What? We Can’t Blow Ourselves Up?!


Perhaps I’m going to declare every Friday, Good News Day! I like that idea; what a good way to close the work week and instill some hope and warm fuzzies to take us into the weekend.

Today’s good news may come as a surprise to some, especially those who look to nuclear weapons with some degree of warmth; I’m talking about those countries that have arsenals that could wipe out everyone in one volley – you know, the threat of mass destruction in order to keep the peace. I know; it doesn’t make sense, but it’s the reality we all live.

As a microcosm to explain this global nuclear deterrent program, let’s pretend we live in a big house in the city. In order to keep the peace and avoid fighting, mom and dad have placed huge kegs of dynamite under the house with push-button igniters. If anyone gets out of line, either mom or dad will push the buttons, explode the dynamite, and bring the house down, which will likely kill everyone. Yep, in a nutshell that pretty much explains our global nuclear plan. Imagine if mom or dad are having a bad day and are fed-up with the kids for some reason!   

I remember back in the good ol’ days as a kid growing up in Idaho. Like everyone else, we had the nuclear bomb drills and lectures. As a little elementary school kid, I was taught how to hide out in our school’s bunker in case an atomic missile was sent our direction. The good ol’ days! Perhaps some of you recall those same drills.

Fact is, I saw the devastation in pictures of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; I knew intuitively that a piddly underground shelter built at the same time as our rickety old school building would likely not be enough to save me. But it was a good thought.

Here’s the story! Some nations ratified a treaty of sorts to outlaw nuclear weapons. Yeah, it was a United Nations action. I know, there are some folks on the planet that don’t give a hoot about the UN. I’ve heard all the stories and conspiracy theories – from the UN being a threat to national sovereignty to the UN conspiracy plans to destroy individual rights and freedoms. Imagine the horrible-ness of a group of the world’s nations getting together with the idea to protect rights and freedoms and with the purpose of promoting peace and stopping wars for ALL individuals. Yeah, I’m being sarcastic. But in my pursuits of international studies and research, I’ve found a lot of good the UN has done through its global influence, and I like their overall mission.

So, here’s the actual happy and uplifting story for the day, taken from the Good News Network. I hope you like it!

“A treaty that bans the use, manufacturing, sale, and maintenance of nuclear weapons has just received the 50th ratification needed to make nuclear weapons for the affirming nations illegal under international law for the first time in history.

Among the ratifying nations are regional influencers including Nigeria, Thailand, South Africa, Mexico, Austria, and New Zealand. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the treaty “a meaningful commitment towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons,” while the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) called it “historic.”

Honduras, the 50th ratifying nation, put pen to paper Saturday, October 24, on the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations — the international governing body formed in the aftermath of World War II with the express purpose of promoting peace and stopping wars.

Entering into force on January 22, 2021 for an “unlimited duration,” the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons bans all stages and uses of nuclear weapons within any nation that has ratified the treaty and includes mechanisms that will allow these nations to hold each other accountable should a breach in the treaty be found.

Nuclear-armed states including the USA, Russia, China, Britain, and France have not signed the treaty. While those nations haven’t adopted the treaty, the fact that it has passed the drawing board and entered into international law signifies the resolve of those governments committed to the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Setsuko Thurlow, 88, one of the last survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima is and has been a strong campaigner for the treaty as the founder of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for their efforts to establish the treaty that was launched in July that year.

Thurlow released a statement on her reaction when she first heard the final signatory had been found. “When I learned that we reached our 50th ratification, I was not able to stand,” said Thurlow, who was just 13 when the United State dropped an atomic bomb on her city.

“I remained in my chair and put my head in my hands and I cried tears of joy. I have committed my life to the abolition of nuclear weapons. I have nothing but gratitude for all who have worked for the success of our treaty.”  

It’s always intriguing to hear a person’s first-hand experience – in this case, with a nuclear bomb. I have a master’s degree in international relations – I understand the deterrent nature of weapons and their use in protecting a nation’s interests. I’ve written extensively on ideas and measures regarding peace-building through strength and violent deterrence. But at the same time, I applaud people who donate time to the cause of arms reductions and treaties that signify hope in peace through the act of ‘burying the hatchets’ and stressing the sanctity of life everywhere.

Good on those nations that have signed that treaty to abolish nuclear weapons! I applaud them.  

Published by Jeff Hicks

I am a podcaster and author working and living in the Western United States.

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