Why the nuclear ban treaty matters
July 16 marks the commemoration of the first atomic bomb detonation — the 1945 Trinity test in Nevada. The eagerly anticipated feature film, Oppenheimer, about Robert Oppenheimer, the later regretful “father of the atom bomb”, will open in cinemas on July 21. And it is now six years since the historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted at the United Nations, on July 7, 2017.
And yet, at the recent NATO meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, the group issued an appalling condemnation of the TPNW, stating that the treaty “stands in opposition to and is inconsistent and incompatible with the Alliance’s nuclear deterrence policy, is at odds with the existing non-proliferation and disarmament architecture, risks undermining the NPT, and does not take into account the current security environment.”
In this edition of Karl Grossman’s Enviro Close-Up, Seth Shelden of ICAN, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning group that was instrumental in achieving the TPNW (which entered into force on January 22, 2021), explains why the TPNW is the essential pathway to a nuclear weapons-free world.
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