Re­gain­ing lead­er­ship

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

As we ap­proach the 72nd an­niver­sary of the U.S. bomb­ing of Hiroshima and Na­gasaki on Aug. 6 and 9, an his­toric an­nounce­ment from the UN may have got­ten lost in the din of po­lit­i­cal news. One hun­dred-twenty-two na­tions have ne­go­ti­ated and adopted a treaty to ban the bomb, with only one “no” vote. Be­gin­ning Sept. 20, na­tions may rat­ify the treaty. Ninety days af­ter 50 coun­tries sign, it will be il­le­gal to have or work to­ward hav­ing nu­clear weapons.

Some peo­ple have down­played the ac­com­plish­ment, say­ing that coun­tries like North Korea will never give up their nu­clear weapons. But 3,700 sci­en­tists, in­clud­ing No­bel lau­re­ates, signed an open let­ter en­dors­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Lawrence Korb, se­nior fel­low at the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress who was Pres­i­dent Rea­gan’s un­der­sec­re­tary of De­fense, calls it a wel­come step to­ward abol­ish­ing nu­clear weapons for good. He ar­gues that although it will be a long process, it is a le­gal ba­sis for sanc­tion­ing coun­tries that defy the ban.

Former Sec­re­tary of De­fense William Perry says, “the treaty is an im­por­tant step to­ward dele­git­imiz­ing nu­clear war as an ac­cept­able risk of mod­ern civ­i­liza­tion, and it cre­ates a strong moral im­per­a­tive: Thou shalt not pos­sess nu­clear weapons.”

Although the United States and the eight other nu­clear coun­tries did not take part in ne­go­ti­at­ing the treaty, we should take the lead in rat­i­fy­ing it and con­vinc­ing the other nu­clear states to fol­low suit.

Tell Congress the U.S. can re­gain its lead­er­ship in the world by rat­i­fy­ing this his­toric treaty.

JEAN GOR­DON Lit­tle Rock

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