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IPPNW calls for end to conflict in Ukraine

May 20, 2015

The IPPNW Executive Committee discussed the conflict in Ukraine during a conference call on May 19, and has issued the following statement:

The ongoing crisis in Ukraine has raised grave concerns about the potential for escalation among the nuclear-armed states engaged in this tragic armed conflict. Nuclear weapons cannot have any role—even rhetorically—in the difficult and dangerous conflict in Ukraine. Rather, what is needed is humanitarian aid for all civilians who are suffering so terribly from this violent conflict. We therefore call on all parties, including Russia, the US, the European Union, and NATO to change course, to ensure that the conflict does not escalate any further and is brought to an end, and to begin what will have to be a long and difficult process of reconciliation. Europe must be the area of peace, culture, and collaboration that its entire population deserves, rather than a field of armed conflicts. IPPNW-Germany has published a statement on the Ukraine conflict that we highly recommend to the entire IPPNW federation and to all others concerned with bringing peace to this region. We also encourage all IPPNW members to participate in the “We refuse to be enemies” project organized by IPPNW-Germany.

All that glitters is not gold

May 19, 2015

Reductions in nuclear weapons are not the same as nuclear disarmament

On the plane over here, I read an essay in the Financial Times in which the author asks whether there is such a thing as an Obama Doctrine in foreign policy. The criticism of the US President is that he has mistaken declaratory speeches – like the one in Prague in 2009 – for a strategy. Actually, his main goal in the area of foreign policy was to reduce military costs to pay for sorely needed reforms in domestic policies, such as the health care plan. At least with the nuclear weapons budget, he has failed spectacularly. Read more…

Time to look beyond the NPT

May 12, 2015

When this NPT Review Conference began, I wrote that the outcome would depend on how seriously the humanitarian impacts initiative and the Austrian Pledge were taken up by the member states as a basis for new and effective action on disarmament. Halfway through the month-long conference, the disappointing answer is taking shape. Read more…

An NPT pop quiz

May 11, 2015

Can you name the “official” NPT nuclear-weapons states?

If you said the US, Russia, the UK, France, and China…you’re wrong. Read more…

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula?

May 8, 2015

Can Korea be reunited after almost 70 years of complete division between North and South? This is the dream of many in the older generation in both parts of the country. The younger people in South Korea do not seem to care so much about the North.

North Korea has a few nuclear weapons and may be producing a few each year. South Korea has a military alliance with the USA, including a “nuclear umbrella,” a pledge from the US to use nuclear weapons, if needed, to defend their ally.

During my two visits to DPRK, as North Korea is called, the officials we met called for a Korean Peninsula without nuclear weapons. Are they serious? Well, only serious negotiations can give us the answer. Read more…

The NPT and the nuclear ban treaty

May 8, 2015

As this is being written, the conference reviewing the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is going on at the UN in New York. I often lose the line in the formal presentations by the official delegates, and find myself wondering: Why has the NPT worked? Read more…

Will the NPT sink or swim?

May 6, 2015

“We were waist deep in the Big Muddy,
The big fool said to push on.”

—Pete Seeger

The NPT member states have to choose between two irreconcilable narratives, and the success of the 2015 Review Conference depends upon their making the right choice.

According to the nuclear-armed states and their closest allies, nuclear disarmament is moving along step by step at a realistic pace, and all that’s needed for the next five years is to keep slogging through the river.

The majority view, expressed during the first week of general debate, is a little different: the NPT has failed to grapple effectively with the humanitarian catastrophe nuclear weapons could bring about in the blink of an eye, and it’s long past time to head for dry land. Read more…


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