Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Although Australians started a move to abolish nuclear weapons, The Australian government tried to sabotage the U.N. nuclear ban treaty

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the arms race isn’t over,  Independent Australia By Binoy Kampmark | 12 August 2020,“………………The 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings might have encouraged some reflection on current attitudes to the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Passed on July 7, 2017, it has become a focal point for advocates of a nuclear weapons-free world and a source of irritation for nuclear weapons states.

Most perversely of all are those powers not in possession of nuclear weapons yet derive some form of security from states who have them, a strategic figment of the military imagination known as the ‘umbrella of extended nuclear deterrence“.  For that reason Japan, despite being a global town crier for the banning of nuclear weapons, has refused to add its name to the nuclear weapons ban treaty.

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui took the commemorative occasion to encourage the Japanese government to abandon that position:……

Australia, another U.S. annex in the Asia Pacific, similarly refuses to join the club of prohibitionists. When it participated in the UN working group on nuclear disarmament in 2016, Australian diplomats made it clear that they had no interest in seeing any document banning nuclear weapons emerge.

The disruptive involvement of Australian officials in the group was keenly exposed in documents obtained under Freedom of Information by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). ‘So long as the threat of nuclear attack and coercion exists,’ states one document from foreign ministry officials, ‘U.S. extended deterrence will serve Australia’s fundamental national security interests’.

Such a position would have to be renounced were Canberra to sign up to any treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. To avoid that outcome, they were to serve as spoilers, providing ‘a strong alternative viewpoint, notably against those states who wish to push a near-term ban treaty’.

During the course of negotiations, Australian officials also served as the ears and eyes of Washington, a role they have been accustomed to for decades. As the United States had boycotted the meetings, Canberra felt it necessary to remain in “close contact” with Washington ‘about our shared concerns’ on the working group’s disturbing move towards recommending ‘negotiations on a ‘ban treaty”’.  Happily, Australia’s spoiling role merely served to strengthen the resolve of the other parties.

Canberra’s current position is that of a jaded cynic in realist’s clothes. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade states:

‘Australia does not support the “ban treaty” which we believe would not eliminate a single nuclear weapon.’

It scoffs at efforts that have ignored powers possessing nuclear weapons in negotiations, avoiding ‘the realities of the global security environment’. The document, furthermore, lacks the teeth of the NPT and ‘would be inconsistent with our U.S. alliance obligations’.

As long as the nuclear weapons option remains genuine, credible and desirable, there will always be a prospect for use. Once acquired, their abandonment has only ever proven exceptional (South Africa provides a unique case of this).

As things stand, a good number of countries could go nuclear overnight. It has taken much persuasion, and long discussion, to reassure South Korea and Japan not to do so before the nuclear ambitions of North Korea. The atom, in other words, still retains a deadly magic, tempting to upstarts, arrivistes and possessors. https://independentaustralia.net/article-display/75-years-after-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-the-arms-race-isnt-over,14192

August 13, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war

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