(Image: meeting of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) DSG wide. Image by meetings.unoda.org)
(Video: Peace & Planet Online International Conference | January 4, 2022)
Peace & Planet Message to the 2022 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference and to the International Community
In 1955, at the height of the Cold War, the philosopher Bertrand Russell and the physicist Albert Einstein issued an appeal to the world to prevent nuclear holocaust. Most compellingly, their appeal stated:
“There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge, and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death because we cannot forget our quarrels? We appeal as human beings to human beings: Remember your humanity and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death.”
Today, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, set at 100 seconds to midnight, warns that humanity stands at the brink of apocalypse due to the twin existential threats posed by nuclear weapons and climate change. As stated by The Bulletin:
“Accelerating nuclear programs in multiple countries moved the world into less stable and manageable territory last year. Development of hypersonic glide vehicles, ballistic missile defenses, and weapons-delivery systems that can flexibly use conventional or nuclear warheads may raise the probability of miscalculation in times of tension.” Continuing preparations for nuclear war by the nine nuclear powers and the climate emergency are compounded by “the continuing corruption of the information ecosphere on which democracy and public decision-making depend.”
Solutions to these threats are readily apparent: fulfill the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty’s promise of a nuclear weapons-free world; end the use of fossil fuels; and make massive investments in green energy alternatives.
The entry-into-force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is a landmark achievement of the international peace movement, anti-nuclear Mayors, Parliamentarians, and governments. The realization of the TPNW demonstrates that the majority of the world’s nations stand in judgement – even outrage – at the failure of the original nuclear-armed states – joined now by additional nuclear powers – to fulfill their Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Article VI obligation to engage in good faith negotiations for the complete elimination of the nuclear arsenals. Trust has been further shattered by the nuclear weapons states’ failure to fulfill commitments reinforced by agreements made in connection with NPT Review conferences in 1995, 2000 and 2010, including an “unequivocal undertaking” to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.
The NPT’s disarmament obligations were universalized by the International Court of Justice, which in its 1996 Advisory Opinion issued an authoritative interpretation of Article VI, finding unanimously: “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.
Yet today, the nuclear powers are spending trillions of dollars to upgrade their omnicidal nuclear arsenals and delivery systems. Provocative military actions in the midst of increasing confrontations between the U.S. and NATO versus China and Russia, in Northeast Asia and in South Asia, heighten the danger that an accident, an unintended incident, or a miscalculation could ignite military – potentially nuclear – conflicts
The nuclear powers’ failure to fulfill their NPT obligations, their increasing investment in and reliance on nuclear weapons, ongoing “first use” nuclear warfighting doctrines of countries including the United States and Russia, and development of overwhelming conventional high-tech weaponry, encourage political and economic forces in other nations to seek their own nuclear “deterrent,” further increasing the dangers of nuclear catastrophe.
- The U.S. and Russia are spending trillions of dollars in their 21st century nuclear arms race to maintain and modernize every warhead and delivery system in their arsenals.
- Britain has announced it is increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal by more than 40%, from 180 to 260 warheads, and is reducing transparency about its nuclear arsenal, and it joined the U.S. and Australia in promulgating the nuclear AUKUS alliance in violation of Article VI of the NPT.
- France has launched a project to develop its third generation of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, designed to hold the world hostage until 2090.
- China is modernizing its nuclear arsenal and developing a nuclear triad for the first time, made up of new land and sea-based missiles and nuclear capable-aircraft. In 2020 China increased its stockpile from an estimated 290 warheads to 320.
- India increased its arsenal from an estimated 130-140 nuclear warheads in 2019 to 150 in 2020 and is threatening Pakistan and China with its nascent nuclear triad.
- Pakistan is developing a nuclear triad of its own. Unlike neighboring India and China, Pakistan does not have a “no first use” doctrine, and reserves the right to use nuclear weapons, particularly low-yield tactical nuclear weapons, to offset India’s advantage in conventional forces.
- Diamona, a secretive Israeli nuclear facility at the center of the nation’s undeclared atomic weapons program is undergoing what appears to be its biggest construction project in decades.
- In January 2021, North Korea pledged to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal and military potential. It declared its intention to advance its nuclear capabilities and strengthen military power. It has kept its promise to suspend nuclear and ICBM tests, but it continues missile launch tests including submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Even short of nuclear attacks, nuclear weapons devastate human lives as a consequence of radioactive poisoning from their production cycle and the diversion of essential human and financial resources: from stanching the Covid-19 pandemic and addressing other health crises; from the rising waters, devastating storms, and massive fires of the climate emergency; and from hunger, homelessness, and hopelessness.
The vision and possibility of a nuclear weapons-free world have existed since the earliest calls from Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bomb survivors, the world’s scientists, international civil society, and sobered national leaders and diplomats who understand that nuclear wars can never be won and must not be fought.
We call for:
- Immediate fulfillment of their Article VI obligations and past agreements to abolish nuclear weapons by the nuclear-armed states participating in the 2021 NPT Review Conference.
- Commencement of negotiations between Russia and the U.S. for deep reductions in their nuclear arsenals, to be joined at the earliest possible date by the other nuclear-armed states to achieve the global elimination of nuclear weapons.
- A halt in the development and deployment of all new nuclear weapons and delivery systems
- Significant reduction in spending for nuclear weapons and related systems, including dual use “missile defenses” and hypersonic weapons, and increased spending to address the climate crisis and other urgent human needs through national and international just conversion plans and ambitions.
- Support, signing and ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
- An end to nuclear sharing.
- Pursuit of settlement of conflicts through diplomacy and peaceful means based on the UN Charter and established international law and rules.
- Negotiations to fulfill the promise of the creation of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction.
- Common Security diplomacy to reduce military tensions and to create an environment more conducive to nuclear disarmament negotiations.
We call on the peace movements of the world for:
- Mobilization of people’s voices and opinions to exert maximum pressure on our governments, especially nuclear weapon states and their allies, to sign and ratify the TPNW.
- Demanding our governments to cut the massive spending on nuclear weapons and military to save people’s lives and living from the current pandemic through national and international just conversion plans and ambitions .
- Increased multi-issue international civil society collaboration to build the political pressure to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world.
- Organizing and joining the January 4, 2022 International Conference to be held as the NPT Review begins to rally and demonstrate the people’s demands and aspirations to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Peace & Planet Network Participating Organizations: Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Campaign for Peace, Disarmament & Common Security, Gensuikin, Gensuikyo, International Peace Bureau, International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War, International Trade Union Confederation, Mouvement de la Paix, Peace Action, Peace Action New York State, Peoples Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, Public Council of the South Coast of the Gulf of Finland, Stop the War Coalition Philippines, United for Peace & Justice, Western States Legal Foundation