Nuclear Abolition News | Media Network GC Council*
Viewpoint by Frederick N. Mattis**
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (USA) - In the 2011 Peace Proposal, which deserves world attention, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda recaps the relatively successful 2010 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference -- with its official acknowledgment that only the "elimination” of nuclear weapons can eliminate their catastrophic dangers. Thus the crucial importance, he writes, of establishing "at an early date a treaty or 'Nuclear Weapons Convention' [NWC] comprehensively prohibiting [nuclear weapons]." JAPANESE TEXT VERSION - PDF
Underlying that goal is his conviction that humanity must move away from violence and war and "construct a new era founded on respect for the inherent value and dignity of life," which requires "the passionate commitment and action of awakened citizens who alone can create a new direction and current in history." Regarding nuclear discussions among states, the SGI president affirms that negotiations should have a goal that "is not confined to arms control but aims toward a clear vision of nuclear weapons abolition." Indeed, as long as any state possesses nuclear weapons, some other states will do the same.
The major benefits to all people and states of nuclear weapons abolition can be summarized as, first, freedom from nuclear war or nuclear attack; second, freedom from possible "false-alarm" nuclear missile launch; and third, freedom from the threat of terrorist acquisition (by theft or other means) of a nuclear weapon.
To achieve a nuclear weapons-free world, all states will have to join a nuclear weapons ban [in legal form of Nuclear Weapons Convention] before its entry into force -- pre-eminently including the nuclear weapon states. (In order of attainment of nuclear weapons, those familiar states are the USA, Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea.)
All the nuclear weapon states have their "rationale" for their arsenals; but a large swath of those reasons are ripe for re-thinking, because expansionist communism is now isolated, diminished, and moribund, and the former Soviet Union for two decades has been separated into 15 countries, and the Warsaw Pact is no more (while NATO remains).
Also: a reputed motivation, at least a partial one, for some states to have nuclear weapons is the supposed "status" conferred on a state by virtue of being a "nuclear power"; but such motivation or basis would disappear in a world where no states possess nuclear weapons, under an enacted Nuclear Weapons Convention. In addition, it is likely the case that today's nuclear weapon states, although increasingly aware of the nuclear abolition movement, have not -- yet, that is -- fully considered the unprecedented geopolitical, legal, psychological, and moral force for nuclear ban compliance of an NWC that all states join before its entry into force, and that treats all states equally (i.e., "fairly") by barring nuclear weapons to all, and that relieves all people and states of the nuclear threat.
One "trouble-spot" is, of course, North Korea; and Ikeda observes that "the long-term peace and stability of the region clearly hinges on an early resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue." At present, there is much "nuclear mistrust" between North Korea and the USA and other states; but that does not mean North Korea would not join, and abide by, a worldwide nuclear weapons ban.
(The USA possesses, worldwide, 500-1000 times as many nuclear weapons as the five-to-ten currently estimated for North Korea; and the USA has never approached North Korea about the prospect of a worldwide nuclear weapons ban.)
If, as recommended and as mentioned earlier, an NWC's entry-into-force provision is "all states" as ratified signatories, that would be the strongest inducement for all to join -- because under an enacted (unanimously joined) ban, all would be liberated from the dangers of nuclear war or attack, and "false-alarm" nuclear missile launch, and possibility that terrorists could acquire a weapon from a state’s [current] arsenal.
In contemplating nuclear abolition, one invariably also thinks of Israel -- and Israel (estimated to possess at least 100 nuclear weapons) as with all countries would have to join a nuclear weapons ban before its entry into force. Assuming achievement of an enacted, unanimously joined NWC, Israel then would no longer be under its ongoing yoke of trepidation that a Mideast "rival" state will develop a nuclear arsenal -- because inspection would be applicable to all states under the nuclear ban, and because of the unprecedented geopolitical and other force of an NWC joined by Iran, Syria, Israel, and all other states before it takes effect.
Also, Israel under a worldwide nuclear ban would be freed from the threat that terrorists might acquire (by theft or otherwise) a nuclear weapon from a state; and if the nuclear ban stipulates blending-down of readily weapons-usable highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched, the potential avenue of terrorists creating their own nuclear weapon with HEU would also disappear.
(Besides HEU, the other main fissile material for a nuclear weapon is plutonium. Due to neutron emission, however, plutonium is not usable for a relatively simple "gun-type" nuclear weapon that terrorists likely could fabricate with HEU if merely assisted by a few rogue technicians.)
Another inducement for Israel to join a prospective Nuclear Weapons Convention hinges on the NWC requiring states to join the current chem-bio weapons bans (CWC/BWC) before signing the NWC. If that is required (as is here recommended), then the chance of chem-bio weapons stockpiling by a state and a chemical or biological attack against Israel (or any state) would be virtually eliminated -- because states would foresee the massive worldwide opposition that would instantly be arrayed against any pernicious violator of a worldwide CWC or BWC (or violator of a unanimously joined, enacted NWC).
CIVIL SOCIETY AND NWC
SGI president Ikeda states in the Peace Proposal: "If global civil society can raise its voice and increase its presence, bringing about a tectonic shift in international public opinion, this would be a force that no government could ignore. It is necessary to begin a process that will crystallize the will of the world's people in a concrete and binding legal form. This is the clear goal toward which we should move."
The consensus is that the actual "legal form" will be a Nuclear Weapons Convention; and major progress toward that goal has already been made with a draft "Model Nuclear Weapons Convention" (see link to MNWC at lcnp.org, and see Appendix A, "Analysis of the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention," in the book "Banning Weapons of Mass Destruction" by this writer).
Ikeda speaks at times like a waterfall, as: "The crucial thing is to arouse the awareness that, as a matter for human conscience, we can never permit the people of any country to fall victim to nuclear weapons, and for each individual to express their refusal to continue living under the shadow of the threat they pose. We must each make a personal decision and determination to build a new world free of nuclear weapons. The accumulated weight of such choices made by individual citizens can be the basis and foundation for a Nuclear Weapons Convention."
Some may say, though, "The world is a dangerous place; we cannot trust other nations; some might attempt to cheat on an NWC." But it is not simply, solely, or even primarily a matter of trust -- although an NWC would have a worldwide inspection (verification) regime, including "challenge inspections" as with today's CWC. Every state would invariably perceive and foresee that if it or any state perniciously violated the NWC, such a state would become the political foe (at minimum) of the world’s other states.
The key, then, is requirement of unanimity of accession by states to the NWC before it takes effect, so that it will be truly worldwide -- and this "required unanimity" would also be an incentive for "all states" to join, because it would give an enacted NWC unprecedented geopolitical and other force. In addition, all states under the nuclear ban would know that only by their ongoing compliance with the NWC would all people and states be and remain free from present vulnerabilities to nuclear war or attack, "false alarm" nuclear missile launch, and terrorist nuclear acquisition. (And if states must join the CWC and BWC before signing the NWC, then chem-bio weapons would be banned worldwide by the time the NWC has been joined by all states and is poised to enter into force.)
In the Peace Proposal, before the SGI president proceeds to an important section on developing a culture of human rights, he concludes on nuclear weapons: "The time is indeed ripe for global civil society to take united action. The SGI will continue to promote the People’s Decade for Nuclear Abolition, with particular focus on efforts to bring a nuclear Weapons Convention into being…"
He then commends the great role of youth, and the goal of 2015 for a nuclear abolition "summit" (preferably at Hiroshima or Nagasaki). Ikeda's concern about nuclear weapons is really his concern for human beings -- who all have the right, and indeed the innate desire, to live free of the nuclear weapons risks we now confront.
**Frederick N. Mattis is an independent scholar and author of "Banning Weapons of Mass Destruction" [ISBN 978-0-313-36538-6], published by ABC-CLIO/Praeger Security International. (Media Network GC Council/12.03.2011)
2011 Media Network GC Council
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