March 2, 2012
RE: GSI Open Letter to President Obama
Arms Control in the Information Age: The “Getting to Zero” Toolbox, Hon. Rose Gottemoeller
Ascend the Political Ladder, OPANAL Presentation by Jonathan Granoff
I bring to your attention a letter to President Obama set forth below. It advocates that resolving the discord between the use or threat to use nuclear weapons and international humanitarian law, which includes prohibitions against weapons which cannot discriminate between civilians and combatants or that cause unnecessary suffering, should invigorate efforts to achieve progress on the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Such progress would be consistent with a recent inspiring presentation from the new United States Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Ms. Rose Gottemoeller. I urge your attention to this very insightful and informative presentation on the Administration’s aspirations and actions to move the world toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. It does not present the many international and national obstacles to achieving the goals she sets forth. It does however set out clear goals and evidence of work to achieve them. I urge you to read her presentation and work to support these efforts. Read the full text of Arms Control in the Information Age: The “Getting to Zero” Toolbox.
Her speech is a strong affirmation of the “unequivocal undertaking” to eliminate nuclear weapons made by the nuclear weapons states at the 2000 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. This commitment was reaffirmed at the NPT 2010 Review Conference and reinforced as follows: “All States should make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.” The over 188 States parties further asserted that this work is “urgent” and must be made “concrete.”
Nuclear weapons free zones demonstrate that concrete success can be achieved. On February 14-15, 2012 I had the privilege of representing Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, a program of the Global Security Institute, at a conference in Mexico City commemorating the 45th anniversary of the creation of the first nuclear weapons free zone. The event was organized by OPANAL, which administers the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which includes all of Latin America and the Caribbean, over thirty countries.
Inspired by the success of this Treaty, there are now five nuclear weapons free zones with 114 countries covering the South Pacific (the 1985 Treaty of Rarotonga), Southeast Asia (the 1995 Treaty of Bangkok) Africa (the 1996 Treaty of Pelindaba) and Central Asia (the 2006 Treaty of Semipalatinsk). These treaties cover the entire Southern Hemisphere and, in the words of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, they are “the success stories of the disarmament movement”.
The OPANAL conference included the participation of leading diplomats of Latin America and the Caribbean, Russia, the United States, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization’s Executive Director Tibor Toth, and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Director General Yukiya Amano.
My presentation emphasized the need to push the elimination of nuclear weapons up the political ladder in much the same way as was done by six heads of government during the height of the Cold War when the leaders of Mexico, India, Greece, Sweden, Tanzania, and Argentina went to Moscow and Washington and advocated nuclear disarmament progress. Read the full text of Ascend the Political Ladder.
The general public remains both unconcerned and uninterested in addressing the critical dangers posed by the existence of nuclear weapons, the proliferation stimulating impact of reliance upon these devices by the most powerful, their military uselessness against terrorist threats, their moral impropriety, existing legal obligations to make disarmament progress, and their suicidal dimension should they ever be used against a State which also possesses them. One need only follow the debates in Russia or the US for high office to notice the impoverished level of discourse on the subject of nuclear weapons. Thus, people who are aware of the precarious situation of global security must make substantive efforts to push the imperative to eliminate nuclear weapons up the political ladder with utmost urgency and force. We cannot wait for the world to learn by experience what we know by observation and reason.
Please accept our gratitude for work you do to advance the elimination of nuclear weapons yourself, or through supporting the efforts of our programs at the Global Security Institute or other civil society initiatives.
Jonathan Granoff, President
GSI Open Letter to President Obama
Arms Control in the Information Age: The “Getting to Zero” Toolbox, by Hon. Rose Gottemoeller
Ascend the Political Ladder, by Jonathan Granoff
Embedded Links: “International Humanitarian Law and Nuclear Weapons: Irreconcilable Differences,” published in The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
“Nuclear Weapons and Compliance with International Humanitarian Law and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” published in the Fordham International Law Journal
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Jonathan Granoff is the President of the Global Security Institute, a representative to United Nations of the World Summits of Nobel Peace Laureates, a former Adjunct Professor of International Law at Widener University School of Law, and Senior Advisor to the Committee on National Security American Bar Association International Law Section.