in New York City in April/May 2015, it is the responsibility of US diplomats to show significant progress on eliminating U.S. nuclear weapons. It is the responsibility of the mass of the U.S. people to do whatever it takes to assure that those diplomats -- the workers who represent us -- do so.

That is the reason for the call for nationwide mass mobilization -- starting NOW!



Find activists near you and organize

Help us take this message viral:
every Tuesday on Twitter - #NoNukesTuesday.

Non-stop: find your member of Congress

and tell them you want nuclear disarmament NOW!

Related links

People in the UK are demonstrating that when enough people bcome vocal "no nukes" activists, politicians who purport to represent them are compelled to become vocal "no nukes" activists, too.

(See "No Nukes Politician" -- IS There Such a Thing ??? )

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 )

We should all learn from the the activism of people in the UK against the stationing of Trident nuclear-weapons-equipped submarines in Scotland.

(See We're Rooting for You, Scotland! (Trident NO Scotland YES) )

Years from now, people will talk about this for what it really was: an intervention by Iran (and the rest of the world) to try to wake the US up to its own responsibility to eliminate its own nuclear arsenal.

(See IRAN NUKES DEAL: What Are They Trying to Tell Us? )

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