U.N. Campaign Against Nuclearization

Title

U.N. Campaign Against Nuclearization

Description

Attempts at de-nuclearization constitute the UN’s longest (and arguably, most unsuccessful) project. The United Nation's very first resolution in 1946 came as a denunciation of, and call for the eradication of, all nuclear weapons in the wake of the atrocities leveled on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the intensely politicized environment of the Cold War though, the UN’s first resolution was doomed to be a failure: within the three years following the passage of this resolution, the Soviet Union demonstrated its attainment of nuclear weapons capabilities through a test in Kazakhstan (1952), followed by the United Kingdom, who tested their weapon in Australia (1952), followed then by an escalation of the arms race by the United States, who tested the first hydrogen bomb in the Marshall Islands (1952).[1] Immediately then, the world powers had established the precedent of non-compliance with the UN’s nuclear weapons policies. There have, of course, been optimistic moments. These include the signing of the Treaty of Tlatelolco (which prohibited the proliferation of nuclear weapons throughout Latin America) in 1967, the immense popular support for the Second United Nations Special Session on Disarmament (in which New York was overwhelmed by one million anti-nuclear-proliferation protestors), or South Africa’s agreement in 1991 to dismantle the nuclear weapons it had already built.[2] But, often smaller or less powerful states have been both pushed more intensely to, and have complied more thoroughly with, UN policies than have important global powers.

This asymmetrical situation, and the general hyper-politicization of nuclear weapons, has meant that UN treaties, resolutions, or agreements have never been adequate. The international community has an abundance of proof for this: since 1946, the UN has passed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, In Outer Space And Under Water (or the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT)), the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).[3] Yet, all the while, the United States, Russia, Israel, Pakistan, India, North Korea, and so on, have continued to cultivate their stockpiles. Though there was a great deal of fanfare surrounding the most recent negotiation of the TPNW in 2017 (in which “120 nations adopted the first international treaty banning nuclear weapons”), states such as Israel, India and Pakistan refused to participate in the negotiation.[4] Further, the United States, who has failed to even uphold the requirements of the original NPT, has made clear its total rejection of the resolution and its intention “never to join the treaty.”[5]

[1] “The Facts: What are the most significant events of the nuclear age?” 2017, Ican: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

[2] “The Facts: What are the most significant events of the nuclear age?” 2017, Ican: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

[3] “The Facts: What are the most significant events of the nuclear age?” 2017, Ican: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

[4] Aria Bendix, “122 Nations Approve ‘Historic’ Treaty banning Nuclear Weapons,” The Atlantic, July 8, 2017.

[5] “The Facts: Who supports a global ban on nuclear weapons?” 2017 , Ican: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.



Sources:

Bendix, Aria. “122 Nations Approve ‘Historic’ Treaty banning Nuclear Weapons.” The Atlantic, July 8, 2017.

https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2017/07/122-nations-approve-historic-treaty-to-ban-nuclear-weapons/533046/.

“The Facts: What are the most significant events of the nuclear age?” 2017, Ican: International Campaign to    Abolish Nuclear Weapons. https://www.icanw.org/the-facts/the-nuclear-age/.


“The Facts: Who supports a global ban on nuclear weapons?” 2017 , Ican: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. https://www.icanw.org/the-facts/nuclear-arsenals/.

“1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” 1995, The United Nations. https://www.un.org/Depts/ddar/nptconf/21c6.htm.

 

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U.N. Campaign Against Nuclearization

Cite As

“U.N. Campaign Against Nuclearization,” Virtual Museum of Public Service, accessed June 28, 2022, https://vmps.omeka.net/items/show/753.