World without Wars strongly condemns the news on the 6th of January, 2016 of a successful nuclear weapon test carried out by the government of North Korea.
This underground test will inevitably lead to radioactive material escaping into the environment and unnecessarily increases tension in a region of several nuclear weapons states and other states supposedly protected by a “nuclear umbrella” courtesy of the United States.
Yet, despite our condemnation of the North Korean government for threatening its neighbours with nuclear destruction and unbearable humanitarian consequences, we recognise that this act has not occurred in isolation of other facts.
The Korean peninsula is still in an official state of war. South Korea has a reported military strength of 630,000 active soldiers, and North Korea 1,190,000. In addition the USA also has over 30,000 soldiers on the peninsula.
Having been labelled a country in Bush’s “axis of evil”, the North Korean regime has seen how other countries such as Iraq and Libya have suffered, with their leaders brutally murdered. In this light they see their nuclear weapons as the only means of survival. North Korea holds onto its doctrine of deterrence just as all other nuclear-weapon-states do the same.
It is in this context that it is not enough to condemn North Korea, it is necessary to condemn all nuclear weapons states, and the worst perpetrator of nuclear bullying: The United States and their NATO allies.
The USA is the only country to have used nuclear weapons on an innocent population. They entered into a nuclear race with the Soviet Union which several times brought the planet to the edge of complete destruction and despite Gorbachev’s offers to enter into mutual nuclear disarmament, they refused to do so. Now, with their NATO allies, they spend 11 times more than Russia on military spending and have continually moved the borders of NATO right up to the Russian border despite an agreement between Gorbachev and Bush that this would not happen upon German reunification.
Expecting the nations of the world to refrain from developing nuclear weapons when their very existence is threatened by the world’s biggest nuclear bully is stupid. Both China and Russia feel increasingly under attack from the United States’ military doctrine.
The only solution to the increasing threat of nuclear detonations either intentional or accidental is for the nations of the world to rapidly advance in proportional and progressive disarmament of both conventional and nuclear weapons.
These efforts need to be driven forward by those who spend most on their military budgets.
In the meantime all nations of the world need to advance in measures that make nuclear weapons illegal and provide a plan to eliminate them. Such measures should include; the negotiation of a treaty to ban nuclear weapons and make them illegal; the ratification and signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty by the eight countries necessary for the treaty to come into force; and the negotiation of a treaty to control the production of fissile material, among other things.
Other measures such as all nuclear weapons states taking their nuclear weapons off high-alert status so that no country can annihilate another country in a matter of minutes can help create the conditions for international relations to improve and trust to develop.
It goes without saying that reduced military budgets should lead to an eradication of poverty around the world and the development of an equitable global economic system that allows all human beings on the planet to live a dignified life with full access to good quality health, education, employment, leisure time and security in one’s old age.
This position statement is published in the name of World without Wars, Hungary.