When Dryden penned the phrase “War is the trade of kings,”1he was simply coining a tragic truism of his day. Kingship was hereditary in 1691, and the king’s subjects did his bidding, in particular the waging of war. By 1961, with the growth of democracies and human rights, things were supposed to be different. Yet the “kings” of the modern era—the victors of WWII— were, and still are “trading in war,” still producing and profiting from all manner of weaponry designed to wound, dismember, blind, burn and kill enemy populations. And the trump card in their deck for the last sixty years has been nuclear weapons.
Given how drastically the nature of war has changed, it is time question the lofty assumptions conveyed in Dryden’s dictum. Who still believes that modern war is capable of being honorably conducted by virtuous leaders? Is it not rather time to talk of a new kind of “trade,” based on peace? Robust foreign trade in a climate of peace may be, in fact, the “trade of the just,” as opposed to the trade of kings. And that very commerce, if wisely managed to further the goals of world peace and nuclear disarmament, could have a decisive effect in convincing the current “kings” of this world and their citizens that nuclear arms are no longer a useful asset.
Today there are nine nation-states capable of “trading” in nuclear war. God help us if they ever do! They polish and prime their arsenals in the vain belief that such weapons will make them more secure, more prestigious, more “kingly” if you will. They fail to realize that nobody wins if there is even a single nuclear exchange. They seem unwilling to “lock down” and eventually give up their thermonuclear bombs—even under the strictest of controls.
The possession of a nuclear arsenal, alas, has been seen as conferring special status within the United Nations on the oldest of the nuclearized states (the P5 in the Security Council: China, France, the Russian Federation, the U.K. and the USA). Their undeserved status has had the unfortunate effect of encouraging imitator-states, so that now there are four more in that club of dubious distinction (India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea). Other countries may be planning to join. The aim of this paper is to suggest strategies and methods that could be effective in convincing the nuclear-weaponized states, and any others that aspire to be such, that they would lose more than they gain by developing and/or maintaining their arsenals.
In 1943, the year I was born, the world was at war; but at that time at least there were no nuclear weapons. Incendiary bombs were bad enough; yet there was still a limit to how much death and destruction a single bomb could visit on mankind. Ever since 1945, however, when I was two years old, I and my generation, and eventually my children’s and grandchildren’s generation— we have all been subject to a threat of almost Biblical proportion and resonance. We have been living—and still live—just minutes away from either inflicting or suffering the worst blasphemy, the worst insult to God’s creation, the most horrendous and indiscriminate waste of human life, and the most lethal and persistent poisoning of the environment that the world has ever known.
The dream that I am sharing with you today is that we who are over 60 should be able to leave this world as free of nuclear weapons as it was when we entered it, so that those who are born in 2013, 2023, or 2033, will be able to look back over their lives and say:
“Yes, I was born into a world with many problems, but nuclear war was not one of them. Thanks to a coalition of non-violent, visionary states back in the early 21 st century, with the ability to see thermonuclear weapons for what they really were, and the courage to stand up for sanity and our common humanity, the nuclear-armed states were persuaded to give up their reliance on those terrible weapons. Planet earth, our lifeboat in the vastness of empty, cold, and lifeless space, still faces many problems, but anti-population warfare with environmentally catastrophic weapons. thank God, is not one of them.”
Some recent history—high notes and low notes
The United Nations charter was already signed in San Francisco, on June 26, 1945, weeks before we entered the nuclear age by exploding the first atomic bomb, July 16, 1945. A few months after the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, the very first resolution of the UN General Assembly, meeting in London on January 24, 1946, called for “the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.” It was passed unanimously… and nothing happened. Au contraire, within fifty years, the number of nuclear weapons in the superpowers’ arsenals had grown to more than 60,000. There still remain more than 30,000 today – equivalent in destructive force to some 200,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs.
General Assembly resolutions
The UN General Assembly has continued, year after year, to pass a wide variety of passionate resolutions on the subject of nuclear weapons: how to limit their development, testing, and use; and how to achieve disarmament. A search that I conducted in September 2005 of the information system at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library at the UN, seeking General Assembly resolutions involving the keyword-phrase “nuclear weapons,” found 158 such documents online. They date mostly from 1983 forward. Given these results within just a twenty-year period, I would estimate that the member states of the UN have passed resolutions in the General Assembly to limit, reduce, or eliminate nuclear weapons on more than 200 occasions already, usually with a wide majority bordering on unanimity. (Later we shall review the pattern of voting.) But still no real progress toward a serious Nuclear Weapons Convention has been made at the UN. Alas, the Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty at the UN in May 2005 was deeply disappointing, in that it “did little to tighten control over the spread of nuclear arms.”2
UN Security Council resolutions
Along with the 200-plus UN General Assembly resolutions, eloquent if weak, there have been at least seven Security Council resolutions on the subject of nuclear weapons (see Appendix A). They have generally dealt with specific issues of concern to the nuclear superpowers, like the behavior of India or Iraq. But none has hit home. None has resulted in the abandonment of thermonuclear weapons by any state that already had them. And none has prevented other states who were determined to acquire them from getting them. So much for the best efforts of UN diplomats. They can certainly sing the high notes, but they haven’t shattered any glass yet. The record shows that even the most sincere diplomatic efforts made at the UN, given its power structures and forums favoring the nuclear-armed states, have met with no significant nuclear disarmament successes.
At the other end of the political gamut, we are hearing today more and more a chorus of “low notes,” that is, voices from grass-roots organizations like the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation,, Abolition 2000, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and Mayors for Peace. They are part of a worldwide network of over thirty professional, civic, and non-governmental organizations – all with links to and from the wagingpeace.org Web site. They are doing great work to keep alive the conversation about the sacredness of human life and the utter waste and moral bankruptcy that building, storing, deploying, arming, and targeting nuclear weapons represents. But still, these groups are at best only raising awareness of a continuing problem and threat. By using words alone, even by speaking (as St. Paul says) with “the tongues of men and angels,” those of us who sing the “low notes” will probably never be able to persuade the nuclear-weaponized states, no matter how eloquently we speak, to collectively relinquish their supposedly sovereign right to stockpile and use weapons of mass destruction. So what will put those countries on a path to nuclear disarmament? How can we use appropriate leverage to make this dream a reality?
A new kind of chorus
The answer, I believe, lies neither in the “high notes” of UN diplomacy (always hampered by Security Council vetoes and the resistance of nuclear-armed states to any change in the status quo), nor in the “low notes” of grass roots mobilization alone. Rather, what we need to do is mobilize the already extant majority of nation-states, those 180-odd that are non-nuclear, in particular the 110 to 150 who consistently vote in favor of nuclear limitation and disarmament at the General Assembly. We need to encourage them to create their own worldwide coalition, celebrating and favoring their fraternal humanity and their restraint in “the trade of kings” in every conceivable peaceful way, and in like measure shunning and disfavoring for cause the nuclear-weapons-bearing states, their governments, and their business delegations, until they reform.
If the anti-nuclear majority could be brought together to form an effective coalition—perhaps called the Nuclear Disarmament Coalition (NDC)—its member states could provide the crucial leverage needed to achieve real progress toward disarmament. They could create the necessary conditions worldwide (not just rhetorically, in the halls of the UN) that would make it manifestly less advantageous, less convenient, less acceptable, more troublesome, and patently more costly for the nuclear states to cling to their warheads than to get rid of them. Somehow the nuclear-weapons-free governments need to get organized, and to start seeing themselves in a new light: as the “most favored nations” of planet earth… as “the new common market” of planet earth.
- They need to be encouraged to use every non-violent means at their disposal to confront any states that are out of line.
- They need to be encouraged to dream up the most colorful, most provocative, most imaginative of non-violent means to discourage the nuclear-weapons-club states from renewing their membership in that club.
- Keeping a nuclear weapons arsenal must come to be understood as:
- no longer fashionable (imagine how the entertainment industry could help here!),
- no longer economically advantageous (imagine having to pay more for everything if your country is not part of the NDC),
- no longer the way to get ahead in the world (imagine your delegations and cultural and industrial exports being shunned),
- no longer even socially acceptable (imagine not being invited to World conferences, fairs, and festivals!)
Real progress in nuclear disarmament, I am suggesting, will only come quickly if the nuclear-weaponized states are persuaded, in the face of resounding worldwide public opinion, that it is in their own best interest to disarm and rejoin the rest of the world. The NDC states will need to make a convincing case of how serious they are about obtaining a safer world, and clearly outline the geopolitical and commercial realignments and consequences that will result if nothing is done.
When I say “the rest of the world,” I’m talking about the true world majority in terms of:
- sovereign states (182 vs. 9), and even
- population (3.3 billion vs. 3.1 billion)(see Appendix B);
- potential developing markets, and even access to
- raw materials and essential commodities
These are the very factors that will be most important for the stimulation of growing economies and for improving the standard of living of the world’s citizens in the years to come.
On the subject of population: One should neither be unduly impressed nor discouraged over the coincidence of high-population countries and large nuclear weapons arsenals. It really has nothing to do with population. Nuclear weapons are usually a by-product of an overdeveloped military-industrial complex, coupled with a leadership living in fear, or needing to instill fear in order to be reckoned with. This is as true for tiny Israel and N. Korea as it is for giant Pakistan and India. It is possible, however, that the large populations of many nuclear countries currently assumed to be quietly favoring nuclear weapons will turn out to be the very vocal masses demanding disarmament from within. The more the merrier! This will be especially true if their imaginations can be fired by the dramatic steps the rest of the world might soon be taking to shun and disfavor nuclear-weapons-armed states.
One persuasive way to get the attention of rich nuclear countries may, in fact, be via their pocket books. When it comes to raw materials, the stuff that keeps the first world happy, the anti-nuclear majority of countries just might have a few cards to play.
Petroleum and Natural Gas
Only about a quarter of the world’s states, 46 of some 200-odd oil-producing states and protectorates, produce petroleum in quantities over 100,000 barrels a day. The top 46 producers (which include the 11 OPEC countries) account for nearly 75 million of the 76 million barrels produced daily. Saudi Arabia leads the world with 9 million bbl./day. Four of the nuclear-armed states—Pakistan (61,000 bbl), France (35,000 bbl), Israel (just 80 bbl) and North Korea (0)—are not in the league of major producers. Only the remaining five of nine nuclear-armed states are in that league: Russia, the U.S., China, the U.K., and India; but none is among OPEC’s eleven members. The five in question only produce collectively 22 million barrels/day—far from enough to meet their own needs. (See Appendix C)
The point of this discussion is to make clear that leverage for serious progress towards nuclear disarmament in fact is in the hands of about 40 major, nuclear-weapons-free, oil-producing states at this time, and will continue to be for the next twenty years. A polite, principled, and firm confrontation of the few (the 9 nuclear-armed, oil-consuming states) by the many—the 40 major oil producing states, with the promise of graduated price hikes for any states that refuse to adhere to an NDC-approved nuclear disarmament timetable, would certainly get the attention of the nuclear-armed states and their citizens. It would become a tremendous internal political issue. (See also Appendix C for similar figures regarding natural gas supply and demand worldwide.)
Coffee – 55 of the 56 countries that produce coffee worldwide are in the nuclear-weapons-free camp. The only exception is India,3 whose coffee production amounts to less than 4% of world production, and is largely consumed domestically. Imagine how the American, French, and British public would react if they woke up one morning to learn that the NDC states, which may include virtually every coffee producing country in the world, were instituting a new, dramatically higher price structure for coffee beans going to non-NDC states. Could Americans swallow that? How would they vote, if they had the ability to vote, on the one issue potentially keeping them from affordable and plentiful coffee every day?
Critical and Strategic Minerals — Although the nuclear-armed states recycle varying proportions of chromium, cobalt, manganese and platinum group metals, they are almost completely dependent on imports for new supplies. World production of these metals is dominated by a few countries, including South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, none of which is part of the nuclear-armed camp. Here is an interesting table about rare metals used in jet fighter engines. It was produced by Doug Davidson, a scientist with the Biosphere 2000 project. I think the implications are clear enough.4
|Amount of Strategic Minerals Used in One Jet-Fighter Engine and Percentage Supplied by Imports|
|Mineral||Amount Used (in tons)||Percent Imported|
Commodities — According to figures published in the current CIA Factbook online,5 US commodity imports account for the following percentages of our consumption: agricultural products 4.9%, industrial supplies 32.9% (crude oil 8.2%), capital goods 30.4% (computers, telecommunications equipment, motor vehicle parts, office machines, electric power machinery), and consumer goods account for 31.8% (automobiles, clothing, medicines, furniture, toys).
It would not be unreasonable to suggest that Nuclear Disarmament Coalition countries could decide to favor other NDC member states dramatically with their exports and pricing structures, and to do just the opposite in dealing with the nuclear-armed states that continue to hold out. The message to the few remaining states in the nuclear-armed club would be clear enough: Keeping nuclear weapons, besides being wholly unacceptable to the majority of your own country’s informed citizens, to the majority of the world’s citizens, and to the political leaders of the NDC, is bad for business, bad for trade, and will be detrimental to your supply of basic commodities.
How might the Nuclear Disarmament Coalition get started?
If it’s going to happen, I believe that it’s going to happen directly and multilaterally among interested states. We may continue for several more years to hear the “high notes” of UN resolutions, and the “low notes” of grassroots movements, but we probably won’t hear or see at the outset the “middle voices”—the quiet diplomacy that gets this movement started. As I have suggested in the attached one-page summary (Appendix E): “Imagine a non-nuclear host country inviting the foreign ministers of nearly all 180 other non-nuclear states to a meeting to create and celebrate a new alliance of countries fully committed to nuclear sanity and non-military dispute resolution.” Realistically the host country could be Ireland, Canada, Australia, Spain, Japan, or a Nordic country. It could even be France, the U.K., or India if one of them would kindly surprise the world soon by unilaterally ridding itself of its WMDs—a stunning possibility not to be ruled out!
I see the job of those who may be moved to action by this scenario, if indeed we are able to make common cause on this strategy, to be one of quietly and credibly pitching this plan to a series of most-likely host countries, one at a time, until we find one who will take the ball and run with it. We could even raise money for the initial founding conference of the NDC. I’ll bet that quite a few private foundations and businesses would contribute significant sums to help launch this humanity-saving initiative.6 After all, a peaceful world will be much better for business than one that remains on the brink of nuclear desolation, with the Doomsday Clock teetering at a mere seven minutes to midnight.
What about unanticipated consequences?
Would a serious, proactive NDC provoke unacceptable or dangerous consequences?This is an interesting question, because aside from economic blockades at various times, there has never been the use of principled, consciously non-violent confrontation tactics on the world stage before, especially in support of something which is manifestly in the interest of all humankind. Here are some random thoughts on this subject:
1. There could be nuclear isolationism. Isolationist elements in the nuclear-armed states could end up cheering that finally the rest of the world is separating itself from them. But when they began to encounter a divided and indignant world in which they themselves were in the decided minority, facing rationed coffee, heating oil and gasoline, I wonder if they wouldn’t reconsider their relative position, and ask themselves what they are really afraid of.
2. There could be trade wars. The nuclear-armed states could arguably launch trade sanctions of their own against particular NDC states, including the freezing of assets, military threats, and outright seizure of terrain and resources in those states. I would never minimize the economic damage that the world’s largest economies could wreak. But I do not think that world public opinion and domestic public opinion will stand for selfish gunboat diplomacy in the 21 st century. The bitterness and the human cost of American adventurism in Vietnam and Iraq will not soon be forgotten.
3. There could be accusations of blackmail. The nuclear-armed states could condemn NDC actions and threats as a form of blackmail, and “refuse to give in to blackmail” on principle, the merits of nuclear disarmament aside. It would be incumbent on the NDC states, therefore, to use the clearest possible language and the most persuasive communication models in waging its public relations campaign. It would need to make the world’s governments, media, and populations understand clearly its motives (the sacredness of life, human survival), and its methods: use of the very best models of non-violent resistance, as given to the world by none other than two current nuclear powers: India (Gandhi) and the USA (M. L. King).
4. The UN could be undermined. In fact, an effective Nuclear Disarmament Coalition could certainly be well represented in the present UN General Assembly. It could use that forum to great advantage. But NDC-introduced resolutions would be non-binding, and would probably never fly in the Security Council. Whether a strong NDC would undermine the UN, sidestep the UN, or cause its transformation for the better is an open question.
- It would not be the first time that the countries of the world acted multilaterally outside the UN, if it came to that. Many landmark international treaties and settlements have been made, in fact, bilaterally or multilaterally without UN auspices, and only later ratified by most other states with little or no direct UN involvement. The creation of Israel (1945), the crafting of the Antarctic Treaty (1956), the creation of Bangladesh (1971), and the Oslo Accords (1993) are cases in point.
- The empowering of up to 180 non-nuclear nations to make the most of their common agenda for humanity by embarking on an ambitious program of foreign trade, cultural exchanges, joint scientific ventures, and international development could well lead them to create their own successor UN-like forum. It might be called the United Non-Nuclear Nations (UN2) or United Non-nuclear States (UNS). And UN2/UNS Headquarters could spring up in a nuclear-weapon-free host country. I would especially love to see the successor host country be France or the UK, after either one unilaterally disarmed, breaking with the “gang of nine.” Only then could it, in fact, take the lead in creating and hosting the NDC.
The major nuclear-weapon-armed state that is first to rid itself of its arsenal would send a shock-wave of possibility-thinking and a challenge to geopolitical inherited widsom echoing ‘round the world. Its government would richly deserve the moral-leadership status among the nations that it would acquire. And if it capitalized on its leadership to create and host a genuinely proactive Nuclear Disarmament Coalition, it would reap enormous rewards in terms of international trade and good will. As the probable host to a new and reformed United Nations, it could well usurp the place of the United States as leader of the peace-loving world—a position to which the United States can no longer lay claim, considering its leadership in the conduct of overseas wars since the 1960s.
Which countries would probably make up the NDC?
On average there are about 110 to 150 countries whose UN representatives actually vote consistently in favor of most any resolution to limit, ban, or dismantle nuclear weapons. Appendix D conveys a sense of the voting records of those countries, showing how often they agree on this important matter. It also suggests which nuclear-armed states usually oppose the GA’s non-binding resolutions… if they bother to vote at all.
|Sample votes in G. A.:
Resolution 55/33 R (2000), A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons, sponsored by Australia and Japan, was adopted 155-1 (India opposed), with 12 abstentions.
Resolution 55/33 C (2000), Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: the need for a new agenda, sponsored by 63 States, was adopted 154-3 (opposed by India, Israel, Pakistan), with 8 abstentions.
Resolution 56/413 (2001), United Nations conference to identify ways of eliminating nuclear dangers in the context of nuclear disarmament, was adopted 115-7 (4 nuclear powers opposed, including USA, Israel, France, and the UK), with 37 abstentions.
Resolution 59/76 (2004), A path to general and complete disarmament, was adopted 165-3 (UK and Russian Federation in favor! India & USA, against), with 16 abstentions (including China and Israel)
Again, which countries would probably make up the NDC? No doubt all of the countries which regularly vote in favor of nuclear-weapons control and disarmament. These would be the core NDC member states.
Have other international coalitions been working to eliminate nuclear weapons?
There have been a few limited attempts in recent memory to organize both states and NGOs with a view to persuading the major nuclear-armed countries to work seriously toward disarmament. Perhaps the most significant of these on the geopolitical landscape has been The New Agenda Coalition, launched in Dublin in June 1998, with a Joint Declaration by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden (alas, Slovenia later withdrew in order to position itself for NATO membership). Its efforts have been endorsed by the European Parliament; a copy of that statement is available on the www.wagingpeace.org web site.
In the NGO arena there have been two significant recent developments, each with impressive memberships, agendas, and Web presences:
1. The Middle Powers Initiative. Through the Middle Powers Initiative, eight international non-governmental organizations (Global Security Institute, International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility, International Peace Bureau, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, State of the World Forum, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) have been able to work primarily with “middle power” governments to encourage and educate the nuclear weapons states to take immediate practical steps that reduce nuclear dangers, and commence negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons.
Middle power countries are politically and economically significant, internationally respected countries that have renounced the nuclear arms race, a standing that gives them significant political credibility. The campaign is guided by an International Steering Committee, chaired by Senator Douglas Roche, O.C., former Canadian Disarmament Ambassador.7
2. The Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament (PNND) is dedicated to providing parliamentarians worldwide with up-to-date information on nuclear weapons policies and to helping parliamentarians become engaged in nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament initiatives. PNND is a non-partisan forum for parliamentarians, nationally and internationally, to share resources and information, develop cooperative strategies and engage in nuclear disarmament issues, initiatives and arenas. It is a program of the Global Security Institute and is guided by the steering committee of the Middle Powers Initiative.8
Have they made any significant progress in furthering nuclear disarmament? Certainly the awareness of the gravity of the situation among the general public has been raised by these efforts. Yet for all their wisdom, creativity, and passion, these coalitions (to my way of thinking) have still lacked the leverage necessary to move their crucial agenda forward. It is likely that they would align themselves with and support in a heartbeat any country that took the lead in organizing a Nuclear Disarmament Coalition.
Strong medicine is desperately needed. A gesture to capture the world’s imagination is desperately needed, coupled with a new experiment in geopolitics: non-violent resistance among nation-states, on the international stage. That is what this paper is urging. Whether it begin with unilateral disarmament by one of the P5 states, or with an unprecedented organizing conference by the nuclear-weapons-free states, or with a carefully staged walkout by 190 states at the UN—something that is both dramatic and principled must be done to move our planet beyond its fatal complacency in the face of these awful weapons.
Every single nuclear weapons on earth today was created by flawed human beings—men with strong minds and strong patriotic emotions, but utterly lacking in what Norman Cousins called “moral imagination.” We reject their legacy. The time has finally come to do away with it. A serious Nuclear Disarmament Coalition using strong, non-violent confrontation tactics will provide the leverage needed to accomplish this goal within a decade.
Let me end by quoting what Joseph Rotblat said on this subject:
“Morality,” he wrote, “is at the core of the nuclear issue: are we going to base our world on a culture of peace or on a culture of war? Nuclear weapons are fundamentally immoral: their action is indiscriminate, affecting civilians as well as military, innocents and aggressors alike, killing people alive now and generations as yet unborn. And the consequence of their use could bring the human race to an end.” He ended his appeal with his oft-repeated plea, “Remember your humanity.”
Humanity should be proud to have had a dissenting nuclear scientist like Rotblat. David Krieger’s recent tribute to his passing states, “When he learned in late 1944 that Germany would not succeed in developing an atomic bomb, he believed there was no longer reason to continue work on creating a US bomb. For him, there was only one reason to create an atomic weapon, and that was to deter the German use of such a weapon during World War II. If the Germans would not have an atomic weapon, then there was no reason for the Allies to have one. Joseph was the only scientist to leave the Manhattan Project on moral grounds.”9
What the world now needs is a dissenting nuclear state to take a moral stand like Rotblat: to disarm unilaterally, and to start a chain reaction of a whole new sort: a Nuclear Disarmament Coalition that will finally provide the practical leverage needed to persuade the few remaining nuclear powers to put down their nuclear swords and shields, convert them to plowshares, stop threatening humanity, and study war no more!
UN Security Council Resolutions on Nuclear Weapons (in reverse chronoloical order)
7. Title: Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) [on non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons] UN Resolution Symbol: S/RES/1540(2004) Vote Date: 20040428. Voting Summary: Yes: 015, No: 000
6. Title: Security Council resolution 1172 (1998) [on nuclear tests conducted by India on 11 and 13 May 1998 and by Pakistan on 28 and 30 May 1998] UN Resolution Symbol: S/RES/1172(1998) Vote Date: 19980606 Voting Summary: Yes: 015, No: 000
5. Title: Security Council resolution 984 (1995) [on security assurances against the use of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon States that are Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons] UN Resolution Symbol: S/RES/984(1995) Vote Date: 19950411 Voting Summary: Yes: 015, No: 000
4. Title: Security Council resolution 825 (1993) [on the decision of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons] UN Resolution Symbol: S/RES/825(1993) Vote Date: 19930511 Voting Summary: Yes: 013, No: 000, Abstentions: 002
3. Title: Security Council resolution 707 (1991) [on Iraqi violation of Security Council resolution 687 (1991) with regard to inspection of its biological, chemical and nuclear weapons capabilities] UN Resolution Symbol: S/RES/707(1991) Vote Date: 19910815 Voting Summary: Yes: 015, No: 000
2. Title: Security Council resolution 487 (1981) [on the Israeli military attack on Iraqi nuclear facilities]. UN Resolution Symbol: S/RES/487(1981) Vote Date: 19810619 Voting Summary: Yes: 015, No: 0
1. Title: Security Council resolution 255 (1968) [on measures to safeguard non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons] UN Resolution Symbol: S/RES/255(1968) Vote Date: 19680619 Voting Summary: Yes: 010, No: 0, Abstentions: 005
Source: Dag Hammarskjöld Library at the UN, UBISNET Bibliographic Information System. Search terms were “Security Council” and “Nuclear.” Date was Sept. 2005.
Populations in Nuclear-Armed Countries vs. Populations in Nuclear-Weapon-Free (potential NDC) Countries
With China, India, and Pakistan currently in the nuclear-armed camp, one could well wonder whether the citizens of those states might actually outnumber citizens in the nuclear-free countries today. In fact they do not, but they come close. Here are the latest (9 August 2005) population figures from the online CIA Factbook. With a current world population of 6.4 billion, the nuclear cloud overshadows 3.1 billion; while 3.3 billion of earth’s inhabitants still live happily without the “protection” that such weapons afford.
Nuclear-armed countries Population Nuclear-free countries
countries account for a population of:
World population (Aug. 2005) = 6,446,465,983
The Growing Petroleum and Natural Gas Dependency of the United States
The USA alone consumes nearly 20 million barrels of oil per day, so we depend on imports from OPEC. But we’ve got competition. While only 46 countries are producing more than 100,000 bbl/day, 70 countries are already consuming more than that each day… and China’s demand seems to be growing the fastest (see chart below). Those 70 countries’ economies require 74 million bbl/day every day, just to keep steady, with no increase in GDP. The eight most developed nuclear-armed powers (not counting N. Korea) together consume 33.4 million bbl/day of petroleum. As previously noted, they only produce 22 million bbl/day among themselves, and are not very good about sharing it.
The projected dependence on external oil markets in the Asia-Pacific world alone should give us all pause as we contemplate a consumption vs. production table like this one, published in the Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2005:
Five of the states currently in the nuclear-weapons club are even less well endowed with natural gas than they are with petroleum. China, Pakistan, India, N. Korea, and Israel export zero natural gas, but collectively consume 75 billion cu. m. annually. Russia leads the world in the production and sale of this resource, exporting 171 billion cu m annually, followed by Canada, exporting nearly 92 billion. The United States by comparison, with its huge production and domestic consumption of gas (640 billion cu m. annually), only manages to export 11 billion cu m. One can already envision the U.S. developing a natural-gas dependency on foreign imports in the next few years,. Once again the suppliers could well be countries having a decided preference to trade with other nuclear-weapons-free states.
Select UN General Assembly Votes since 1998 on Nuclear Disarmament: How do the Votes Tally?
[For]-[Against]-[Abstentions] Non-voters are not recorded.
- Resolution 53/77 X (1998), Nuclear disarmament, sponsored by Myanmar on behalf of the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement), was adopted, 110-41-18
- Resolution 53/77 U (1998), Nuclear disarmament with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, sponsored by Japan, was adopted, 160-0-11
- Resolution 53/77 Q (1998), Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas, introduced by Brazil, was adopted 154-3 (France, USA, UK)-10
- Resolution 53/77 W (1998), Advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, introduced by Malaysia, was adopted 123-25-25
- The New Agenda Coalition (NAC) , launched in June 1998, consists of seven States, Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, and Sweden. At the 54th Session of the UN General Assembly, on 1 December 1999, a resolution (54/54 G) put forward by the NAC, “Towards a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: the Need for a New Agenda,” was adopted by 111 votes to 13 with 39 abstentions.
- Resolution 54/54 D (1999), Nuclear disarmament with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, spons. by Belgium, Japan, etc., was adopted 153-0-12
- Resolution 54/57 (1999), on The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, was adopted 149-3 (opposed by Israel, USA, and Micronesia)-with 9 abstentions.
- Resolution 54/63 (1999), for a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, sponsored by 63 States, was adopted 158-0-6
- Resolution 55/31 (2000), for the Conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, was adopted 111-0, with 54 abstentions.
- Resolution 55/33 C (2000), Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: the need for a new agenda, sponsored by 63 States, was adopted 154-3 (India, Israel, Pakistan), with 8 abstentions. (Favorable votes were way up from 111 in 1999.)
- Resolution 55/33 N (2000), Reducing nuclear danger, was adopted 110-45, with 14 abstentions.
- Resolution 55/33 R (2000), A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons, sponsored by Australia and Japan, was adopted 155-1 (India), with 12 abstentions.
- Resolution 55/36 (2000), aimed at averting the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, was adopted 157-3, with 8 abstentions. (Up from 149-3 in 1999!)
- Resolution 55/41 (2000), for a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, sponsored by 74 nations, was adopted 161-0 with 6 abstentions.
- Resolution 56/24 N (2001), A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons, was adopted 139-3 (India, the USA, Micronesia against), with 19 abstentions.
- Resolution 56/24 O (2001), supporting preparatory work on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: 2005 Review Conference, was adopted 156-1 (India) with 3 abstentions.
- Resolution 56/24 R (2001), calling for Nuclear Disarmament, sponsored by 48 nations, was adopted 149-3 with 6 abstentions.
- Resolution 56/413 (2001), United Nations conference to identify ways of eliminating nuclear dangers in the context of nuclear disarmament, was adopted 115-7 (4 nuclear powers opposed, including USA, Israel, France, and the UK), with 37 abstentions.
- Resolution 57/59 (2002), Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: the need for a new agenda, with its stronger language condemning nuclear weapons, was adopted 125-6 with 36 abstentions.
- Resolution 57/78 (2002), A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons, was adopted 156-2 (India and the USA against), with 13 abstentions.
- Resolution 58/35 (2003), to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, with its stronger language condemning nuclear weapons, was adopted 119-0 with 58 abstentions.
- Resolution 58/50 (2003), for the reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons, was adopted 128-4 (France, Russia, UK, and USA against), with 43 abstentions.
- Resolution 59/64 (2004), Assuring non-nuclear-weapons states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, sponsored by Pakistan and 20 other countries, adopted 118-0 with 63 abstentions.
- Resolution 59/65 (2004), Verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons , was adopted 179-2 (Palau and the USA against), with 2 abstentions (Israel and UK).
- Resolution 59/85 (2004), Calling for a nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas, sponsored by New Zealand, Costa Rica, and 34 other countries, adopted 171-4 (USA, UK, France, Palau) with 7 abstentions.
- Resolution 59/76 (2004), a path to general and complete disarmament, was adopted 165-3 (UK and Russian Federation in favor! India & USA, against), with 16 abstentions (including China and Israel).
Anti-nuclear votes at the UN General Assembly continue, with similar margins in favor (and patterns of opposition from the USA, Israel, India, China, etc.)
LEVERAGING THE ANTI-NUCLEAR MAJORITY: HOW TO CREATE A SERIOUS NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT COALITION (NDC)
Imagine most of the 180-odd non-nuclear  states of the world, on their own, without the permission of the superpowers, being invited to create a serious coalition of progressive nations, proud to reject nuclear weapons, and committed to the worldwide elimination of all WMDs.
Imagine a non-nuclear host country ( Ireland? Canada? Australia? Spain? Japan? a Nordic country?)  inviting the foreign ministers of nearly all 180 other non-nuclear states to a meeting to create and celebrate this new alliance of countries fully committed to nuclear sanity and non-military dispute resolution. This new, nonviolent diplomatic initiative might call itself something like the “Nuclear Disarmament Coalition” (NDC).
Representing the majority of UN member states, the NDC could raise the stakes for nuclear disarmament at the UN dramatically. Acting both within the present UN and independently, from headquarters in a non-nuclear host country, the NDC states could take strong actions like the following to achieve their objectives:
a. establish favorable trading agreements with other NDC states, and use their collective weight in international trade, markets, and raw materials to pressure nuclear states to abandon their WMDs;
b. work collectively by all available economic, diplomatic, and cultural means (including grassroots mobilizing, and media blitzes) to isolate nuclear states, conceivably even using trade and air travel embargoes;
c. in general force the issues of nuclear and other WMD disarmament and nonviolent dispute resolution in the interest of the world’s children and grandchildren—indeed, all humankind—by actively marginalizing the minority of states which still cling to these abominable relics of anti-population warfare.
If the nuclear minority at the UN blocked serious efforts to accomplish nuclear lockdown and a timetable for the elimination of nuclear weapons by a given date, NDC states could abandon the UN and create a successor diplomatic forum (perhaps called UN2, United Non-nuclear Nations). Full membership in the NDC and any successor forum would be offered only to nuclear weapons-free states, although nuclear-armed states could have observer status until they disarmed or began a NDC-monitored disarmament process. If successful, this initiative will lead the nuclear states to see the wisdom, indeed the urgency, of dismantling and destroying all nuclear weapons. It will ultimately induce them to join a new, more humane, more egalitarian world order, represented by the NDC (or UN2) charter—a diplomatic framework worthy of the 21 st century.
Creative nonviolence is at the heart of this proposal. Direct diplomatic, trade, and cultural confrontation of the minority (eight, including Israel, India, and Pakistan—perhaps nine or ten if N. Korea and Iran go nuclear) by the majority (180) could be our best and last hope for leveraging world nuclear disarmament. Carefully orchestrated, strong, non-violent words and actions, such as boycotts and media blitzes, trade embargoes, and other forms of confrontation on the international arena could create conditions of intolerable isolation for any and all nuclear nations, including aspiring ones. But time is of the essence!
Creating a new Nuclear Disarmament Coalition could send the necessary message to all actual and potential nuclear states: “Arm at your peril. You will lose more than you gain. The nations of the world will reject your goods, your services, and your leadership.” Were this all to occur, verifiable nuclear disarmament might be accomplished within five to ten years.
Thomas Heck, Emeritus Professor Ohio State University Phone: (805) 692-1969
1. King Arthur, act 2, sc. 2 (1691).
2. See the UN Press release of 27 May 2005 at <http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/dc2969.doc.htm>
3. Coffee production in the USA is negligible. According to the USDA, the US produced 170,000 bags of beans last year. Source: <http://www.fas.usda.gov/psd/complete_tables/HTP-table5-193.htm>
4. Davidson’s paper is entitled “Critical and Strategic Minerals,” and is published online at <http://www.environmentaleducationohio.org/Biosphere/Case%20Studies/minerals.html>
6. One can think not only of well-funded American charities, like the Gates Foundation, the Google Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trust, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, but also major international businesses and funds like Rotary International, OPEC, the Gulbenkian Foundation, and many UN-associated NGOs.
7. Source: <http://www.middlepowers.org/mpi/archives/000122.shtml>
8. Source: <http://www.gsinstitute.org/pnnd/about.html>
9. David Krieger, “Sir Joseph Rotblat: A Legacy of Peace (1908-2005),” at <https://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2005/09/01_krieger_sir-joseph-rotblat.htm> (September 2005).
10. Non-nuclear in this document refers only to nuclear weapons, not to nuclear power for peaceful purposes.
11. The eventual host country could even be France, the U.K., or India if one of them would kindly surprise the world soon by unilaterally ridding itself of WMDs. (Imagine the consequences in terms of good will, media attention, and moral authority!)