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Living with the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty: nuclear weapons states swould be unwise to attack it

Living With the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty: First, Do No Harm,  Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, GEORGE PERKOVICH   25 Nov 20 Now that fifty countries have ratified the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), it will enter into force in January 2021…….

NATIONS WITHOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS HAVE REASON TO SUPPORT THE TREATY

Supporters of the prohibition treaty are not crazy. They have good reasons. The 122 countries that adopted the treaty in 2017 were already legally committed not to acquire nuclear weapons, as they had signed the fifty-year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

None of them face threats of aggression from the United States, Russia, China, or other countries that nuclear weapons would plausibly deter. Yet, all could suffer great harm from someone else’s nuclear war—especially one involving the still excessively destructive U.S. and Russian arsenals…….

TPNW supporters represent more than half of the world’s population and are understandably frustrated that the nuclear weapon states have not fulfilled their legal obligations and political commitments to pursue nuclear disarmament.  …

COUNTRIES WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS WON’T SIGN UP

A cynical answer is that the TPNW will do little good. The nine governments that wield nuclear weapons will not sign it. Nor have any security allies of nuclear-armed states, including all members of NATO, Japan, and South Korea, for example. In other words, the treaty will not change any country’s reliance on or possession of nuclear weapons.

While that is true, both supporters and critics of the treaty have reason to heed Hippocrates’s injunction to “first do no harm.” The importance of this injunction is especially great in NATO Europe and the United States.

In several NATO states, significant numbers of citizens and civil society organizations and their political representatives strongly support the TPNW. This includes the Netherlands and Germany, which are among the five states that host U.S. nuclear bombs as part of NATO’s nuclear-sharing arrangement…………

CRITICIZING THE TPNW IS THE WRONG APPROACH

Here, the United States, the United Kingdom and France—as nuclear weapon states—have vital roles to play. If they do not openly respect the concerns that motivate support for the TPNW, and instead direct critical ire at those who do, they will harden rather than weaken the resolve of TPNW supporters. The United States and France are particularly guilty of this.

A much wiser course, building on opportunities that a new administration in Washington may offer, would be to reinvigorate efforts to stop the incipient qualitative and quantitative arms race between Russia and the United States and NATO. …… https://carnegieendowment.org/2020/11/10/living-with-nuclear-prohibition-treaty-first-do-no-harm-pub-83198

November 26, 2020 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war

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