During the 1960s the world was deeply worried that more nations would develop or acquire nuclear weapons.
Also, the non-nuclear nations were concerned that the few nations that did have nuclear weapons might use them.
In the late 1960s the world’s nations negotiated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a grand bargain between nations that had nuclear weapons and those that did not. It went into effect in 1970 – more than half a century ago.
The NPT was a very smart agreement. This is the grand bargain:
- Nations that did NOT have nuclear weapons agreed NOT to get them.
- Nations WITH nuclear weapons (5 at that time; there are 9 now) agreed to GET RID OF THEM promptly.
- Nearly every nation on earth ratified the NPT.
- Nearly every non-nuclear nation has complied with the Treaty.
- For MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY, all five of the nuclear nations that are parties to the NPT have been VIOLATING Their negligence and contempt for that treaty motivated the world’s non-nuclear nations to create the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW. See www.icanw.org for information.)
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is reviewed every five years. In August 2022, Joanne Dufour, a very active member of the Olympia Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (OCANW) attended the second week of those meetings in person at the United Nations. She got official credentials through a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), so she attended the actual sessions at the U.N. At the end of OCANW’s August 18 meeting, she presented a fascinating, informative and inspiring report – with great PowerPoint visuals. She is available to provide information and speaking engagements for other audiences.
Here is information about the NPT’s five-year review conference from another source:
On Friday August 26, 2022, after four weeks of deliberations, the 10th Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty concluded with no final agreement.
This was due primarily to the objection by Russia to parts of the draft final document, in particular the condemnation of military activities conducted near or at nuclear power plants including the Zaporizhzya nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which has been occupied and militarized by Russia.
These activities pose severe risks to the integrity of the nuclear power plant that could result in a nuclear catastrophe of a similar or worse nature than the Chernobyl nuclear accident. (See In Ukraine, a Nuclear Plant Held Hostage, NY Times, August 23, 2022).
The draft also affirmed that the security of non-nuclear States must be protected, and that States Parties must refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
While not mentioning Russia by name, this language was correctly perceived by Russia as condemning their invasion of Ukraine.
The failure of an NPT Review conference to adopt a final document does not necessarily imply a failed conference. Proposals discussed during an NPT Review Conference can take a life of their own despite of – or even stimulated by – the lack of agreed outcome.
This happened for example in 2015. … Despite no final agreement, the 2015 NPT Review Conference provided the incubation space [that was] taken up through UN General Assembly resolutions and processes. These resulted in the negotiations and adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the UN General Assembly in 2017….
During the September 15, 2022, monthly meeting of OCANW, Joanne provided more information about August’s NPT ’s five-year review conference, including this summary of a few of her main points today:
The Final Document of this Conference which could have changed the focus of the Treaty was not adopted due to the disagreement offered by the Russian Federation over selections included about the Ukraine. Those countries which proposed those statements in strong opposition to Russian actions did not agree in changing them. Another positive Included in the Final Document as prepared was a statement indicating that both the Russian Federation and the United States agreed to continue the START talks beyond the current deadline of 2026, which means further elimination of nuclear weapons is possible.
OCANW’s monthly meetings are a great way to stay informed of what’s happening with nuclear weapons – and how we can move ahead toward a peaceful world without them. If you want more information about the Olympia Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, contact me: Glen Anderson (360) 491-9093 firstname.lastname@example.org