NFP Statement on Thermonuclear Weapons in North Korea

by Paul A Olson and the State Board of Nebraskans for Peace

The recent testing of a thermonuclear warhead by North Korea, accompanied by its earlier testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles, is a matter of concern to Nebraskans for Peace. Some time ago we, together with the national organization PeaceAction, called for a new nuclear freeze accompanied by later systematic reductions in the number of nuclear weapons available to all powers:

We need a new Nuclear Freeze and then systematic reductions with a protocol for controlling fissionable materials. Our suggestion would be that the campaign advocate for gradual reductions: first of 25% or more (which has at least been proposed for US/Russian bilateral reductions to follow-up the New START agreement), then of 50%, then of 75%, and finally of 95% both in nuclear warheads and in fissionable materials. This would require the creation of infrastructure for monitoring and verifying compliance with agreed reductions.

We endorse the United Nations resolution of July 7, 2017 which declares a ban on all nuclear weapons; this ban was passed by 122 nations and will be signed on during the present month. Unfortunately, among the nations refusing to sign the ban were North Korea and the United States.

We appreciate the United Nations’ efforts to use sanctions as a tool to bring North Korea to a place where it is ready to disarm, but we believe that the international situation would be greatly improved if United States, North Korea, and all other nations holding nuclear weapons would agree to a systematic regime of nuclear weapons reduction in conformity with the July 7 UN declaration.

Presently the United States is proposing to spend $1 trillion on what it calls nuclear weapons “modernization.” Many other nations are undertaking massive expenditures on nuclear weapons. These are said to guarantee the peace. But that clearly has not been the case as the numerous wars since World War II illustrate: the Korean War; the wars in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia; the numerous wars in Africa and South America; the wars in Iran/ Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Yemen/Saudi Arabia, and the former Yugoslavia. The wars since World War II have been particularly hard on civilians, creating millions of refugees and hundreds of thousands of dead; as Chris Hedges, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, New York Times best-selling author, former professor at Princeton ,and ordained Presbyterian minister, observes, “One million died in North Korea. Hundreds of thousands were killed in South Korea, and 200,000 to 400,000 in Vietnam. In the wars of the 1990s, civilian deaths constituted between 75 and 90 percent of all war deaths.” http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/books/chapters/what-every-person-should-know-about-war.html

We condemn North Korea for its efforts to intimidate other powers, but we also condemn the great powers that possess nuclear weapons for undertaking the same kinds of actions. We believe that a new negotiation should be undertaken to bring all nuclear powers to the table and to a commitment to the July 7 nuclear weapons ban and a systematic freeze and reduction in nuclear and thermonuclear weapons.

Contact: Paul A. Olson
Telephone number: 402-475-1318
Email: polson2@unl.edu

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