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The Threat of a Nuclear War is Very High Today

Viewpoint by John Scales Avery

Photo credit: IPPNW

John Scales Avery is a theoretical chemist noted for his research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. Presently an Associate Professor in quantum chemistry at the University of Copenhagen, since the early 1990s, he has been an active World peace activist. During these years, he was part of a group associated with the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, which in 1995 received the Nobel Peace Prize. The following are excerpts from introduction to the book NUCLEAR WEAPONS: AN ABSOLUTE EVIL that can be downloaded from http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/library/nuclear.pdf – The Editor

COPENHAGEN (IDN) - Today, because of the possibility that U.S. President Donald Trump might initiate a nuclear war against Iran or North Korea, or even Russia, the issue of nuclear weapons is at the center of the global stage.

Vatican Conference Underlines Nexus Between Sustainable Development and Nuclear Weapons Ban

By Ramesh Jaura

Photo: A view of the Vatican Conference on November 10-11, 2017. Credit: Katsuhiro Asagiri | IDN-INPS

VATICAN CITY (IDN) – When world leaders approved 'Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development', as an outcome document of the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development two years ago, they designated it as "a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity" that "also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom".

The document, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets, is based on a consensus emerging from protracted discussions within the Open Working Group. It meticulously avoids words such as "a world free of nuclear weapons".

Look Beyond Nuclear Deterrence to Deserve the Title of 'Civilization'

By Alexey Arbatov

Photo: Alexey Arbatov. Credit: NTI.

Dr. Alexei Arbatov is the head of the Center for International Security at the Institute of Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations. He is a former scholar in residence with the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Nonproliferation Program. Formerly, he was a member of the State Duma, vice chairman of the Russian United Democratic Party (Yabloko), and deputy chairman of the Duma Defense Committee. He is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and is the head of the academy’s Center for International Security at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations. Following is the complete text of his paper presented to the conference on 'Perspectives for a world free from nuclear weapons and for integral disarmament' at Vatican City on 11 November 2017 – The Editor

The Vatican Galvanizes Support For A Nuke-Free World

By Ramesh Jaura

Photo: Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana welcoming Vatican conference participants on November 10. Credit: Katsuhiro Asagiri | IDN-INPS

VATICAN CITY (IDN) – The Vatican's first international conference on the prospects for "a world free from nuclear weapons and for integral disarmament" on November 10-11 was not intentionally planned to overlap with U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to Asia as the U.S. faces heightened tensions with North Korea. It has been in the works for several years, and the timing, as Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana quipped, is a coincidence that could be seen as an act of "divine providence". [P 25]

UN Treaty Offers a Way Out of the Nuclear Crisis

By Paolo Cotta-Ramusino

Photo: Paolo Cotta-Ramusino addressing nuclear disarmament conference in Vatican City on November 10, 2017. Credit: Katsuhiro Asagiri

The author is Secretary General of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs and Professor of Physics at the University of Milan, Italy. Pugwash was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. Following are extensive excerpts from a paper Professor Cotta-Ramusino presented to the conference on 'Perspectives for a world free from nuclear weapons and for integral disarmament' at Vatican City on 10 November 2017. - The Editor

VATICAN CITY (IDN-INPS) - Nuclear weapons have been used only twice in war, but nevertheless, the build-up of nuclear arsenals has progressed relentlessly up until the 1980s. The number of US nuclear weapons reached a maximum of 32,000 in 1967 while Soviet nuclear weapons reached a maximum of 45,000 in 1986.

No Sign Yet of a Sustained Direct U.S.-North Korean Dialogue

By Daryl G. Kimball

Photo: President Trump addressing the South Korean National Assembly. Source: The White House Video.

Daryl G. Kimball is Executive Director of the Arms Control Association. This article first appeared with the caption 'Trump Repeats Failing Formula on North Korean Threat'.

WASHINGTON, D:C: (IDN-INPS) - In his high profile address to the South Korean National Assembly November 8, President Donald Trump missed a crucial opportunity to clarify and adjust his administration’s disjointed and, at times, reckless policy toward North Korea.

Although Trump indicated earlier [...] in a press conference in Seoul that he is "open" to talks with North Korea, he has also said in recent days that now is not the time for such talks but instead it is time to apply "more pressure" on North Korea to bring North Korea to bargaining table and to agree to eliminate its nuclear program. While in Asia, Trump has also repeated, albeit in less bombastic terms than before, that he will resort to the use of military force if North Korea does not back down.

UN Takes Yet Another Step Towards a Nuke-Free World

By J Nastranis

Photo: Bill Kidd MSP, PNND Co-President chairing a PNND meeting in Astana in August 2016. Others pictured are Senator Damen-Masri (Jordan), Saber Chowdhury, Alyn Ware, Jonathan Granoff and Denise Pascal Allende MP (Chile). Credit: PNND

Note: This report draws heavily on information and analysis provided by the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) and UNFOLD ZERO, a platform for UN focused initiatives and actions for the achievement of a nuclear weapons free world. – The Editor.

NEW YORK (IDN) - As surging tensions between North Korea and the U.S. raise again the spectre of a nuclear war, the United Nations has called on leaders around the world to come together in a High-Level Conference to reduce nuclear dangers and pave the way for nuclear disarmament.

Congressional Report Warns of Skyrocketing Costs of U.S. Nuclear Arsenal

By J C Suresh

Photo: F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the Thunderbirds, the Air Force flight demonstration team, perform during the Thunder Over South Georgia air show at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Oct. 28, 2017. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Snider

TORONTO | WASHINGTON, D.C. (IDN) – A new study throws limelight on the skyrocketing costs of the current plan to sustain and upgrade U.S. nuclear forces and outlines several pragmatic options to maintain a credible, formidable deterrent at less cost.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study published on October 31 estimates that sustaining and upgrading U.S. nuclear forces will cost taxpayers $1.24 trillion in inflation-adjusted dollars between fiscal years 2017 and 2046. When the effects of inflation are included, the CBO expects the 30-year cost to exceed $1.5 trillion. These figures are significantly higher than the previously reported estimates of roughly $1 trillion. [P 24]

NAM Calls for Convening a Disarmament Conference at the UN

By Dr. Ankit Srivastava*

Photo: The Council Chamber at the United Nations in Geneva where the Conference on Disarmament (CD) holds its meetings. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

NEW DELHI (IDN-INPS) - Since the inception of the Non-Aligned Movement, the NAM Member States have adhered to the principle of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The stance on disarmament has been a recurring theme at all the NAM summits. In multilateral forums like the United Nations too, NAM has been actively participating in the non-proliferation initiatives.

On September 26, 2017, in the High Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the [International Day for the] Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, NAM Member States supported the convening of an international conference on nuclear disarmament at the United Nations.

Japan Determined to Play a Bridging Role for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons

Viewpoint by Tarō Kōno, Japan's Foreign Minister

Photo (left to right): Japan's Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera. Foreign Minister Taro Kono, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Credit: Japan MOFA

The UN General Assembly's First Committee adopted on October 28 Japan's draft resolution 'United action with renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons', which is scheduled to be put on a vote in a plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly in early December. 144 countries including nuclear weapon states supported it. Following are extensive excerpts from the transcript of the video message by Japan's Foreign Minister Tarō Kōno, posted on October 20, 2017 on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' channel (mofachannel) on YouTube.

TOKYO | UNITED NATIONS (IDN-INPS) – Unfortunately the difference of approaches towards a world free of nuclear weapon has become clear between nuclear and non-nuclear weapon States as well as among non-nuclear weapon States. Besides as the international security environment deteriorates, the discussion towards such ultimate goal has become further complicated.

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