The nuclear powers consisting of the P5 members of the U.N. Security Council led by the United States and the nations of Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan are drifting toward irrelevance in the legally mandated global effort to abolish nuclear weapons. The nuclear nine are in breach of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). 189 nations signatory to the treaty have just concluded the month long NPT Review Conference at the U.N. with no consensus or meaningful final draft statement to move the process forward. The rest of the world is being held hostage by these nine to the current nuclear insanity that threatens all of humanity every moment of every day.  

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These nuclear nations have chosen to conveniently deny the relevance of recent scientific evidence that confirms that even a small regional nuclear war is far more dangerous than once thought. Using just ½ of 1 percent of the global nuclear arsenals for example between India and Pakistan would put 2 billion people at risk of death on the planet from the dramatic climatic change and severe global famine that would follow such a war. These climate effects would last for more than 10 years. Based on this new scientific evidence, the world’s superpowers have become de facto suicide bombers because a unilateral attack from their massive arsenals even without a retaliatory response would have far more devastating effects endangering their own populations as well. Faced with these facts 107 non-nuclear nations thus far have come together and said enough.  Representing a majority of the world’s population and signors of the NPT treaty, they have lost their patience and are declaring the nuclear nations insincere in their efforts and will no longer be held hostage.  

Fortunately there is a powerful and positive response coming out of the NPT Review Conference. The Non-Nuclear Weapons States have come together and demanded a legal ban on nuclear weapons like the ban on every other weapon of mass destruction from chemical to biologic and including land mines. Their voices are rising up. They have committed to the Humanitarian Pledge following the pledge by Austria in December 2014 to fill the legal gap necessary to ban these weapons.  That means finding a legal instrument that would prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. Such a ban will make these weapons illegal and will stigmatize any nation that continues to have these weapons as being outside of international law. 

Costa Rica’s closing NPT remarks noted, “Democracy has not come to the NPT but Democracy has come to nuclear weapons disarmament.” The nuclear weapons states have failed to demonstrate any leadership toward total disarmament and in fact have no intention of doing so.  They must now step aside and allow the majority of the nations to come together and work collectively for their future and the future of humanity. John Loretz of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War said, “The nuclear-armed states are on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of morality, and the wrong side of the future. The ban treaty is coming, and then they will be indisputably on the wrong side of the law. And they have no one to blame but themselves.”

Ray Acheson of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom says, “Those who reject nuclear weapons must have the courage of their convictions to move ahead without the nuclear-armed states, to take back ground from the violent few who purport to run the world, and build a new reality of human security and global justice.”

And thus the nuclear nations drift toward nuclear irrelevance.

Dodge is a family physician practicing full time in Ventura, California. He serves on the Los Angeles and National boards of Physicians for Social Responsibility (www.psr-la.org, www.psr.org).  He also serves on the board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org) and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions (www.c-p-r.net).