In this time of mind-numbing national and international turmoil, something really wonderful has happened. The nations of the U.N. General Assembly have moved to eliminate the catastrophic danger of nuclear weapons by passing a historic resolution "to convene in 2017 a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination."
According to Nukewatch New Mexico, all of the nuclear weapons states — China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Israel, India, North Korea and Pakistan — vigorously lobbied by President Obama to vote no, said no, except for North Korea, which voted yes. The final vote was 123 nations for the resolution, 38 against and 16 abstaining.
Ploughshares' Joe Cirincione wrote in the "Huffington Post": "The idea of a treaty to ban nuclear weapons is inspired by similar, successful treaties to ban biological weapons, chemical weapons, and landmines. All started with grave doubts. Many in the United States opposed these treaties. But when President Richard Nixon began the process to ban biological weapons and President George H.W. Bush began talks to ban chemical weapons, other nations rallied to their leadership. These agreements have not yet entirely eliminated these deadly arsenals (indeed, the United States is still not a party to the landmine treaty), but they stigmatized them, hugely increased the taboo against their use or possession, and convinced the majority of countries to destroy their stockpiles.
It is certainly past time to agree to eliminate nuclear weapons, the most lethal and whole-earth destructive of them all.
According to Steven Starr of Nucleardarkness.org, a regional war between India and Pakistan would create massive fire storms in the cities of these countries. "Five million tons of smoke rises above cloud level into the stratosphere and forms a global smoke layer which will remain in place for 10 years."
He points out that the loss of warming sunlight would create the coldest average surface temperatures on earth in the last 1,000 years, and yet human skin will burn in as little as seven minutes because smoke acts to destroy 25 to 45 percent of the protective ozone layer, allowing harmful UV light.
The answer to it all ain't military datum
Like who gets there firstest with the mostest atoms
No, the people of the world must decide their fate
They gotta get together or disintegrate
— Pete Seeger, from "Talking Atom"
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.