Magazine article Tikkun

Jonathan Granoff on Nuclear Weapons

Magazine article Tikkun

Jonathan Granoff on Nuclear Weapons

Article excerpt

ATWO-CLASS WORLD, WITH NUCLEAR WEAPON "HAVES" AND "HAVE NOTS," IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE cooperation needed to effectively protect the global commons, address crushing poverty, and ensure sustainable development.

We all depend upon the same climate, oceans, and rainforests for sustenance. To protect these living systems, as well as address systemic poverty, legally verifiable and enforceable cooperative regimes are necessary. If one country can dump toxins in the ocean, all can register ships under that country's jurisdiction and similarly pollute. If one country has nuclear weapons, others will want and eventually get them. Global norms must be established to effectively address global challenges.

Bridges of cooperation are needed more than ever, and nuclear weapons build walls. To expect countries to forsake short-term economic opportunities for long-term environmental responsibility while being second-class security citizens is unrealistic.

Nuclear weapons are more hazardous than any problem they seek to solve. To use them against another nuclear weapon state is suicidal, to use them against a state without them is patently immoral, and they have no utility against terrorists. Their possession by a handful of states is the greatest stimulant to their proliferation. The proposition that they can be retained in perpetuity and not be used by accident or design defies reason. Any use would be unacceptably catastrophic. There is no room for error.

By now 182 countries have forsworn nuclear weapons, and the entire southern hemisphere is covered by nuclear weapons-free zones. It is time that the entire world be freed from the risk these weapons pose.

The practical and moral imperatives for their elimination converge in this historic moment. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon set forth a consensus agenda in his October 24, 2008, presentation, Contagious Doctrine ofDeterrence Has Made NonProliferation More Difficult; we urge your leadership to help its realization. The Secretary General's proposals include the following:

1. All states party to the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty should fulfill nuclear disarmament obligations through either multiple instruments or a nuclear weapons convention.

2. Nuclear weapon states should unambiguously assure nonnuclear weapon states they will not be subject to threat or use of nuclear weapons. …

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