Time to Pledge Nuclear Disarmament

National Catholic Reporter, May 26, 1995 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Time to Pledge Nuclear Disarmament

The good news earlier this month was that more than 170 nations agreed to extend in perpetuity a treaty intended to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. The Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was made permanent by acclamation.

The bad news was the nations could not agree on a final document. This was largely because the major nuclear weapons nations refused to commit themselves in any concrete way to ridding themselves of their dependence on nuclear weapons.

That maintains a basically unstable two-tier world: those with and those without nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, the United States, by holding onto its weapons while lobbying hard for other nations to keep from developing their own, is on thin moral grounds.

The nonproliferation treaty, which went into effect in 1970, by agreement was to be reviewed this year to decide whether it should be extended for a set period, ended or prolonged indefinitely. The treaty limits nuclear weapons to the five nations that had them at the time -- the United States, Britain, France, China and the Soviet Union, now Russia. All other signers had to promise not to acquire them.

This month's announcement followed four weeks of intensive U.S. lobbying and sometimes bitter debate between the five declared nuclear powers, all of whom favored indefinite extension, and those nations without nuclear arms, which were hesitant to see the treaty extended indefinitely in its present form. They argued -- understandably -- that the treaty had allowed a small number of countries to maintain an unfair monopoly over nuclear arms.

For its part, the United States insists on continuing its decades-old nuclear deterrence path. Even well into the post-Cold War era, it refuses to renounce the use of nuclear weapons or to seriously commit itself to total nuclear disarmament.

It was in 1983 that the U.S. bishops, in "The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response," offered their "strictly conditioned moral acceptance of nuclear deterrence." This conditioned moral acceptance, however, was based on "progress toward a world freed of dependence on nuclear deterrence." Such a world, the bishops added, "must not be delayed."

Progress has been made toward disarmament, and people of goodwill disagree on whether that progress has been too fast or too slow.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Time to Pledge Nuclear Disarmament


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?