This week’s edition will continue last week’s focus on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, aka the TPNW. A four part strategy to unite humanity in support of all the goals of the UN, including nuclear disarmament concludes the podcast.
The mission of the Voices of Humanity - Order Our of Chaos initiative is to build an online community forum that will heal the world, bringing order out of chaos. We are particularly aiming to bring in individuals and organizations who support the goals of the United Nations and/or who identify with such marginalized groups as: women, indigenous peoples, other disadvantaged minorities, refugees, veterans, the poor.
See https://voh.intermix.org, where you can also find the text for this podcast.
By giving each nation and religion its own collective voice in a global conversation capped by the Voice of Humanity-as-One, Voices of Humanity both transcends and supports our nations and religions.
Please be aware that the online Voices of Humanity Forum is still in test mode. The app will not be available until Spring of 2023. You are more than welcome to join the online conversation in desktop mode. Your participation will help us test the forum.
Welcome to the fourth Order Out of Chaos podcast. My name is Roger Eaton. The mission of the Voices of Humanity - Order Out of Chaos initiative is to build an online community that will heal the world. This week’s edition will continue last week’s focus on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, aka the TPNW. A four part strategy to unite humanity in support of all the goals of the UN, including nuclear disarmament concludes the podcast.
The recent Vienna statement by the 68 TPNW nations mentions the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The NPT was part of a movement for world peace that sprang from the original goals of the UN. Of course there must be general and complete disarmament hand in hand with nuclear disarmament. Why? Because in an us-vs-them world a nuclear armed nation with less conventional arms than its foes have, Russia for instance, will not give up its nukes. Is it an us-vs-them world? Yes, the very existence of nuclear arms themselves tells us so. It is a vicious circle. Nuclear arms feed on themselves.
The Vienna statement at one point mentions “the fallacy of nuclear deterrence doctrines”. Nuclear deterrence is based on the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine, known as the MAD doctrine. If a nation has been destroyed by nuclear attack, but has “second strike” capability, why would it bother to strike back? MAD seeks to assure the world that a nation will strike back even if it has nothing to gain by doing so. “Launch on warning” takes it a step further. There have been several instances where the U.S. and the Soviet Union came close to starting a nuclear war by mistake. President Ronald Reagan famously thought he could recall the missiles after he pushed the button. The Cuban Missile Crisis also shows us that nuclear deterrence can fail. Thank you again, Vasily Arkhipov! [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasily_Arkhipov]
It is true that a nuclear war did not happen during the Cold War, also that a nuclear war has not occurred between India and Pakistan despite the serious dispute over Kashmir. Was that the result of nuclear deterrence as the nuclear armed states would have us believe? Maybe, though we see from Putin’s invasion of Ukraine that nuclear weapons do not bring peace. Whether deterrence has had any positive effect or not, the fact remains that at the national level, nuclear armed states believe their horrific weapons make them safer, and that without them, even if the whole world gave up their nukes, conventional war would be much more likely, leading to nuclear rearmament and usage. This is actually a good argument why conventional disarmament must go hand-in-hand with nuclear disarmament.
Now that is at the national level, but things are very different at the city level. The cities do not have nukes and they are the target, so of course they are against nuclear arms. The global Mayors for Peace network has 8,200+ member cities and is a great reminder that cities already stand for nuclear and general disarmament. City support for the TPNW is also growing. In the US, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC and many more cities have appealed to the US government to sign the TPNW. [for example, see the Philadelphia Resolution here].
There is an important relationship between nuclear disarmament and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A 2018 article on the icanw.org website (https://www.icanw.org/tpnw_and_sdgs) details how the use of nuclear weapons will threaten the fulfillment of the SDGs. Well, that’s not news exactly, but there is more to it than that. For one thing, failure of the SDGs will all too likely lead to nuclear war. Failure on climate change alone will have catastrophic effects. On May 26, 2022, the UN warned that “Total Societal Collapse” is becoming a real possibility. Under such conditions international war leading to nuclear war is also a real possibility. Most importantly, nuclear weapons create a global climate of fear that underlies an us-vs-them mentality. The truth is that we live in either a win-win world or a lose-lose world, but the nations are too focused on what they think is best for themselves. Yes, they think, we better work on climate change, but if the other nations are not willing to take a hit to their economy, then neither are we. The result is that CO2 and methane and refrigerant gases are not being contained. The SDGs must be packaged with the original goals of the UN: peace and disarmament.
Optimism and resolve, as the TPNW Vienna Statement has it, are indeed indispensable. The TPNW and the NPT together are our best route forward for nuclear disarmament, but it is important to realize that a silo based approach that focuses solely on nuclear disarmament is not going to work. We need a broader strategy. I have four suggestions. First, make it not just nuclear disarmament. Adopt all the goals of the UN, including nuclear and general disarmament with human rights and the UN Strategic Development Goals. Second, build a global network of cities that are considering adopting all the goals of the UN, including the TPNW, for local implementation and/or support. Third, bring in the TPNW nations to help fund the global cities network. Fourth, find or build an online forum designed to bring together supporters of the UN Goals at the city level, nationally, and globally. Voices of Humanity comes to mind! We need that sense of solidarity at the global level that VoH is designed for. More along these lines in the next Order Out of Chaos podcast.