Sunday, June 7, 2009

UN Puts Nuclear Disarmament on the Front Page

UN Briefing Promotes Development and Disarmament

by Mike Tolochko

The invitation to this briefing lamented the use of nuclear weapons and called for action: "Although nuclear weapons have only been used twice in warfare---in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945---about 26,000 reportedly remain in our world today, and there have been over 2,000 nuclear tests conducted to date. Disarmament remains the best protection against such dangers, but achieving this goal has been difficult and elusive."

This UN briefing by the UN Department of Public Information and Non-governmental organizations is in preparation for the Annual meeting of NGOs taking place in Mexico City, September 9-11, 2099.

Bombs and Small Arms

The briefing leaders, including Frida Berrigan, and other anti-nuclear war fighters drove home the point, "….the lack of progress toward disarmament is a major threat to human development on several fronts. In addition to the threat of nuclear weapons, there is a new danger posed by the large numbers of small arms circulating globally that are used in violent crimes within communities, to promote drug wars and to escalate conflict situations around the world. Large amounts of money are spent by states that can least afford it on huge national military and defense budgets."

Panelists made it clear that ending the selling of small arms was crucial to all nuclear disarmament treaties.

Interestingly, in the rather short invitation to the Briefing, the U.S. defense budget drew attention: "…exclusively military spending that diverts economic resources away from struggling communities and proactive national initiatives is a great obstacle to human development. The requested budget of the U.S. Department of Defence for 2010 alone is $533.8 billion, up from 2009." That, panelist's expressed great hope in the new U.S. Administration. Berrigan pointed to United For Peace and Justice as an organization which if fighting against increases in war materials.

Economic Crisis

The world economic and financial crisis was not forgotten. "As the world experiences the greatest international economic crisis since the 1930's, civilians and children are bearing the burden of conflict and spending more than ever before."

The only mention of the nuclear issues with North Korea came from Berrigan who said that is very important to determine the reasons that compel states to conduct nuclear tests and programs.

Clearly, with the crisis on the Korean Peninsula heating up; the India Pakistani crisis always present; and the under the radar potential nuclear crisis in the Middle East with Israel's nuclear stock pile and the Iranian nuclear power needs…..Disarmament must be put on the front stage. The economic crises demand it.