In a victory for peace activists around the world, a historic decision made by the UN brings us closer than ever to our mission of ending the arms race and eliminating nuclear weapons.
Today, July 7th, at 12pm EDT, the United Nations approved a 10-page treaty to ban nuclear arms. Months of negotiations beginning in March of this year culminated in a final draft immediately endorsed by 122 countries.
The final draft of the treaty, titled “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”, requires that all states who have ratified it "never under any circumstances to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices."
More than 130 countries participated in discussions, boycotted by most members of NATO. None of the nine nuclear-armed states (Russia, the United States, China, India, Israel, France, North Korea, Pakistan and the United Kingdom) took part in the negotiations.
Instead of negotiating in good faith to reduce and eventually eliminate its nuclear arsenal, as called for in the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty to which it is a signer, the U.S. is building ever more lethal nuclear weapons, and deploying "missile defenses" that make a U.S. first strike nuclear attack more possible.
Furthermore, U.S. wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and its aggressive military posture vis-a-vis Syria, Russia, China and North Korea are inviting the very real possibility of a catastrophic nuclear exchange.
Certainly, this is even more scary with the unpredictable brinkmanship of President Donald Trump, who has asked, "if we have them, then why don't we use them?"
These are dangerous times indeed, but such dangers can focus the collective mind and create new possibilities for real change, if activists and organizers are prepared to seize the moment.
Along with a ban on nuclear weapons, the U.S. and the world must recommit themselves to the UN Charter which forbids military intervention and requires respect for the sovereignty of all nations.
While the approval of the treaty by the UN is a great triumph, the hardest part is yet to come. Make sure to follow the Golden Rule, Veterans For Peace’s anti-nuclear peace boat for updates on what you can do to ensure that the remaining nations ratify the treaty and eliminate nuclear weapons entirely. It's not just about peace and justice; it's about the survival of all life on earth.