In my blog entry entitled 'The End Of A Nuclear Era', I spoke about the historic moment on 07/07/2017 where countries agreed a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
Since then, more than 50 states have signed this treaty and last weekend the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) had the honour of being presented with the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee cited ICAN for "its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons." Jody Williams also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for the treaty banning landmines. These weapons are now no longer in use and countries continue to work to dismantle landmines, this will be the case for nuclear weapons soon too.
This is a huge step forward for nuclear disarmament, bringing nuclear weapons at the forefront of debate especially in such uncertain times; the Presidents of the U.S. and North Korea have been using worrying rhetoric around the potential for war. But this is why the treaty is needed. The treaty makes; "developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons [illegal]." This is a comprehensive ban on nuclear weapons.
Why America should take note
Making these weapons illegal means that anyone who continues to develop them would be breaking international law. So if America or any other nuclear power is looking for a means to bring sanctions on a country that is being threatening, having nuclear weapons is now grounds for further sanctions and consequences. But nuclear states must commit to this treaty first.
For far too long, nuclear States under the Non Proliferation of Nuclear weapons Treaty (NPT): China, France, Russia, U.K. and the U.S.; have told us that they would love to get rid of nuclear weapons so that future generations will not have this hidden lurking danger that could potentially wipe out an entire country. But these words have not been followed up by action. These countries' failure to act as they promised when signing the NPT, which detailed that they would work to eliminate nuclear weapons, meant that other countries have now developed nuclear weapons including India, Pakistan and Israel.
Countries outside of the original Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty will not follow a policy that says 'do as we say and not as we do'. It is time for the nuclear weapons states to finally fulfil the promise they made during the NPT and ban nuclear weapons once and for all. The current Nuclear Ban Treaty goes further than the NPT ever did and is open to all states sign.
The Nobel Peace Prize going to ICAN, and the recent meeting of UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, with the organization shows that banning nuclear weapons is a priority in a way that has not been before.
The recent exchanges between the U.S. and North Korea have only served to highlight this issue further. Prior to this, most civilised countries had declared that they would never use this barbaric weapon and that it is seen as a deterrent to war [unrealistically so]. But the recent exchanges have made people more and more aware of the dangers of nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weapon states will soon see that it is unrealistic to continue to keep such horrific, indiscriminate, expensive weapons - costing the U.K. a mere £100,000,000,000 annually - money that could be better spent elsewhere. In this new era where conflict is taking on a new guise, where conflict comes more and more in the form of terrorism and cyber threats; archaic weapons like this one are not designed to tackle modern-day challenges.
We can be one of the countries that take a stand early. To be part of the solution, write to your local MP and urge them to speak out about the Treaty and write to your UN Ambassador via ICAN's website: http://nuclearban.org/. The change has already begun.
The timeline of nuclear weapons is limited.