Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Time that the world revived the stigma previously attached to the idea of nuclear war

In the shadow of Fat Man and Little Boy: how the stigma of nuclear war was unravelled, https://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2017/sep/15/in-the-shadow-of-fat-man-and-little-boy-how-the-stigma-of-nuclear-war-was-unravelled

Dr Becky Alexis-Martin is a senior Research Fellow in Nuclear Geography, University of Southampton, UK.

Dr Stephanie Malin is an assistant Professor of Environmental Sociology, Colorado State University, USA.

Dr Kristen Iversen is a professor of English, University of Cincinnati, USA.

Dr Kathleen Sullivan is Director of Hibakusha Stories, New York, USA.

Dr Mwenza Blell is a lecturer in Sociology, University of Cambridge, UK. 15 Sept 17 

Atomic bombs ‘Fat Man’ and ‘Little Boy’ exploded over Nagasaki and Hiroshima 72 years ago creating a lasting nuclear taboo – until now. What has changed?”……..Thanks to President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un, our generation’s own volatile Fat Man and Little Boy, the sensible norms of restraint and careful diplomacy that have previously surrounded nuclear deterrence proliferation and use are now under stress. President Donald Trump seems indifferent to social norms, and behaves without rationality. He made several public statements, via Twitter and traditional media, that glamorise the use and increased production of nuclear weapons. All while his administration slashes budgets and slashes programs designed to protect communities from the well-documented risks that come from producing nuclear weapons. Trump has ostracized himself from international leadership nearly every turn, including NATO and G-20 summits, isolating himself from democratic world leaders, and aligning himself more with leaders of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. He has divided America, twisting the knife into historical wounds of racism and civil rights abuses, as well as upending environmental protection, denying climate change and proposing a tax regime that will create persistent poverty – to name a few examples.

North Korea is currently basking in its own nuclear disruption, finally gaining the place that it feels it deserves in the geopolitical arena – for all the wrong reasons. Like a child who learns to gain attention for bad behaviour, Kim relishes this moment. However, there is a tragic legacy behind his trumped-up attempts at power. Poverty and human rights violations are experienced by many North Koreans, and there is a dark legacy of Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace programme that originally took nuclear technology to South East Asia in the hopeful 1960s. We mustn’t forget the human beings who live in North Korea, and the way that UN sanctions are already affecting their lives.

The bickering across Twitter has escalated, and the sheer ubiquity of Trump and Kim’s threats have to some extent re-legitimised the use of nuclear weapons to ‘solve’ conflict rather than deter such “fire and fury” that might bring to an end life as we know it. Indeed, recent research suggests that a limited use of nuclear weapons could disrupt the climate in such a way that would radically alter food production, and in turn lead to global famine.

Trump needs to cut the sass, to scale back his inflammatory and impulsive rants, and to start engaging in the nuclear debate with much greater sensitivity. We want the most peaceful resolution that is now possible, to prevent further escalation of conflict. We do not want stumble into nuclear war, a risk that exists beyond bellicose displays of power. The current hot-threat engagement is not just a security issue, but a massive humanitarian one too. Kim starves his own people in the pursuit of nuclear defence technology. Trump and Kim’s verbally violent exchange is as serious as North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons. It could have devastating future implications if the stigma of nuclear weapons is not restored. The people of the supposed democracy of the USA and the totalitarian state of North Korea both seem powerless to change the behaviour of their leaders.

However, international attitudes are more progressive. The stigma of nuclear deterrence has not been lost on the majority of nations, 122 of whom endorsed a nuclear weapon ban treaty that seeks to prohibit the development, production, possession, testing, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. The BAN treaty is likely to enter into force on 20 September 2017, when it opens for signatures at the United Nations in New York. Although no nuclear possessor nation supports this treaty, they understand that the BAN will re-stigmatize nuclear weapons and re-invigorate public debate and action for nuclear abolition.

Our taboos are a greater reflection of our global society and ethics.. What does it say about us at this point in history, if we let the taboo of the unspeakable horror of nuclear warfare disappear? We cannot uninvent the bomb, so we need to rethink and redesign the rules of de-escalation and disarmament, if we are to avoid the fallout of nuclear conflict.

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September 16, 2017 - Posted by | General News

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