August 6 is Hiroshima Day, a day to remember and think about the most terrible war crime in the history of the human race, when the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945. Just the one bomb caused the death of 150,000 people and wiped out the entire city. The radiation contamination affected the population of Japan for generations.
Although 67 years have passed since “Hiroshima” the attack remains in the collective memory of the world. Leaders representing different religions, political parties, sciences, and civilians from every continent promised that there would never be another atomic attack, and Hiroshima today is a shrine to peace. But with the war between Russia and the Ukraine we are all at risk from arms much more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. Nuclear arms.
Russian president Vladimir Putin, has warned that his “nuclear force” is on alert for any country that helps Ukraine. French president Emmanuel Macron responded that France too has nuclear weapons and that NATO comprised of 30 countries under the leadership of the United States, is a nuclear alliance. NATO has nuclear arms deployed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Holland and Turkey. Poland is now clamoring for nuclear deployment too as “protection” from its neighbors, Russia and Bylorussia.
Now Finland, which shares a border with Russia, and Sweden, have solicited membership in NATO. Finland wants nuclear arms to protect its sovereignty and Russia has threatened to place nuclear arms along the frontier, aimed at Finland. (Reuters 4/14/22.)
In another part of the world Kim Jung Un has informed the world that North Korea now has the capacity to launch a nuclear arm at the United States or its neighbors in Asia. South Korea has no nuclear arms and is signatory to the No Proliferations Treaty but is closely allied to the United States which has 5,550 arms. Iran is another country with the capacity to develop nuclear devices.
There are 13,000 nuclear arms in the world among nine nuclear nations; United States, United Kingdom, France, Israel, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and North Korea, that can be launched from missiles, submarines, or carried in battles, and more are being developed. Do you believe that we are more secure with so many nuclear weapons?
We know the potential of the one atomic bomb that has been used so far. Today’s nuclear bombs are many times more powerful and they are in the hands of nine different leaders. Today’s populations are denser. Cities count their inhabitants in the millions. The deaths and destruction by a nuclear bomb would be incalculable.
But national leaders, presidents and prime ministers, officers of the armed forces, the arms industry feel that the numbers are insufficient. Charles Richard of STRATCOM warned the United States that there is a “gap in the capacity to deter” even with more than 5000 nuclear arms (rt. 5/622) All of the nuclear countries continue to develop and build more destructive weapons.
The war in the Ukraine is an excuse to start a new nuclear arms race, with more countries looking to be in on nuclear potential, either on their own or within an alliance. But the decision to launch a nuclear weapon is in the hands of one person or select group and never with the approval of the people. Today there are conflicts of various degrees in Syria, Aghanistan, Tigrey, Israel/Iran, India/Pakistan, Sri Lanca, Sudan and now Ukraine. Anyone of them could be the catalyst for a nuclear war. Where is the promised security from a nuclear attack?
In the year 2021 the Treaty for the Abolishment of Nuclear Weapons became a reality with the ratification of 50 countries. By now 66 countries have committed to the elimination of nuclear arms. We need to make the treaty universal. It is the only realistic means to prevent a nuclear war. Political and civic leaders, non-government organizations, and all of us, can help create a safer world by promoting and pressing for the treaty to abolish nuclear arms.
Olive Branch is the collective name for members of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Costa Rican section writers’ action group. WILPF was founded in 1915 in the Hague to promote peace and civil rights and today is part of ICAN, the International Committee to Abolish Nuclear Arms.
by Olie Branch (members of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Costa Rican section)
Mitzi Stark, Costa Rica (506) 2433-7078 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ida Vargas, Evelyn Dodero, et al.