This is a submission from occasional contributor Ed Flaherty. Ed is the secretary of Veterans for Peace in Iowa City.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has some static in the background that many only whisper about. Russia has nuclear weapons – might they use them? The US has nuclear weapons – might they use them? Without saying it, Ed brings up what has for so long been unthinkable – the world’s major nuclear powers may be drawn into confrontation.
Ed gives us a history of recent US activities concerning attempts to agree to curbs on nuclear weapons. I would note that during Republican administrations, we seem to move away from nuclear treaties:
With war raging in Europe, bristling with nuclear weapons, worries about nuclear war mushroom. The following is not comprehensive, but expresses my impressions of treaty activity in the last few decades relevant to today’s situation.
NPT, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Ratified July 1, 1968. The US is a signer.
INF, Intermediate Range Nuclear Force Treaty. Ratified 12-8-1987. US Withdrew 8-2-2019.
ABM Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty. Ratified in 1972. US withdrew 6-13-2002.
CTBT Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Ratified by 170 countries in 1996. Not in force, as US and seven other “necessary” countries have not signed it.
OPEN SKIES TREATY. 30+ countries put it into force in January, 2002. US withdrew in Nov, 2020, Russia withdrew in Dec, 2021.
New START Treaty (start = Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty). Agreed to by US and Russian Federation Feb, 2011. It is in force until Feb, 2026.
ITPNW International Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Ratified by 59 states(86 states have signed it). Jan 22,2021. The US and the other 8 nations possessing nuclear weapons have neither signed nor ratified it.
A few questions: Where are US nukes located in Europe, and of what range and strength are they?; Are there US Tomahawk missile sites in Europe, and are they fitted with nuclear weapons?; Who controls US nukes in Europe?
If the world survives this crisis, and if the US is serious about being a leader in peace, nuclear weapons need to be reduced, and then eliminated.
Good summary of the other existential threat. Ed