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Question: Can we abolish all nuclear weapons? CPNN article: Sir Joseph Rotblat: A Legacy of Peace (1908-2005)
CPNN Administrator
Posted: Dec. 31 1999,17:00

This discussion question applies to the following articles:

Sir Joseph Rotblat: A Legacy of Peace (1908-2005)
Nuclear Weapons Production in the US
Cuban movement for peace and sovereignty of peoples
Movimiento Cubano por la Paz y la Soberanía de los Pueblos
Nuclear disarmament: Greenpeace Champions the Marshall Islands
U.S. Conference of Mayors Adopts Bold Resolution on Nuclear Disarmament
Nuclear forces reduced while modernizations continue, says SIPRI
Las Fuerzas Nucleares se Reducen pero Continúa su Modernización, Afirma el SIPRI
Les Forces Nucléaires Diminuent, mais leur Modernisation se Poursuit, selon le SIPRI
The Hiroshima Appeal
Armes nucléaires : les bonnes questions...
Nuclear arms: the big questions...
Oslo: Historic global conference prepares ground for new initiative towards ban treaty
Poster exhibition on the atomic bomb damage
U.S. Conference of Mayors Adopts Strong New Mayors for Peace Resolution
Ten Actions for Nuclear Abolition Day - June 2
World's Largest Humanitarian Meeting Takes Position against Nuclear Weapons
La plus grande réunion humanitaire du monde prend position contre les armes nucleares
La reunión humanitaria de mayor convocatoria mundial toma posición contra las armas nucleares
Peace and Planet Events, April 24-26 in New York City
33 Latin American and Caribbean states endorse Austrian Pledge and call for negotiations on a nuclear ban treaty
US Kills Nuclear-Free Mideast Conference, Citing Israel

For articles since 2016, click here .
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CPNN Administrator
Posted: Sep. 04 2005,05:31

(continued from main article)

Joseph was for many years the General Secretary of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, and later served as president of the Pugwash Conferences.  In his work with Pugwash, he was instrumental in bringing together scientists from East and West, so that they could find common ground for ending the Cold War with its mad nuclear arms race.  In 1995, Joseph and the Pugwash Conferences were joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.

He began his Nobel acceptance speech by saying, "At this momentous event in my life…I want to speak as a scientist, but also as a human being.  From my earliest days I had a passion for science.  But science, the exercise of the supreme power of the human intellect, was always linked in my mind with benefit to people.  I saw science as being in harmony with humanity.  I did not imagine that the second half of my life would be spent on efforts to avert a mortal danger to humanity created by science."

In his speech, he reasoned that a nuclear weapon-free world would be safer than a world with nuclear weapons, but the danger of "ultimate catastrophe" would still exist.  He concluded that war must be abolished: "The quest for a war-free world has a basic purpose: survival.  But if in the process we learn how to achieve it by love rather than by fear, by kindness rather than compulsion; if in the process we learn to combine the essential with the enjoyable, the expedient with the benevolent, the practical with the beautiful, this will be an extra incentive to embark on this great task."

When Joseph came to Santa Barbara in 1997 to receive the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Peace Leadership, I asked him, "What gives you hope for the future?"  He responded, "My hope is based on logic.  Namely, there is no alternative.  If we don’t do this [eliminate nuclear weapons and engender more responsibility by scientists as well as citizens in general], then we are doomed.  The whole existence of humankind is endangered.  We are an endangered species now and we have to take steps to prevent the extinguishing of the human species.  We owe an allegiance to humanity.  Since there is no other way, then we must proceed in this way.  Therefore, if we must do it, then there is hope that it will be done."

Earlier this year, Joseph made an appeal to the delegates to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, held in May at the United Nations in New York.  "Morality," he wrote, "is at the core of the nuclear issue: are we going to base our world on a culture of peace or on a culture of war?  Nuclear weapons are fundamentally immoral: their action is indiscriminate, affecting civilians as well as military, innocents and aggressors alike, killing people alive now and generations as yet unborn.  And the consequence of their use could bring the human race to an end."  He ended his appeal with his oft-repeated plea, "Remember your humanity."

I visited Joseph at his home in London just a few months ago.  He had been slowed down by a stroke and was disturbed that he wasn’t able to be as active as he’d been accustomed.  But his spirit was strong, and he was still smiling and looking forward.  He was as committed as ever to his dual goals of achieving a world without nuclear weapons and without war – goals to which he had devoted the full measure of his energy, intellect and wisdom.  

Joseph has left behind a strong legacy of peace.  It is our job now to pick up the baton that he carried so well and passionately for so long, and continue his legacy.
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Posted: Oct. 12 2005,14:53

I think we all  should join efforts to promote a culture of peace between people and groups, developing strategies in our area of influence to make people sensible about the importance of peace around the world.
As a teacher, educator and researcher on education for peace, I do believe in the importance of education to contribute to promote a culture of peace.
I think educational policies may promote peace through curricular and pedagogical practices, which value cultural plurality and diversity including race, class, religion, gender, ethnic problems and all kinds of categories related to these.
I hope we may discuss more and I would appreciate the opportunity to exchange experiences with all involved with this issue.
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jhon foundation
Posted: July 05 2011,13:16

The answer is YES we can. The majority of countries, especially, the least developed, do not possess these mass destructive weapons. The culprits who encourage proliferation of nuclear weapons are those that have them. If the super powers like USA and Russia decided to rid themselves of these weapons many other countries like India could destroy what they have and others could be discouraged to acquire them. The riddance of nuclear weapons depends on political will from the haves. For as long as some have the weapons, those that do not possess feel threatened and hence become eager to acquire them. Why should some possess them and others forbidden to acquire them? The Fukushima Disaster of Japan has opened peoples’ eyes and had seen how destructive and sophisticated the problem nuclear can cause. Some countries have started considering to shutting down some of the facilities that produce nuclear power for civilian use. If the Security Council of the United Nations looked at this issue with open and unselfish mind, the answer to this world threatening weapon could be found and implementation could not be a problem since stakeholders will be willing to destroy them. The scenario now is that big powers that have them stop others to acquire them at the pretext that they may use them indiscriminately against them or neighbours. This is promoting proliferation of the weapons secretly.
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CPNN Administrator
Posted: Oct. 06 2012,14:32


30 August 2012 — The following opinion piece by Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon has appeared in leading newspapers in Argentina, Bangladesh, Burundi, China, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, The Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and European weekly publications and has been translated into 10 languages.

Last month, competing interests prevented agreement on a much-needed treaty that would have reduced the appalling human cost of the poorly regulated international arms trade. Meanwhile, nuclear disarmament efforts remain stalled, despite strong and growing global popular sentiment in support of this cause.

The failure of these negotiations and this month's anniversaries of the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki provide a good opportunity to explore what has gone wrong, why disarmament and arms control have proven so difficult to achieve, and how the world community can get back on track towards these vitally important goals.

Many defence establishments now recognize that security means far more than protecting borders. Grave security concerns can arise as a result of demographic trends, chronic poverty, economic inequality, environmental degradation, pandemic diseases, organized crime, repressive governance and other developments no state can control alone. Arms can't address such concerns.

Yet there has been a troubling lag between recognizing these new security challenges, and launching new policies to address them. National budget priorities still tend to reflect the old paradigms. Massive military spending and new investments in modernizing nuclear weapons have left the world over-armed -- and peace under-funded.

Last year, global military spending reportedly exceeded $1.7 trillion – more than $4.6 billion a day, which alone is almost twice the UN's budget for an entire year. This largesse includes billions more for modernizing nuclear arsenals decades into the future.

This level of military spending is hard to explain in a post-Cold War world and amidst a global financial crisis. Economists would call this an "opportunity cost". I call it human opportunities lost. Nuclear weapons budgets are especially ripe for deep cuts.

Such weapons are useless against today's threats to international peace and security. Their very existence is de-stabilizing: the more they are touted as indispensable, the greater is the incentive for their proliferation. Additional risks arise from accidents and the health and environmental effects of maintaining and developing such weapons.

The time has come to re-affirm commitments to nuclear disarmament, and to ensure that this common end is reflected in national budgets, plans and institutions.

Four years ago, I outlined a five-point disarmament proposal highlighting the need for a nuclear weapon convention or a framework of instruments to achieve this goal.

Yet the disarmament stalemate continues. The solution clearly lies in greater efforts by States to harmonize their actions to achieve common ends. Here are some specific actions that all States and civil society should pursue to break this impasse.

* Support efforts by the Russian Federation and the United States to negotiate deep, verified cuts in their nuclear arsenals, both deployed and un-deployed.

* Obtain commitments by others possessing such weapons to join the disarmament process.

* Establish a moratorium on developing or producing nuclear weapons or new delivery systems.

* Negotiate a multilateral treaty outlawing fissile materials that can be used in nuclear weapons.

* End nuclear explosions and bring into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

* Stop deploying nuclear weapons on foreign soil, and retire such weapons.

* Ensure that nuclear-weapon states report to a public UN repository on nuclear disarmament, including details on arsenal size, fissile material, delivery systems, and progress in achieving disarmament goals.

* Establish a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

* Secure universal membership in treaties outlawing chemical and biological weapons.

* Pursue parallel efforts on conventional arms control, including an arms trade treaty, strengthened controls over the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, universal membership in the Mine Ban, Cluster Munitions, and Inhumane Weapons Conventions, and expanded participation in the UN Report on Military Expenditures and the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

* Undertake diplomatic and military initiatives to maintain international peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons, including new efforts to resolve regional disputes.

And perhaps above all, we must address basic human needs and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Chronic poverty erodes security. Let us dramatically cut spending on nuclear weapons, and invest instead in social and economic development, which serves the interests of all by expanding markets, reducing motivations for armed conflicts, and in giving citizens a stake in their common futures. Like nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, such goals are essential for ensuring human security and a peaceful world for future generations.

No development, no peace. No disarmament, no security. Yet when both advance, the world advances, with increased security and prosperity for all. These are common ends that deserve the support of all nations.
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