FROM WHERE I STAND: Stop the spread of nuclear weapons

Polly MannBY POLLY MANN

On Jan.18, diplomats from 65 countries at the U.N. Conference on Disarmament in Geneva will meet to begin talks on a treaty that would stop the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. Cutting off production of fissile materials for weapons could provide the basis for irreversible reductions of all nuclear weapons. There should be lots of conversation about it, but it is subject matter most of us are not comfortable with because it’s complicated and political. But we could use information about this meeting as a starting point.
Treaties are already in place to cap the number of nuclear warheads that the U.S. and Russia can have ready to launch on missiles and bombers. Negotiations begun in 2009 could further lower each nation’s ceiling, to less than 1,675 deployed weapons apiece. Separately, the U.K. and France have each reduced their nuclear arsenals to about 200 and 300 warheads, respectively. China has a similar number, and Israel has about 100. But no agreements exist today that would effectively stop a country from producing nuclear material for weapons. The world needs a verifiable treaty that would call for nuclear disarmament.
In a way, we, as Americans, have an obligation to get involved in working for nuclear disarmament because we are the only nation in the world to have actually used the bomb and there is some evidence that Japan was ready to accept defeat even before the bombs were dropped. Perhaps there could be an international campaign that worked out the details of the proposal.  Then organized groups such as schools, civic groups and churches could circulate petitions calling for nuclear disarmament.
This issue is not going away.

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