Now is the time to ban nuclear weapons
Published 8:51 am Wednesday, August 9, 2017
By Tom H. Hastings
We have been living with nuclear weapons for 72 years, so that must make them safe and sustainable, right?
Nuclear weapons are the only way we have of killing most humans on Earth in the space of a few hours — far more immediately than global climate chaos, which is itself a dire threat. Indeed, reliable astro-scientists assure us that they predict no giant meteor collisions nor anything else that can wreck life on Earth for at least millennia, except the ultimate self-inflicted nuclear apocalypse.
Most of humankind understands this, most of humankind is not defended in any conceivable fashion by the godawful weapons in the arsenals of just nine of the 200 nations on Earth.
That is why we are witnessing a political showdown between the overwhelming majority of the planet’s countries and the nine nuclear powers.
Oh, you hadn’t heard about this conflict? That is hardly surprising in our strange media and political atmosphere of random bellicose presidential tweets, votes on whether to slash healthcare for our most vulnerable citizens, and narcissistic speeches to the bewildered Boy Scouts. Not to mention the deranged cockfight environment we are witnessing inside the inner circle in the oddest, most dysfunctional White House in U.S. history.
Far more meaningful in the long arc of human history and certainly in our hopes for future generations is the recently passed treaty to ban all nuclear weapons on Earth.
Yes, there have been sidelong, kick-the-warhead-down-the-timeline attempts before, including the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the stalled Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, but now comes a full frontal legal and worldwide political assault on the enemy of the generations, nukes.
And we have seen successful treaties to outlaw both biological weapons (1972) and chemical weapons (1992), neither of which have ever been capable of the immediate and long-term threat to life locked and loaded in the arsenals of just nine nations.
Naturally, it is The World v Nuclear Weapons Nation-states, plus a few nations who don’t have nukes but whose economic and political arms have been twisted, primarily by the U.S.
The 72 years since the atomic annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is nothing more than a quick eyeblink in the long span of human history and prehistory. Nukes are a single incident away from wrecking your life, your great-grandchildren’s lives, and those of everyone else. They are now officially criminal and have always been evil.
Now is the most opportune time ever to let your federal elected officials know that we stand with the vast majority of people on planet Earth. It’s time. Sign that treaty and get it ratified. Save the world, literally.
(Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director. He is an author and educator. His latest book is titled “A New Era of Nonviolence.”)