The Guardian - Jacinda Ardern - Wed 24 Aug 2022 23.59 BST
In 1945 nuclear weapons were used in armed conflict for the first and only time. 355,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by two nuclear bombs.
Two. That number alone puts in stark perspective the world’s current arsenal of about 13,000 nuclear weapons.
The world can still step back from the abyss. The nuclear weapon states – the US, Russia, China, France, and the UK – must lead the way.
And yet in many ways, the 13,000 weapons held globally represent progress; it’s less than a quarter of the more than 63,000 weapons in circulation in 1985 during the cold war.
But what John F Kennedy said in 1961 at the United Nations is as urgent now as it ever was: “We must abolish these weapons before they abolish us.”
Over the more than 50 years since the inception of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, it’s played an important role in lowering the risk of these weapons abolishing us. In addition to the near 80% reduction in nuclear weapons, the treaty has also contributed to keeping a lid on the number of countries acquiring them. More countries have ratified the treaty than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement.
Right now in New York, there is an opportunity to go even further. And we must.
Our world is at greater risk of a nuclear catastrophe than at any time since the height of the cold war. Growing superpower tensions and two decades of stalled progress on arms control have pushed the risk of these weapons closer to reality.
Currently, 191 countries are meeting at the UN to renew the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and negotiations are going down to the wire. These talks offer a chance to breathe new life into nuclear disarmament at a time when the world needs that more than ever.
Nuclear catastrophe is not an abstract threat but a real-world risk. Nuclear weapons could be deployed in a conflict, as Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has intimated, or they could be deployed by miscalculation or mistake – real possibilities in times of heightened tension.
New Zealand is calling on the nuclear weapons states – the US, Russia, China, France, and the UK – to step back from the nuclear abyss and provide that leadership by committing to negotiate a new multilateral nuclear disarmament framework.
But from one of the best geographical positions in the world to be should nuclear fallout occur, why does New Zealand feel so strongly about this issue?
We are a Pacific nation. Our region bears the scars of decades of nuclear testing, on both the people and the lands and waters of our region. That’s why for 35 years New Zealand has been proudly nuclear-free and an international advocate for a world free of nuclear weapons.
This does not mean we are naive to real-world dynamics, nor does our geographic location mean we have the luxury of a moral stance that others do not. In fact, New Zealand’s message – that nuclear weapons do not make anyone safer and no longer have a place in our world – reflects the view of the overwhelming majority of countries. We just need to believe a different approach is possible.
We only have to look back in our history to map a path to a safer future. The lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and of testing in the Pacific, are reminders enough that there is never a justification for the deployment of nuclear weapons.
The challenges of agreeing on multilateral nuclear disarmament can seem overwhelming. But it’s not a task that can be put off indefinitely.
Right now, the treaty is under stress. It is affected by geopolitical developments including the tension between the nuclear weapon states. But, more fundamentally, there is growing skepticism and frustration about the intention of the nuclear weapon states to ever fully implement their nuclear disarmament commitments under the treaty, with those states arguing the global security environment makes doing so too difficult.
If this continues, there is a real prospect of countries losing faith in the treaty – putting at risk both the treaty’s role in progressing nuclear disarmament and in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons material.
There is a lot at stake in New York this week. Some might say that in the current global environment a new nuclear arms race is inevitable, and with it a further undermining of our nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. But I cannot accept a logic that suggests insecurity and instability render us incapable of doing the very thing that would help make the world less insecure and less unstable – an idea that the history of the treaty itself shows is false.
There can and should be a different trajectory – one of urgent leadership, of recognition of the nuclear precipice on which we are all standing, and of continued progress in our efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. It’s not only possible – it’s necessary.
- Jacinda Ardern is the prime minister of New Zealand
I write from Ukraine, where I've spent much of the past six months, reporting on the build-up to the conflict and the grim reality of war. It has been the most intense time of my 30-year career. In December I visited the trenches outside Donetsk with the Ukrainian army; in January I went to Mariupol and drove along the coast to Crimea; on 24 February I was with other colleagues in the Ukrainian capital as the first Russian bombs fell.
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Luke Harding - Foreign correspondent
*Follow the WEF trail to Switzerland to discover the Khazarian Mafia hiding behind Klaus Schwab and his cohorts. The US and its people have nothing to do with the disasters caused to the ordinary people of the Earth.
The Khazarians have once again constructed an intricate web, whose aim is to destroy the world's economy by setting people up against each other, blocking each other's supply chains, leaving just death and ruins.
What everybody must be aware of is that this is not a war to prevent Putin from occupying Ukraine, but an attempt by the evil Khazarian Jews/WEF/NATO to control yet another country in their growing New World Order. They are simply using Ukraine as a battlefield. Their plan is to destroy totally the world's economy and turn the population into slaves.
Like the Freemasons, they have also life-threatening rules in their membership, one being REVENGE, 10 times harder than was ever perpetrated on them.
Russia in particular, in the past, has expelled the Khazars several times. I have all of 7 detailed articles in book format on the Khazarian Jews if anybody is interested in further information.
Putin, and earlier also Trump, are the ONLY Presidents who have enough guts to see what they are attempting to do to the world population and have sufficient courage to do something about it.
The bottom line is for the people to regain their original, moral principles, which have intentionally been watered out over the past generations by our press, TV, and other media owned by the Illuminati/Bilderberger Group, corrupting our morals by making misbehavior acceptable to our society. Only in this way shall we conquer this oncoming wave of evil.
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