Real progress or empty rhetoric?

DAYTON, Ohio - Mark 28 Thermonuclear Bomb on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

“The People’s Republic of China, the French Republic, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America consider the avoidance of war between Nuclear-Weapon States and the reduction of strategic risks as our foremost responsibilities.”

This was the opening paragraph of a January 3, 2022 joint statement issued by The White House.

“We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” the statement went on.

Let us not mistake this for a commitment to disarmament. Nuclear weapons should, said the Big Five, “serve defensive purposes.” But any “further spread of such weapons must be prevented.”

This amounts to the same, continued stance, of nuclear “haves” and “have nots.” How can nuclear weapon states argue that theirs are needed “for defensive purposes” but the rest of the world must do without?

We’re not making an argument here for (nuclear) arming everyone. Quite the reverse. It is a reminder that the nuclear weapon countries are still very far from disarming — as witnessed by the current buildup of their respective arsenals — and still cling to the deluded notion that atomic arms are defensive weapons.

As Beatrice Fihn, director of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, tweeted in response: “They write this ‘nice’ statement but doing exactly the opposite in reality. They’re in a nuclear arms race, expanding nuclear arsenals, spending billions on modernizing & constantly prepared to start a nuclear war.”

(Photo of four Mk-28 thermonuclear bombs by US Air Force/Wikimedia Commons)

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