Jun 19 2017

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO BAN THE BOMB?

Frida Berrigan, daughter of Elizabeth MacAlister and the late Phil Berrigan, has written an excellent piece on the necessity of participating in the renewed anti-nuclear organizing efforts around the nation, and world. You can read it at this LINK.

An excerpt: “Nevertheless, the Doomsday Clock is still with us. In fact, it has been inching closer to midnight in two or three minute increments for the past 26 years. It is 2017, Philip Berrigan is 15 years dead, and I am an adult with my own movie-loving kids. In January, after the elections of Donald Trump, the Bulletin moved the clock to two and a half minutes to nuclear midnight — the closest it has ever been. In their statement, they pointed to the ways Trump is fanning nuclear flames by suggesting that Japan and South Korea should acquire nuclear weapons as a counter to North Korea, and making provocative statements about Iran. They also cite the multiple flashpoints between the United States and Russia — Syria, Ukraine, cyber-space — and worry about a new wave of hot proxy wars that defined the Cold War period. The scientists also included the existential threat posed by climate change in their analysis. They concluded by saying, ‘Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way.’

Most people my age and younger in this country aren’t really afraid of nuclear weapons. They are background noise; a tertiary concern after other more pressing issues take our attention. We see nuclear weapons mentioned mostly on television and the movies as plot devices, shadowy threats or ticking bombs that are defused at the last minute (with key bits of information extracted from the bad guys by torture just in time). But the issues raised by nuclear weapons haven’t changed all that much. There is still a preponderance of world-killing power concentrated in just a few hands — the United States and Russia hold more than 90 percent of all nuclear weapons — who along with three other major nuclear powers in France, the United Kingdom and China make up the P5, or the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. Russia and the United States toggle back and forth between having a slight advantage, depending on who is counting what kind of warhead. The three others have been 200 and 300 nuclear warheads.

There are four other countries — India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — that possess nuclear weapons, a few hundred between them. These four are outside of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which struck a bargain between world powers with nuclear weapons and the rest of the world. In the NPT, the P5 committed to nuclear disarmament and pledged to share nuclear power capabilities with the rest of the world, in exchange for other signatories not pursuing nuclear weapons technology. That is the heart of the hundreds of pages of the treaty. Iran was convinced to give up its nuclear weapons program by the Obama administration — a delicate set of agreements that Trump’s bombast is now endangering.

Between them, nearly 30 years after the end of the Cold War, the nine nuclear states have nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons, each one many times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, which killed hundreds of thousands almost instantly.”

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2017/06/19/what-will-it-take-to-ban-the-bomb

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