By Lindsay Potter
U.S. activists rallied January 22 at over 40 actions to mark the second anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). In 2017, 122 countries voted to adopt the TPNW and now 92 countries have signed and 68 have ratified it. On the ‘banniversary,’ activists presented a letter asking President Biden to ratify the TPNW, signed by over 100 groups, citing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s binding agreement to eliminate nuclear arsenals, which the U.S. ignores half a century later. Activists also propped up House Resolution 77, which demands negotiated disarmament, no first-use or hair-trigger alert, and defunding nukes, though it falls short of requiring the U.S. ratify the TPNW. Both documents reiterate “deterrence” fails to prevent wars or make us safer.
The U.S. denounces the treaty and asks NATO members and allies to do the same. Yet, a 2021 survey found 65% of U.S. citizens support the TPNW and over 70 municipalities or states and several congressmembers have urged the U.S. to ratify the treaty. Still, the U.S. spends $50 billion a year on the nuclear arsenal and maintains 5,428 nuclear weapons. The TPNW could prevent needless suffering and redirect taxpayer dollars, science, and industry away from bombs ‘never to be used’ and into housing, healthcare, education, infrastructure, and addressing climate catastrophe. The G7, all nuclear-armed states or under the U.S. nuclear umbrella, will meet in Hiroshima this May in the ultimate insult to the horrific human cost of nuclear weapons. To quote Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima: “The development of nuclear weapons signifies not a country’s elevation to greatness, but its descent to the darkest depths of depravity.” — icanw.org, preventnuclearwar.org