Friday, October 06, 2017

The world has nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize honors the quest to abolish all of them.

 An international group dedicated to eliminating nuclear weapons won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, a recognition of efforts to avoid nuclear conflict at a time of greater atomic menace than any other period in recent memory.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was honored for its work to foster a global ban on the destructive weapons, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said. The scrappy civil-society movement was behind a successful push this summer for a U.N. treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons. It promotes nuclear disarmament around the world.

The award comes amid rising global alarm about a potential nuclear conflagration. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has hurled threats of nuclear missile strikes against the United States, and President Trump has warned he could “totally destroy North Korea” if provoked. The barbed exchanges have raised fears among many global leaders of a miscalculation that could end in cataclysmic conflict.

Separately, Trump plans next week to “decertify” Iran’s compliance with an international agreement that limits its nuclear program, a step that European allies worry could lead to nuclear proliferation.

“The risk of nuclear war has grown exceptionally in the last few years, and that’s why it makes this treaty and us receiving this award so important,” Beatrice Fihn, the Swedish executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, said in a telephone interview. “We do not have to accept this [risk]. We do not have to live with the kind of fear that Donald Trump could start a nuclear war that would destroy all of us. We should not base our security on whether or not his finger is on the trigger.”

ICAN recognizes that nuclear weapons will not disappear any time soon. But Fihn said a ban is still a realistic long-term goal, similar to the way an international taboo was created around the use of chemical weapons.

“Keeping nuclear weapons legal isn’t going to help things,” she said.

The decade-old Geneva-based coalition, which was modeled on international efforts to ban land mines, has branches in more than 100 countries.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was approved by two-thirds of U.N. members in July, but it has not attracted support from any of the world’s nine nuclear powers, which together possess nearly 15,000 atomic weapons. The United States and others boycotted the U.N. discussions that led to the treaty.

The White House and leaders of other nuclear powers have instead endorsed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which limits but does not ban the powerful weapons. Russia and the United States hold the world’s largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons.

“The Nuclear Ban Treaty does not move us closer to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement. “In fact, it risks undermining the progress we have made over the years in disarmament and non-proliferation.” 

The White House and leaders of other nuclear powers have instead endorsed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which limits but does not ban the powerful weapons. Russia and the United States hold the world’s largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons. - More, washingtonpost

The world has nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize honors the quest to abolish all of them.

1 Comments:

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