A call to arms of the peace community: The INF treaty and why America MUST NOT WITHDRAW.
At points throughout this year the international peace community has been closer to defeating the nuclear powers than ever before. We applaud and congratulate the creation of the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons (TPNW), which has won the support of 50 countries and 122 states. We thank the strength of peacebuilding organisations who have worked hand in hand across borders to create the treaty. We remember that in October, Scotland saw antinuclear voices from Iran, the Netherlands, USA, Russia and the UK, march in hope of a nuclear free world to the gates of Faslane. We now know the power that we hold that can defeat the possibility of another war on the basis of international solidarity, universal principles and love.
My own social media coverage of the Scottish CND march 22/09/2018. Picture of WILPF exec and communications officer Nicole Treanor marching to the gates of Faslane, Scotland.
However, if you take a second to point the finger at Trump, you will find a cause for serious concern. Unfortunately, the progress made by the peace community is in risk of total collapse, as America launches the planet into a state of nuclear escalation. A terrifying situation in which a US nuclear war against Russia could be fought on our continent. Never mind the entire state of California’s support in the TPNW, Trump has decided to withdraw support from his own arms control agreement, the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Ripping up the existing INF treaty will mean the end of existing restraints on nuclear arsenals, inevitably leading the way for the return of cruise- type missiles. Never mind the international message against these weapons in the 1980’s, that led to the creation of the INF in the first place. Never mind the fear of nuclear war this will imprint in the mind’s global citizens once more. If Trump chooses to withdraw, he will send a brutish message to all world powers, that the US is ready for new confrontation and new competition.
It goes without saying that the international community must work together once more to defeat the US’ decision, and defend the INF treaty in its current form. I urge you to write to the UK’s Foreign secretary, to call on our government to defend this crucial nuclear treaty. It is clear that without these efforts, the danger to global security is undefinable. Trumps decision will not only be bad news for the INF treaty, but will inevitably lead to the loss of the only other treaty of its kind, the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). If the nuclear powers withdraw from the START treaty, our world will be threatened by zero sanctions of nuclear arsenal creation whatsoever. The fact is that this treaty is due to expire in 2021.
There is no doubt that we are entering into more dangerous times. It is now more important than ever to mobilise our existing strength as the international peace community, and use it to defeat nuclear escalation. We must not ignore these deviant decisions made by nuclear powers and must withhold our belief in a war free world. We must spread the word to others outside our community, in order to embolden the glaringly simple message that we must present to the nuclear powers. We must believe in the power of our democratic voices, and take the 122 states in support of the TPNW along with us on that journey. We will believe in our humanity and morality as global citizens to change our own world for the common good. The message is clear. Nobody wants a nuclear war and global citizens say no to the bomb.
By Lana-Emerald Astin, WILPF Member.