Regarding the May 29 Kyodo article “Nagasaki youths key to hibakusha message”: Rather than sending their signatures to the United Nations Office in Geneva, the students collecting signatures for the abolition of nuclear weapons should be sending their petition to Washington.
First, the U.N. has a dismal record of enforcing weapons bans. The inability of U.N. weapons inspectors to ascertain the state of chemical and biological weapons in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq contributed to the disastrous U.S.-led invasion of that country in 2003. If the U.N. cannot enforce a weapons ban on a country as weak as Iraq, how could it expect to enforce a ban against such regional powers as Russia and China?
Second, such a ban would have to be enforced by the U.N. Security Council, of which every permanent member is a nuclear power (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the U.S.). If even one of those nations refused to give up its nuclear weapons, it would be impossible to initiate enforcement against that nation because a veto by any permanent member will stop a resolution. Furthermore, there is a complex web of alliances among these permanent members outside of the U.N.
Finally, the U.S. is the world’s only superpower. As long as the enemies of the U.S. perceive an existential threat from Washington, they will never give up any weapons that they have acquired.
The only reduction in nuclear arms may come from U.S. allies that are happy to enjoy the protection of the wide “nuclear umbrella” without incurring the costs of developing and maintaining such controversial weapons.
They only chance for an abolition of nuclear weapons is for the U.S. to give up its weapons first.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.