by Gerry Condon
"The End is Near" are ominous words carried by religious zealots, pessimists, and prophets of doom. Those who are sane, optimistic, and working actively for peace do not want to look like alarmists. Nonetheless, well-informed people know we are facing imminent death on a massive scale. Climate Disaster is unfolding rapidly before our very eyes. Then there is Nuclear War. Either one could put an end to human civilization.
What these two existential threats have in common is that the powers-that-be are doing almost nothing to address them, except to make them worse. Nero is fiddling while Rome burns. At least there is much public discussion about Climate Change.
One does not hear much these days about the growing danger of Nuclear War. Yet recent developments are, in fact, quite alarming, especially taken together:
- President Trump and his neocon advisers have pulled the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Deal. They are pressuring other countries to do the same, even while nuclear-armed Israel and the neocons beat the drums for war with Iran.
- The U.S. has pulled out of the Intermediate range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the fruit of a decade of the large anti-nuclear mobilizations of the 1980's, particularly in Europe where these small nukes were to be deployed. Russia has responded by also pulling out of the INF.
- The U.S. and North Korea have so far failed to agree to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, or even to formally end to the Korean War.
- The Trump Administration is providing nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, the fundamentalist monarchy and enabler of jihadi terrorist groups.
- The U.S. just built a new nuclear warhead and is determined to further modernize the entire "triad" of its nuclear arsenal – land-based, sea-based and air-based. And space too?
- None of the nine countries with nuclear weapons have signed the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
- As part of an aggressive military posture worldwide, the U.S. and NATO continue to threaten Russia on its very borders, tempting a nuclear war in Europe.
- Pakistan and India, both nuclear-armed, just fought a serious skirmish in their long war over Kashmir, including Indian aerial bombing of Pakistan for the first time in decades.
- The aggressive military policies of the United States will likely lead other nations to seek nuclear arms for their defense.
On the plus side, South Africa just became the 21st country to formally ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. As soon as 50 nations do so, it will become international law (and any nation using, threatening to use or even possessing nuclear weapons will be an outlaw).
Nuclear resisters persist. The Kings Bay Plowshares 7, courageous activists who were arrested after entering the Nuclear Submarine Base in St. Mary's, Georgia last April 4, continue to show a good example.
In May, the historic Golden Rule peace boat, a national project of Veterans For Peace, will head for Hawaii, the Marshall Islands and Japan, sailing for a "nuclear-free future and a peaceful, sustainable future."
Several chapters and members of Veterans For Peace are planning new initiatives for nuclear disarmament. VFP will be revitalizing our Nuclear Abolition Working Group. All those who are interested, should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep on Waging Peace! It is more important than ever.