LETTER TO THE EDITOR

New U. N. Treaty Bans Nuclear Weapons

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TO THE EDITOR:

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons, including that large-scale global catastrophes can and do happen when we are not expecting them. This is a very sobering realization when we contemplate the threat of nuclear war. At the present time, nine countries have nuclear weapons: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Today, there are about 14,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Most of these are in the possession of the United States (5,800) and Russia (6,370).
Fortunately, there is some hope. On July 7, 2017, 135 countries endorsed a new United Nations Treaty banning nuclear weapons. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) took force on January 22, 2021, and 54 countries have already ratified it. The Holy See, the Vatican, was the first entity to sign and ratify this U.N. Treaty. The TPNW brings the weight of international law against the construction, stockpiling, and the use of nuclear weapons.
Sadly, the United States and the other eight countries possessing nuclear weapons have not supported or ratified the TPNW. In order to secure a livable future for our children and grandchildren, the United States should conduct robust diplomatic efforts to bring all nine, as well as all aspiring nuclear weapons nations, into this new treaty. With respect to nuclear weapons aspiring nations (e.g. Iran, Saudi Arabia), we cannot expect them to give up their ambitions if we in the USA are not willing to ratify the new U.N. Treaty and eventually see our own weapons dismantled.
President Biden and the U.S. Senate should support, promote and ultimately ratify the TPNW. Rhode Island has a significant responsibility in this regard, because we build submarines in Rhode Island that would participate in an intentional or accidental nuclear war.

William Waters & William Smith, Pax Christi Rhode Island

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