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The world now reaches a nuclear weapons stalemate

Nuclear stalemate of our century, AA, The presence of 10,000 nuclear weapons makes it impossible to take a deep breath and relax, By Sitki Egeli, 7 Sept 17, ISTANBUL

It has been 72 years since the atomic bombardment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which resulted in the death and injury of hundreds of thousands.

The discovery in Japan of the terribly destructive power of nuclear weapons apparently did not prove enough of a deterrent to convince humanity of the need to get rid of these dangerous weapons.

On the contrary, the extraordinary destructive power of nuclear weapons must have increased in attractiveness in the sight of many countries and their administrators so much that the Soviet Union, Britain, France, and the People’s Republic of China followed in the footsteps of the United States in developing nuclear weapons.

Over the following decades, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea joined the caravan of countries that possessed atomic bombs.

Fewer nuclear warheads

Nuclear weapons are perhaps the most fatal threat that could end all human life on this planet…….

Risk of cyber-attacks and populism

As a matter of fact, nuclear weapons may not always be used knowingly and willingly. It is not a remote possibility that nuclear weapons are accidentally or unintentionally activated through outside interventions and cyber-attacks, which we have been gifted with thanks to rapidly advancing information technology.

Equally worrisome is the glut of populist political leaders influencing world politics today. They are mostly ineffective and bereft of the notion of empathy. It has always been assumed that whenever it came to nuclear weapons, countries that possessed them would display moderation and act maturely and with the acknowledgment of how tremendously different nuclear weapons are from conventional ones.

However, the irresponsible and dangerous rhetoric employed in the recent battle of words with North Korea by the leader of the oldest and supposedly mature nuclear power of the world, the U.S., has cast a shadow on this assumption. Among the nuclear countries using irresponsible rhetoric, one should mention Russia — alongside the U.S. and North Korea — which sees no harm in threatening its neighbors with using its nuclear weapons……

we are faced with a paradigmatic transformation, in which all of the arguments employed so far to legitimize nuclear weapons and portray them as necessary have capitulated one by one.

For example, the argument propagated by nuclear powers that nuclear weapons make conflicts too dangerous and risky and thereby actually better serve peace and international stability is losing its persuasive power and coherence to a great extent under the new circumstances developing.

New treaty adopted by 122 UN members

Quite unsurprisingly, we see that the international perception about nuclear weapons is rapidly changing and that this change is bringing with itself a number of processes and initiatives.

For instance, a new international treaty adopted in July at the United Nations by 122 members completely bans and outlaws the development, testing, deployment, and use of nuclear weapons.

The treaty will be presented to the member states for their approval in September and enter into force once signed by 50 states, and it will be a heavy yet ineffective blow to nuclear weapons’ legitimacy and legal status.

Unsurprisingly, countries with nuclear weapons and their allies, who agreed to house nuclear weapons on their soil, sat out the UN vote.

With their conspicuous absence, they implicitly declared that they would not recognize this initiative and demand, already supported and approved by 122 countries.

What we can deduce from this is that the countries that own nuclear weapons as well as those who have secured themselves a place under the “protective umbrella” of nuclear powers favor the continuation of the current situation with nuclear weapons, in which these weapons remain an essential, legal, and institutional element of international relations.

And in favoring this present state, they are ready to face up to all the risks and dangers posed by nuclear weapons.

’70s legal framework

The current institutional and legal framework for nuclear weapons is regulated mainly by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), signed in 1970.

In sum, the NPT divided countries into two groups: those eligible to possess nuclear weapons, and those who were not.

The five states that had the right to have nuclear weapons and enjoyed the privileges were those that had already acquired nuclear weapons at the time when the treaty was being deliberated.

These five countries were also the very five that eventually became the five permanent members of the UN Security Council with veto power.

By putting the NPT into effect, what the international community actually did was to accept the nuclear status quo in the world as it was as of the late 1960s, with all its problems and injustices, and freeze it. And this was all done in the name of preventing a bigger number of countries from laying their hands on nuclear weapons.

And in return for that, it made certain promises to the states which relinquished their right to acquire nuclear weapons.

Among the things promised was, for example, that nuclear weapons would be reduced in number and be eventually done away with completely, that nuclear weapons would never be used against the countries who relinquished their right to nuclear weapons, and also that there would be no obstacles to accessing and using nuclear technology for commercial and scientific ends.

Nuclear states undermine deal’s legitimacy

Unfortunately, in the almost half-century that has since passed, there have been many examples of negligence regarding these assurances and commitments, and even cases in which the complete opposite of whatever was envisaged by the NPT was done.

States with nuclear weapons themselves have in a way cast a shadow over the legitimacy and legality of the NPT and their own nuclear weapons by failing to properly comply with the requirements of a deal that provided their own nuclear arsenals with legitimacy and legality in the first place.

All the countries with nuclear arsenals, without exception, are currently carrying out modernization programs worth billions of dollars to make their warheads more effective and lethal, let alone get rid of them…….


September 9, 2017 - Posted by | politics international, weapons and war

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