Defence and Security

Nuclear arms treaty

Jul 17, 2017
Almost 70 years to the day when the world witnessed the devastating impact of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 122 countries have voted decisively to impose a ban on nuclear weapons.       On July 7, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was passed 122 to one as a strong rebuke to countries that possess nuclear weapons. The move is a historic one — although it seems few have taken notice. The treaty could potentially lead us on the route to de-nuclearisation. 
 
While countries which possess nuclear weapons have shown no indication that they will become signatories, it is clear that countries without nuclear weapons have shown their overwhelming support for a world without nuclear weapons. The two biggest nuclear arsenal holders are the US and Russia, which possess about 3,000 nuclear warheads. When the conversation was started in October last year, 40 countries — including the US, France, Britain, China, Pakistan and India — led a boycott of the meeting. The fact that this boycott has been disregarded by those voting shows that the world is ready for a new era without the threat of a nuclear holocaust looming over the world.
 
The argument for nuclear weapons is a circular one. No country argues that it will be the first to use them , but they all maintain that they need them for defensive purposes. The American logic of pointing to the threat of North Korea completely ignores the fact that it is the US that is the only country that has used nuclear weapons on a civilian population. The hypocrisy of such countries is clear. The fact that the UK did not attend, despite its declared commitment to multilateral disarmament, also showed the shallowness of such promises. 
 
While the treaty cannot force any of these countries to disarm unless they become signatories, it does ban the use of nuclear weapons under international law. An important symbolic message that will be delivered to these global powers: the world does not want    nuclear          weapons. The people of the world do not feel       nuclear          weapons make them safer. While the power of a  nuclear          deterrent in the case of countries like Pakistan and India is clear, no one is suggesting that there a political change will not be needed before eliminating     nuclear          weapons altogether. The global security situation has changed, and the 122 countries who voted in favour of the nuclear ban have asked how nuclear weapons act as deterrents. Perhaps it’s time for nuclear nations to stop and think about this seriously.
 
The News, July 17, 2017

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