Ban the Bomb!

Nuclear Weapons are now Illegal!

On 7 July 2017 an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations adopted a landmark global agreement to ban nuclear weapons, known officially as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). It entered into force on 22 January 2021 after it was ratified by 50 countries. As of April 2021 the Treaty has 86 signatory nations, and has been ratified by 54 of them. None of the nations that have nuclear weapons have yet signed the treaty, but as more nations sign on, the weight of public opinion on what is acceptable puts more and more pressure on the nuclear nations to come around.

The United States is not a signatory, but 42 cities (including Anchorage, Alaska) and 3 states have passed resolutions encouraging the United States to join the treaty. The ICANW Cities Appeal seems like a good place to put energy, with the possibility of local results.

There are 13,400 nuclear warheads in the world today. Each one of them can completely demolish a city. The United States and Russia account for over 12,000 of them. The rest are divided among the other seven nuclear nations.

There is a wealth of information on the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANW) website. That organization is working hard worldwide for the total elimination of nuclear weapons from the world, as we all need to do if we are going to survive.

Beyond the Brink is working toward more immediate goals of renouncing the option of first-use of nuclear weapons, ending the authority of the president, or any one person, to launch nuclear weapons, and ending the policy of keeping weapons on hair-trigger alert (“launch on warning” policy in Pentagon-speak). Accomplishing these three goals will immediately make our world much safer.

Within Alaska, Veterans For Peace Juneau (Chapter 100), with support from the Alaska Peace Center and North Star Veterans For Peace (Chapter 146) are sponsoring a workshop for Alaskan Youth this spring and summer. The Point Hope Congress Media Collab for a Nuclear-free Arctic is a short filmmaking creative opportunity for Alaskan youth supported by a crew of highly-experienced artists, filmmakers and nuclear nonproliferation activists.

Veterans For Peace National has established a Nuclear Abolition Working Group. They are working toward both the long-term goal of total abolition and the immediate goals outlined by Beyond the Brink.

Three books stand out for explaining how we got to where we are, and elucidating the extreme danger we face every day from having the massive nuclear arsenal over our heads:

  • Daniel Ellsberg. 2017. The Doomsday Machine, Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Bloomsbury, New York. 420 pp.
  • Scott Ritter. 2020. Scorpion King, America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump. Clarity Press, Inc., Atlanta. 501 pp.
  • William J. Perry and Tom Z. Collina. The Button: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump.
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