Nuclear weapons are extremely dangerous. Today’s weapons are 10–15 times more lethal than the two atomic bombs the US dropped on Japan in August 1945. Only a couple of bombs, resulting in a nuclear winter and rendering most parts of the world uninhabitable due to radiation poisoning, would wipe out most of humanity. Water would become polluted and little or no food would grow.
Nine countries in the world have nuclear weapons. Between them they possess some 15,000 nuclear bombs, with the US leading the pack at 8,000 plus. Several other countries are capable of making nuclear weapons — Canada, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Japan, etc. — but they have decided not to.
There have been strenuous efforts to ban nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) was passed on the premise that nuclear weapon states would reduce their arsenal, ultimately abolishing all of them. The non-possessors promised not to make them at all. While non-nuclear states have fulfilled their pledge, the nuclear states have refused to abide by theirs. Again, the US is the main culprit. Before he left office, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama allocated $1 trillion for the modernization of America’s nuclear arsenal. Some peacemaker!
Despite the hypocrisy of nuclear states, non-nuclear states continue to work toward a ban. Last July, 122 out of 193 member states of the United Nations approved a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. This came about after months of talks. The nuclear lepers, US, Britain, and France refused to attend.
On September 20, a day after US President Donald Trump’s arrogant and dangerous speech to the UN General Assembly threatening to destroy North Korea because of its nuclear tests, 45 countries signed the treaty within the first hour of opening.
“The treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons will enter into force 90 days after 50 countries have ratified it… There remain some fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in existence. We cannot allow these doomsday weapons to endanger our world and our children’s future,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said as he opened the treaty for signing.
While Trump has turned himself into the world’s policeman threatening any country that does not submit to his demands, North Korea has a very good reason for taking steps to defend itself. In the early-1950s, America bombed the country for three years destroying virtually every building. This was achieved after one year and when American pilots reported there were no more targets to hit, they were ordered to continue bombing for two more years. North Korea lost 40% of its population in the three-year blitz.
No responsible leader would expose his country and people to the nonexistent mercy of a US president, especially one like Trump. He behaves like a street thug and has no compunction about killing innocent people. His predecessors were no less ruthless even if they displayed some hypocritical sophistication in their pronouncements.
There are only two ways of securing peace in the world: either every country should have nuclear weapons, or none. The nuclear lepers reject this insisting on maintaining their hegemony. This is most clearly illustrated by the US and Israel’s attitude toward the Muslim East. Every country wants to make the region a nuclear-free zone except Zionist Israel. The Washington warlords back it. Zionist Israel is the only nuclear state in the region. This makes it a leper state.