Nuclear weapons are abhorrent in anyone's hands.
Imagine if the Biological Weapons Convention said that polio and small pox as weapons are banned universally but the plague as a weapon can be brandished and held at the ready by nine countries because these special countries are uniquely moral, restrained, trustworthy, and responsible.
Such is the incoherence in which the world is living under the sword of nuclear annihilation.
Although the US and Russia, with over 95% of the over 25,000 nuclear weapons in the world, have a special responsibility to lead in disarmament, all the other states which posses nuclear weapons, except for North Korea, have sufficient arsenals to unilaterally, irreversibly terminate civilization as we know it. Thus, any call for disarmament must include China, France, UK, Israel, Pakistan and India.
For these reasons a universal, nondiscriminatory, legally verifiable treaty banning nuclear weapons is needed. It is noteworthy that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has circulated a draft Model Nuclear Weapons Convention to all member states.
Is the political climate ripe for the commencement of negotiations to achieve this ban? Presidents Obama and Medvedev say they want to achieve a nuclear weapons free world. With the nuclear weapons free zone treaties of Rarotonga (South Pacific), Pelindaba (Africa) and Tlatelolco (South America) the entire Southern Hemisphere of the planet is virtually nuclear weapons free. The obligation to achieve nuclear weapons elimination has been stated clearly by the International Court of Justice and is embodied in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Yet, leaders say the political climate is not ripe yet. Our job is to change that.
First, we must support policies that will bring us closer to abolition and reject those that do not.
Second, we must alert every citizen on the planet that the future of their families depend on reaching new levels of shared responsibility to protect the climate and that the necessary bridges of cooperation will not be built if the walls of fear and unimaginable violence represented by nuclear weapons remain standing.
Civil society has led in achieving gender equity, social justice, environmental responsibility and it must now lead in achieving a nuclear weapons free world. The military planners will never lead us to a nuclear weapons free world. President Obama's supporters must remind him that security policies cannot be centered around sustaining military bureaucracies but must be reoriented to enhance the lives and security of real people.
Human security is the goal and state security is a means to that goal. It must never be a barrier. As the Berlin Wall came down, as the wall of apartheid came down, it is time to take down the wall of nuclear weapons. We are one human family; it is time and necessary to live that way.
Jonathan Granoff, President Global Security Institute, online here.