US Abandons “Deterrence,” Joins UN Nuclear Weapons Treaty Ban Talks

John LaForge

Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, spoke on Monday outside the nuclear weapons ban talks, flanked by Alexis Lamek, left, France’s deputy United Nations ambassador, and Matthew Rycroft, right, the British ambassador to the United Nations. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, spoke on Monday outside the nuclear weapons ban talks, flanked by Alexis Lamek, left, France’s deputy United Nations ambassador, and Matthew Rycroft, right, the British ambassador to the United Nations. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images

PEACE HALLUCINATION NEWS — New York — March 27 — Saying it was time to save tax dollars and “drain the nuclear swamp,” Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, broke with long-standing tradition Monday, and announced the United States would support a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

“There is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons,” Haley told reporters outside the General Assembly as the “ban treaty” talks were getting underway. Ms. Haley added, “We would love to have a ban on nuclear treaties — uh, nuclear weapons.”

Ms. Haley and two dozen other UN ambassadors, including envoys from Britain, France and South Korea, joined in abandoning 72 years of foreign and military policy, in which nuclear-armed states have relied on what’s called “deterrence.” The policy has allowed governments to build and test nuclear weapons, place them in artillery, bombs and missiles, and then perpetually maintain readiness or threaten to use them. 

“In this day and time, we can’t honestly say that we can protect our people with nuclear weapons,” Haley said, adding, “Those of us that are good trying to keep peace and safety must not to have them.”

Pressure from sponsoring governments — along with budget constraints imposed by the costs of trying to keep peace and safety by bombing Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan -- may have moved the new administration to reverse course. The Obama Administration and most other nuclear powers, including Russia, had earlier opposed the talks and voted last year against funding or convening them. 

The first of two General Assembly treaty negotiating sessions began March 27, supported by 127 countries led by Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa and Sweden. The second session runs June 15 to July 7.

“As the United States has shown in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, not to mention Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Panama, our conventional forces can pulverize whole countries,” Ms. Haley said in her statement. “North Korea might have maybe nine (9) nuclear bombs. But we could flip the place with just one of our 10 aircraft carrier battle groups,” she said, “if it had any oil or tungsten.”

Standing with Ms. Haley, Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of the United Kingdom noted that although the UK, the US, and Russia had reduced the size of their nuclear arsenals, “numbers treaties were not enough. We believe that these negotiations will lead to progress on global nuclear disarmament,” Mr. Rycroft said.

Mr. Rycroft said England would join in the talks “because Article VI of the binding Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) requires it -- and we are a nation of laws.”

Taking its lead from the Obama Administration last year, Britain had strenuously opposed both the funding for the negotiation process and any 2017 convening of the talks. While the NPT’s Art. VI requires that the US, the UK, and the other signatories undertake “in good faith” to pursue the elimination of nuclear weapons, none of the nine declared nuclear powers have done so until now.

US weapons contractors, Congressional representatives, armed forces commands, and national weapons laboratories continue to support the large budget outlays devoted to nuclear weapons programs. Former President Obama’s administration set in motion a $1 trillion nuclear weapons rebuild program. The plan includes hundreds of billions in spending on new submarines, land-based missiles, long-range bombers, nuclear warhead factories in Tennessee, Missouri and New Mexico, and the replacement of H-bombs now deployed in Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, Turkey and Germany. All five NATO “nuclear sharing” partners, voted in favor of starting the treaty ban talks, and announced the permanent expulsion of the remaining US H-bombs from their territories.

Obama’s $1 trillion nuclear weapons plan may have been understood by the Trump White House to threaten the new president’s campaign promise of a $1 trillion infrastructure upgrade. However, Trump’s proposed $1.4 trillion budget plan, announced March 16, neglected any mention of his infrastructure rebuild.

Proponents of a nuclear weapons ban treaty point to international prohibitions on chemical weapons, land mines and cluster munitions as precedent. Treaty supporters, like the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Physicians for Social Responsibility, contend that it will bring political and moral pressure on nuclear-armed powers.

PSR said in a statement, “The treaty will inaugurate a universal norm … that deems the continued possession of nuclear weapons illegal and morally reprehensible. It will undermine the justifications for perpetuating the any nuclear weapons program.” — PHN