Friday, June 30, 2017

Canada at 150? A work in progress


On July 1, 2017, Canada celebrated 150 years since weakening its ties with Britain and establishing a confederation of provinces no longer governed by appointed governors from across the sea. I’m old enough to remember the celebrations for the centennial in 1967, and I also remember that it was only much later, after my formal education and after I spent some time abroad, that I learned we weren’t really as independent and sovereign as our teachers and leaders made us believe. We celebrate "confederation" and overlook the fact that we remained a dependent state. This year, the public discourse doesn’t seem to be much different from what it was in 1967, as no one dares suggest that we should be counting from 1982 (when the constitution was repatriated) or that the ambiguous status of the reserve power of the governor general (the British monarch’s representative) means that sovereignty is still a work in progress.


When I did research on the Hawaiian Kingdom, I had to use a precise meaning of “independent state” as it is defined in international law. Professor Sai at the University of Hawaii explained in correspondence, “Independent is a political term that means only the laws of the state exist over its territory to the exclusion of the laws of other states that exist independently over their territories. If there is a plurality of laws within a single State, it is not independent.”
By this definition, the Kingdom of Hawaii was an independent state in 1867, but Canada was not—an interesting contrast that highlights the egregiousness of the 1893 US-backed overthrow by a small group of usurpers and the subsequent 1898 US annexation. In some respects, the Hawaiian Kingdom might be better off today if it had gone from being a British protectorate to full membership in the British Empire. It could have then achieved the limited form of independence Canada obtained in 1867, then worked up from that toward increasing levels of independence. Before annexation, Hawai’i’s cultural affinity to Britain was stronger than any attachments to the United States, as is evident in the flag that is still used today on the islands.
After 1867, Britain still maintained control of Canada’s foreign affairs, and the constitution, known as the British North America Act, could not be amended without Britain’s approval. The evolution of Canada’s foreign policy independence is described by Laura Barnett of the Library of Parliament:

In 1867, Canada was still a colony of the British Empire, and the British Parliament delegated the power to represent the Dominion of Canada internationally to the British Crown. However, although the British Crown had the authority to enter into treaties with foreign countries on Canada’s behalf, the Canadian Parliament was granted responsibility for implementing those treaties in Canada under section 132 of the Constitution Act, 1867. Over the years, Canada began to take increasingly independent action in its external affairs... In 1926, Canada acquired power to establish foreign relations and to negotiate and conclude its own treaties through the Balfour Declaration, although some treaties still needed formal ratification by the British government. This power was incorporated into the 1931 Statute of Westminster and later confirmed in the 1947 Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor General of Canada.[1]

Historica Canada states, “The Constitution Act, 1982 enshrined the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Constitution, and completed the unfinished business of Canadian independence—allowing Canadians to amend their own constitution without requiring approval from Britain.”[2]
Another contentious issue that some use to cast doubt on Canada’s independence is the fact that the governor general, appointed by the British monarch, has the power to fire a prime minister. James Bowden, a historian at the Department of Defense, explains that this power really isn’t as ominous as it appears to be:

The Governor General can, under exceptional circumstances, reject the Prime Minister’s advice to dissolve Parliament. When a Governor General rejects advice of such constitutional significance, he in effect forces the Prime Minister to resign, or may dismiss him directly. However, the Governor General could exercise this reserve power [only] if he can appoint a new Prime Minister, usually by calling on the Leader of the Official Opposition, immediately thereafter so that this new Prime Minister can take responsibility for the Governor General’s actions. The King-Byng Affair of 1926 involved precisely this dynamic: Governor General Lord Byng rejected Prime Minister King’s advice to dissolve parliament, so King resigned as Prime Minister. Lord Byng then appointed the Leader of the Official Opposition, Arthur Meighen as Prime Minister. When the new Meighen government lost the confidence of the House of Commons only one week later, Meighen advised Lord Byng to dissolve parliament, and Lord Byng agreed because that particular House of Commons could not support any government.[3]

In other words, the governor general is there to resolve an impasse in the functioning of government. If he or she decides to force the prime minister to resign, the leader of the official opposition takes over the role, not some arbitrarily appointed person. The new prime minister would have to be supported by parliament, and without this support he or she would have to dissolve parliament and call an election.
This surviving remnant of attachment to Britain may, for some, indicate an ongoing lack of full independence, but it is a very thin thread linking Canada back to the monarchy. By custom and convention, the neutral and detached governor general is Canadian, appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Canadian prime minister. Furthermore, every country needs some mechanism of reserve power for dismissing a head of state, and many nations use a similar system having an appointed governor general.
Australia, with a parliamentary system similar to Canada’s (but with an elected senate), is a country that had a serious crisis related to actions by the governor general. In 1975, Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed Prime Minister Whitlam, ignoring the prime minister’s plan to hold elections for a senate that was “blocking supply” for his government. Kerr broke convention and accepted norms by not advising the prime minister and discussing sufficiently his planned course of action. He concealed his intention and dismissed him in a surprise move that much of the public saw as underhanded and unnecessary.

The action by the Governor-General Sir John Kerr ... is Australia’s most famous example of the exercise of reserve power. Opinion is divided as to whether or not it was an appropriate use of the power and as to how and when the power was exercised. Proponents of the arguments in favor say that a Government must be able to secure supply [financing of the budget] and so in that sense must retain the confidence in both houses necessary to achieve this. Therefore, they argued, failure to obtain supply was an expression of a loss of confidence in the and should have resulted in the government’s resignation. Those opposed to this view argue that it has never been a requirement for a government to enjoy the confidence of both houses and that acceptance of the Kerr/Barwick view would undermine responsible government and would automatically call into question the legitimacy of any government without a Senate majority.[4]

The motives for Kerr’s actions have never been clear. One view states domestic, overt opposition was the main factor, while others contend that Kerr was acting because of American covert pressure.
Whitlam’s domestic policies were anti-war and nationalist, and they were lefty enough to make large business interests sabotage his program. He was portrayed as fiscally irresponsible and utopian until his public support decreased and his government became increasingly handicapped. This is the playbook that is used in Canada, too, whenever a left-leaning provincial or national government comes to power. Thus for Governor General Kerr, the problem was overtly clear enough from a domestic point of view. He had this cover which made it possible for him to say his ties to foreign interests and the CIA had nothing to do with the decision. During the crisis Whitlam alleged that the CIA had a hand in the coup. He later stated that Kerr did not need any encouragement from the CIA, but this is not the same as saying the CIA didn’t play a role or have a keen interest in how things turned out.
When Whitlam passed away in 2014, journalist John Pilger described the evidence that points to American involvement:

Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap [the American surveillance station in Australia], later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House... a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion.” Pine Gap’s top-secret messages were de-coded by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was Christopher Boyce, a young man troubled by the “deception and betrayal of an ally.” Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr.” Kerr was not only the Queen’s man, he had long-standing ties to Anglo-American intelligence. He was an enthusiastic member of the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom, described by Jonathan Kwitny of the Wall Street Journal in his book, The Crimes of Patriots, as, “an elite, invitation-only group... exposed in Congress as being founded, funded and generally run by the CIA.” The CIA “paid for Kerr’s travel, built his prestige... Kerr continued to go to the CIA for money.”[5]

In spite of these testimonies and the obvious threat to American interests, the idea of CIA involvement is still dismissed by others as unsubstantiated. In a review of a book that held this view, Richard Ferguson writes:

As for the CIA, did they love Gough [Whitlam]? No. But were they planning a Chile-like coup in the Oval Office? No, of course they weren’t, don’t be silly. Bramston and Kelly [the authors] are very adamant that there is absolutely no proof the CIA were involved in the dismissal.[6]

Saying there is “absolutely no proof” is not the same as proving something did not occur. It is merely an insistence on dismissing the evidence presented by Pilger above. The essence of covert operations is that they are designed to leave no concrete evidence. The dismissal of the theory of American involvement as “silly” rests on the assumption that if the CIA did something, they would tell us at a press conference. Or perhaps we could read Kerr’s mind to know what his motives were. This line of thinking seems to say that if Kerr himself didn’t confess to being influenced by the CIA, then he wasn’t.
In spite of whatever “silliness” lies behind allegations of CIA involvement, United States Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher came to Sydney two years after the crisis and met with Whitlam, on behalf of US President Jimmy Carter. According to Whitlam, he spoke of his willingness to work with whatever government Australians elected, and that the US “would never again interfere with Australia’s democratic processes.”[7]
The Australian crisis of 1975 underscores what the real problems are in establishing true sovereignty and independence. Beyond the concerns about the establishment of independent foreign policy, repatriation of the constitution and the ambiguous powers of the governor general, the bigger question is how any nation can defend itself from foreign interference and follow its own chosen path. If Australia had not had its particular form of reserve power vested in a governor general, opponents both domestic and foreign would have found others means for undermining Whitlam’s leadership.
The better question to ask about sovereignty is whether traditional conceptions of it have any meaning in a global empire of “free trade” agreements, central banks, and a US dollar-based fossil fuel economy. Canada sells weapons to Saudi Arabia, supports Nazis in a failed regime in Ukraine,[8] and increases its military spending at the behest of its American master. These days it takes someone like Vladimir Putin to point out that NATO members are no longer regarded as allies but are instead vassals who must do whatever their lord requires.[9]
Finally, because sovereignty relates so much to the ability of a state to sign treaties with other states, something must be said about how Canada has dealt with its own states within the state. On this score, much is lacking in Canada’s record of upholding its commitments to aboriginal groups, or the First Nations, who were there before European settlers. For the First Nations, the signed pieces of paper called treaties didn’t have a lot of significance, and actually they shouldn’t have been seen by anyone as anything more than the symbolic representation of an ongoing relationship and what was agreed upon in the past. The marriage certificate is not the marriage. What should have mattered was a mutual commitment to the mutual benefit of each party, a commitment to constantly renewing the relationship in good faith.
On the surface, according to the letter of the treaties, it may seem that in some First Nation communities thing are going fine. They are self-governing and jobs and resource-sharing are being negotiated with all the “stakeholders,” but the underlying reality is often an overpaid local leadership that is in cahoots with the resource extractors. The locals get some jobs in uranium mines, then get slowly converted to the lifestyle of urban Canadians. This modern form of self-governance does nothing to restore the culture that was destroyed when aboriginal families were broken up, children were abducted into residential schools, and languages were extinguished. The knowledge of how to live off the land is gone, and efforts to revive all of the above elements needed for true sovereignty are thwarted by the intrusion of resource extractors.
These days the resource companies and the governments are more sophisticated and outwardly respectful than they used to be. They talk of mutual benefits, economic security and respect for the treaties and aboriginal culture, but the truth is their economic system is only about short-term exploitation for as long as the finite resources last. When the end appears imminent, people are offered new illusions, such as the chance to be a “willing host community” for long-term storage of nuclear waste. The irony lost on many is that it is no longer just Indians being sent off to the reservation.
In Hell or High Water,[10] an apparently unserious bank heist movie set in the aftermath of the oil boom in Texas, a brief bit of dialog between a two cops, one White (Marcus) and one Native American (Alberto), relates how the extractive economy dispossesses and consumes everyone:

ALBERTO: Do you want to live here? Got an old hardware store that charges twice what Home Depot does, one restaurant with a rattlesnake for a waitress. I mean, how is anybody supposed to make a living here?
MARCUS: People have made a living here for 150 years.
ALBERTO: Well, people lived in caves for 150,000 years, but they don’t do it no more.
MARCUS: Well, maybe your people did.
ALBERTO: Your people did, too. A long time ago, your ancestors were the Indians until someone came along and killed them, broke them down, made you into one of them. 150 years ago, all this was my ancestors’ land, everything you can see, everything you saw yesterday, until the grandparents of these folks took it. And now, it’s been taken from them, except it ain’t no army doing it. It’s those sons of bitches right there. [pointing to the bank across the street]


Notes




[1] Laura Barnett, Canada’s Approach to the Treaty-Making Process, Library of Parliament (Canada).

[2]Constitution Act, 1982,” Historica Canada.

[4] Susan Downing, “The Reserve Powers of the Governor General,” Research Note of the Parliamentary Library (Australia), January 23, 1998.

[5] John Pilger, “The forgotten coup—how America and Britain crushed the government of their ‘ally’, Australia,” johnpilger.com, October 23, 2014. Christopher Boyce’s story has been told in books, his autobiography and the 1985 film Falcon and the Snowman.

[6] Whitlam, Gough, Abiding Interests (University of Queensland Press, 1997) 49-50.

[7] Richard Ferguson, “Kerr’s Curse,” The Spectator, January 30, 2016. Review of The Dismissal: In the Queen’s Name.

[10] David Mackenzie (Director), “Hell or High Water,” CBS Films, 2016.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A new treaty banning nuclear weapons? Would that it were so simple

(This post was revised slightly in November 2017, after ICAN had won the Nobel Peace Prize)

A patient is told by his doctor that he is going to die if he doesn’t do three things: quit drinking, lower his blood pressure and get heart bypass surgery. He thinks for a minute and says, “OK, I’ll take the blood pressure pills.”
His doctor says, “No, that’s not enough. You’ll still die.”
The patient protests, “Come on, doc, be realistic.” The doctor gives him a doubtful look, then he adds, “Alright. I’ll get the surgery.”
The doctor, starting to get exasperated asks, “Did you hear what I said? With that choice you still die.”
The patient thinks for a minute and says,“Look. You just don’t understand the constraints upon me. Let’s be mature about this. My backers will never go for it. We have to be pragmatic. After all, we are no longer the young idealists we used to be, are we?”

This attempt at a joke is a way to point out how our political culture reacts to the existential crises we are faced with. We are negotiating and trying to be pragmatic in the face of problems that allow for no half measures. This month (June 2017), for example, there are triumphant headlines in the news about a new United Nations treaty that will make nuclear weapons illegal, except for the nations that choose not to sign the treaty, or choose to abrogate the treaty at a later date, and nations that cannot be forced to sign the treaty. In other words, the treaty is a symbolic and well-intentioned measure that may increase the chances of nuclear abolition happening someday, but it will have no effect in the near-term on reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the world.
I will be criticized for betraying the anti-nuclear cause if I raise such uncomfortable issues about this push for a new treaty, but I have followed the issue for a while and found that the groups backing this treaty have taken a very narrow view of the world’s problems and history. Like the man in the joke, they are eager to do one or two things, but not everything that would be necessary to really solve this problem comprehensively. Saving the patient’s heart is pointless if his liver is going to fail shortly thereafter.
The treaty is being promoted mostly by activists in Western European and English-speaking countries (the ICAN website provides information in several European languages, but not in Russian or Chinese), and they seem disinclined to ask uncomfortable questions about the exercise of non-nuclear power by the United States, NATO and other nations allied with them. I suspect the treaty is not much of a concern among Syrians and Yemenis at this time. There is great irony in the fact that when I bring up this issue I am told, by the idealists pursuing the dream of a world without nuclear weapons, that I am the one being too idealistic. “Those are issues for another day,” I am told. “We have to stay focused, not muddy the waters. We can’t alienate our supporters [donors].” Thus the nuclear ban is in danger of becoming another brand of safe, unthreatening liberal preoccupation, a respectable endeavor that no one will disagree with in principle, as long as the focus of the movement stays narrow and unthreatening.[1]


Click on the image to see the text more clearly.
One neglected problem with this treaty is nuclear energy. All the focus is on the abolition of nuclear weapons but not on the proliferation of nuclear power plants. As long as uranium is mined and fissile materials are created in nuclear reactors, nuclear bombs will always be easy to make. Depleted uranium (is it a chemical weapon or a radiological weapon?) will always be available to add to conventional weaponry. Furthermore, every nuclear power plant has a spent fuel pool that is a radiological weapon of mass destruction made available for potential enemies to strike with conventional weapons. It is strange that so many nations have deliberately created this vulnerability, but we should note that Israel, conscious of its enemies’ intentions, is the only nation that built nuclear weapons but not nuclear power plants.
The problem posed by nuclear spent fuel pools is familiar to military strategists, and it may have been a factor in American decisions so far not to attack North Korea, which could retaliate by bombing nuclear power plants in Japan. In this sense, Japan already possesses a sort of unintended “nuclear deterrent” that may be keeping the peace in the region.
Instead of this being a major concern in nuclear disarmament talks, nuclear energy has always been a bargaining chip in disarmament and non-proliferation negotiations. If a country agrees to give up nuclear weapons, they will be given assistance in developing the “peaceful uses” of the atom. Article IV of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) gives all parties the right to develop nuclear energy. Critics of the nuclear powers pay much attention to the other articles of the treaty that oblige the nuclear powers to work toward disarmament, but the proliferation problems arising from Article IV get passed over. Again, this is an example of how activists deceive themselves into thinking compromised solutions are worth pursuing. The strategy is to get rid of the bombs first and worry about nuclear energy later. Save the heart and forget about the imminent liver failure.
A second neglected problem is that nuclear disarmament efforts ignore the broader problems posed by international disparities in military spending, and the proliferation of conventional military hardware and new forms of weaponry. The United States spends ten times as much as Russia, and outspends nine of the top ten nations in military expenditures (data available on Wikipedia).
The argument for a treaty banning nuclear weapons says that nuclear weapons should be like all other banned weapons that have been defined as “weapons intended to inflict catastrophic humanitarian harm.” The trouble with such semantics is that the non-nuclear world would still be left with a nation that can strike selected targets with the MOAB, or any city in the world with sixty Tomahawk missiles, armed with conventional explosives, in a single evening. In the latest exercise of such power, the missiles merely pounded sand in the Syrian desert in a largely symbolic display, but the consequences would be much different if the target were an urban center. How could such an attack not be classified as weapons “intended to inflict catastrophic humanitarian harm,” the sort of attack which could trigger world war and cause nations to tear up their treaty obligations?
If this recent anti-nuclear drive actually succeeded in getting the nuclear powers to ratify an international treaty declaring nuclear weapons illegal, the world would be left with the United States undeterred and in possession of a vastly predominant power in conventional weaponry. Intercontinental ballistic missiles could be refitted with precision conventional bombs capable of putting any nation on earth back in the Stone Age within a matter of weeks. This was already achieved with the attacks on Serbia (1999), Iraq (1991, 2003~) and Libya (2011). All of these were illegal under international law, which raises the question of how the international community would enforce compliance with a new international law banning nuclear weapons. In addition to the fact that international law and UN resolutions are ignored continually during so-called peacetime, Russell and Einstein pointed out in their 1955 manifesto that treaties banning nuclear weapons would be abrogated the minute world war breaks out.[2]
An American predominance in space-based weapons and anti-ballistic missiles would further add to the imbalance of power. The absence of nuclear deterrence among weaker powers could set off a new arms race based on old-fashioned dependence on tanks, heavy artillery, and so on, then there would be an increased risk of war, with a likelihood that in any conflict nuclear power plants would be struck with conventional weaponry. Even if that didn't happen, destruction of electricity grids could put nuclear power plants into meltdown scenarios. The Fukushima catastrophe should have made this clear to nuclear disarmament activists. Backup generators, needed to keep spent nuclear fuel cool, wouldn't last long, even if they were effective for a few days, and in wartime there would be a good chance that generator refueling would not happen on time. There could be multiple such disasters in a large-scale war. It would be a nuclear war using fallout contamination as a weapon, or perhaps the fallout would just be a consequence of reckless bombardment. The good intentions of nuclear disarmament could lead to such unforeseen consequences.[3]
The defeat of the Democratic Party in the United States in 2016 illustrated what happens when a regime spends decades failing to improve basic needs such as living wages and adequate health care, telling naysayers that they are immature idealists who need to grow up, compromise and be pragmatic. This approach may apply to some of life’s problems, but not to matters critical for survival. Sometimes there is only one right way to proceed and a compromise is complicity. Continually choosing the lesser evil eventually leads to a rendezvous with just plain evil.
The disarmament movement is making the same sort of mistake when it strategically decides to not talk about nuclear energy and militarism, then scoffs at nations that hesitate to embrace the instability that would follow a ban on nuclear weapons. It is easy to laugh at this fear of instability and dismiss it as an outrageous excuse of warmongers to go on endangering life on the planet, but we laugh at our own peril. It is not so easy to convince people who remember the battle of Stalingrad in 1942-43, as well as the humiliation, economic devastation and NATO expansion that followed the nuclear arms reductions of the 1980s and 1990s.
The Russians and the Chinese will pay little attention to this ban on nuclear weapons as long as the US regards them as a threat to its preferred version of global order. A small nation like North Korea has no other choice besides nuclear arms for deterrence, and the historical record strongly suggests that America has been deterred by nuclear arsenals, though the existence of a state of being deterred is impossible to prove. Deterrence cannot be known to have existed until it fails.
Nations that worry about being targets of future American aggression are quick to remind the global community that it wasn’t they who set off the nuclear arms race in 1945. They expect America to lead the way not only to nuclear disarmament but also to a general demilitarization and retrenchment of its global supremacy in which it accepts a world of balanced interests. The first stop on nuclear disarmament’s “road to Damascus” (pun intended) is the Pentagon.
The American general Brent Scowcroft once pointed out, in a panel discussion after the broadcast of the film The Day After (video here, transcript here, 1983/11), the reasons for the two superpowers needing to have an overwhelming preponderance of force. He was speaking of nuclear arsenals, but it also explains the disproportionate 10:1 ratio, in America's favor, that exists still in both conventional and nuclear weapons. He spoke of a policy that laid bare the reason America is not interested in unilateral, gradual disarmament. A supreme power, like a mafia don, cannot be satisfied with having parity with potential challengers. Near parity would just make others think they have a chance to join the game. It is essential to have an arsenal so overwhelming and costly that no one else will dream of trying to match it. In 1983, the US and the Soviet Union each had about 30,000 nuclear warheads, then in the 1990s this number was reduced to about 7,000 each, which is still 93% of the world total. This begs the question of why the decrease stopped and has stayed at this excessive level since the mid-1990s. General Scowcroft revealed a grim reality of the exercise of power when he said:

In some respects, the lower the numbers, the more unstable the situation and the more the encouragement for other powers to acquire nuclear weapons… if each side of the Soviet Union and the United States has only a thousand weapons, or each only 500, that encourages other powers to become major nuclear powers in a way that they can do because the numbers are relatively small.

More is less in the doublespeak and paradoxes involved in the possession of nuclear arms, and also in the massive excesses in all forms of defense spending. At this time when the simple demand to “make nuclear weapons illegal” is headlined with so little nuanced discussion of what is at stake, it is worthwhile to keep in mind how this issue was approached in the early days of the anti-nuclear movement. In the Russell-Einstein manifesto of 1955, the wording was mostly about seeking peaceful co-existence after a devastating world war. The signatories stated, “Although an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons as part of a general reduction of armaments would not afford an ultimate solution, it would serve certain important purposes.” They called for nations to work toward a “concomitant balanced reduction of all armaments,” to accept “distasteful limitations of national sovereignty,” and to “find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.”[4]
This view which was conventional wisdom sixty years ago has been forgotten in the contemporary discourse on nuclear disarmament, probably because it is an uncomfortable reminder of how much it’s been a world gone wrong ever since then. For the new treaty to become more than a token gesture, it would have to be followed up with a deeply committed non-aligned movement that would sanction, punish and ultimately break off relations with nations that:

1) continue to possess nuclear weapons,
2) overspend on all forms of military deployment and weaponry, and
3) flout the UN Charter by engaging in internal interference in foreign nations and using war to resolve disputes.

     Yet the truth is that all the nations that sign this new treaty are not committed enough to pay the steep price that nuclear abolition and peaceful co-existence would require. As a consciousness-raising effort, the treaty has some merit, but it will quickly fail if it doesn't grow into something more serious.

Notes


[1] For an example of an organizations that have been taking a comprehensive view for a long time, see https://www.veteransforpeace.org and www.space4peace.blogspot.com.

[2]Statement: The Russell-Einstein Manifesto,” Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, July 9, 1955, accessed June 19, 2017, http://pugwash.org/1995/12/10/oslo-award-of-the-nobel-peace-prize . In spite of my use of this source in a positive light, I stress that the Pugwash organization is still stuck in a 1950s time warp, with a supportive view of the “atoms for peace” promotion of nuclear energy made by President Eisenhower. When Joseph Rotblat received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995 for the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, he said nuclear energy “had great potential for the common good” but with the use of the bomb “a splendid achievement of science and technology had turned malign.” The view that the abolition of nuclear energy is a necessary step in the abolition of nuclear arms remains a fringe position that has no support in UN treaty negotiations. Thus groups that aspire to achieve their goals through the UN also ignore the issue. Completely ignored are the ecological costs of uranium mining and the unsolved questions about keeping nuclear fission byproducts out of contact with the ecosystem for a million years. Step 1: Stop making the stuff.

[4] Statement: The Russell-Einstein Manifesto op. cit.