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