The UN’s Nuclear Weapon Talks May Be The Most Important Thing Nobody’s Paying Attention To

Posted by Talyn Brown-Wolf, March 31, 2017

Over protests from the U.S. and other nuclear powers, more than 120 countries began work on a treaty at the United Nations this week with the aim of banishing nuclear weapons from the face and the oceans of the earth… In a sign of mounting nuclear anxiety around the globe, the conference timeline is extremely condensed by U.N. standards. As early as July, Conference President Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica hopes to unveil a draft text — a “rapid pace,” she explained, “reflecting the urgency Member States attach to the need to realize progress in nuclear disarmament.”… The treaty text is expected to be a historic document, a landmark in collective security and international law. As a tool to force the nuclear genie back into the bottle, it is also expected to be roughly as effective as a plate of egg salad sandwiches… Everyone in the U.N. conference hall knows this, of course. The treaty is not a naive attempt to compel the immediate disarmament of the nuclear powers. As with other U.N. disarmament efforts, this treaty is about strengthening norms, nudging progress, and keeping the flame lit on the idea that humanity can overcome its historical cycle of mass bloodshed. The limited expectations surrounding the treaty are reflected in the language of even its most ardent supporters. Daryl G. Kimball, director of the Arms Control Association, released a statement that sounded like a lukewarm book blurb. A new treaty, he said, “could be a useful and timely contribution… It is a worthy goal.”


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