Letter: Still too many nukes
Aug. 6 and 9 mark the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – events which ushered in a cold war that at times threatened to engulf the world in nuclear holocaust.
Although the nuclear stockpiles of the Cold War have been significantly reduced, there are still nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons in existence, several thousand of which are intercontinental and still on “hair trigger alert.”
Today we have nine nuclear armed nations, not just the Security Council’s “big five.” There would be many more were it not for the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, now ratified by 189 nations. It provides that non-nuclear states get access to nuclear power, but pledge not to acquire nuclear weapons; in return the nuclear armed states promise to pursue “negotiations . . . in good faith . . . on cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament” (Article VI).
There are no such negotiations.
Last April, the Republic of the Marshall Islands – a U.S. nuclear test site from 1946-58, and which knows firsthand about human and environmental devastation – has filed suit in the World Court against each of the nine nuclear armed nations (and also against the U.S. in federal court) for breach of the NPT.
The Islands asks merely for a judicial order requiring these nations to commence negotiations per Article VI. Let’s support the Islands’ lawsuit.
We may never get a world without nukes, or even a future without more Hiroshimas, but we’re obligated to try.
RAY PERKINS JR.