Eric Fawcett used to say that we won’t abolish nukes until another one explodes, whether by accident or malice, demonstrating the insanity of keeping such things.
So which will happen first: nuclear war or nuclear disarmament? Lately journalists are revealing the mounting probability of nuclear war between NATO and Russia. Yet consider all the new grounds for hope too!
On October 5 the World Court will say whether it has jurisdiction to try the Marshall Islands’ suit against the nuclear weapons states. October 12 is the thirtieth anniversary of Gorbachev’s and Reagan’s near-agreement to disarm their nukes. That reminds us that it’s possible. And later in October, several countries will table a resolution at the UN General Assembly calling for “a United Nations conference in 2017 to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.” The proposal is to meet in New York under the General Assembly rules of procedure [i.e. by voting instead of requiring consensus, which would let the nuclear powers block the motion] for two sessions of 20 working days with the participation and contribution of international organizations and civil society representatives. We think the plan will be adopted.
Yet as we go to press, most signs suggest that Canada will vote against the motion. Foreign Minister Stephane Dion claims that we must balance “security” concerns against our humanitarian feelings. Meaning? We belong to NATO, which depends on nuclear weapons to keep us safe. They “deter” our enemies by threatening such hideous retaliation that no sane person would consider using them against us.
But what about insane persons? Or suicide bombers? How do nuclear weapons deter them? What about all the “broken arrows”—both known and kept secret—when bombs have nearly been detonated accidentally or in response to false alarms? What about North Korea’s nutty dictator? Or Netanyahu or Putin or Trump or Hillary Clinton? What about the next war between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India? What about NATO’s bombs in Turkey if another coup takes place there?
Will Canada show human decency and realism about security by voting to abolish nuclear weapons? We’ll find out this month. Keep your fingers crossed or (better yet) email Prime Minister Trudeau and tell him what to do.