At the United Nations headquarters in New York City, on the third floor, a solemn statue of St. Agnes, holding her namesake lamb, stands as a disturbing reminder of nuclear destruction.
The language used in the Treaty of the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
(TPNW) is unambiguous on its focus of the grave humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. The TPNW also recognizes the influence of the public conscience “in the furthering of the principles of humanity as evidenced by the call for total elimination of nuclear weapons”.
This week in New York, nuclear arms and the efforts to abolish these weapons will reign paramount. Since its adoption in 2017 and its subsequent implementation in 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has been signed by over 90 Member States, 69 of whom have ratified or acceded to it.
At 10:42 PM local time on 21 November, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched a rocket “Chollima-1" loaded with the reconnaissance satellite "Malligyong-1", from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station.
Unless Israel establishes an exit strategy and an end-game that will lead to a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in full coordination with the US and Saudi Arabia, the war against Hamas will only be another brutal violent episode that will prepare the ground for the next conflagration that will engulf the West Bank and potentially set the entire region on fire.
In the heart of Central Asia, a nation renowned for its rich cultural diversity, multi-ethnic society, and spiritual traditions has emerged as a global beacon of interfaith harmony and understanding. Over the past two decades, Kazakhstan’s Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions (The Congress) has played an instrumental role in promoting dialogue, forging unity, and advocating for peace among diverse faiths worldwide. Rooted in Kazakhstan’s deep spiritual heritage and wisdom, this initiative has evolved into a symbol of international cooperation and tolerance. As we reflect on its remarkable journey and look ahead to its future under the leadership of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, it becomes evident that the Congress is poised to make even greater strides toward fostering global harmony and unity.
It is not a secret that the world is witnessing rising international tensions and erosion of the global order that has been in place since the establishment of the United Nations. Divisive blocs, which have not been seen since the Cold War, are making a swift return. As a result, our planet is facing severe threats, including a new global arms race, the threat of the use of nuclear weapons, and the proliferation of wars in all formats, including hot, hybrid, cyber, and trade.
Exactly 32 years ago, on August 29, 1991, Kazakhstan, then part of the Soviet Union, made a historic decision that would alter its fate. On that day, Kazakhstan permanently closed the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, defying the central government in Moscow. This marked the start of Kazakhstan's transformation from a nuclear-armed state, possessing the fourth-largest nuclear arsenal at the time, to a non-nuclear-weapon state. Kazakhstan's audacious move to eliminate its nuclear weapons was rooted in a profound commitment to global disarmament, setting an inspiring precedent.
The Ukraine crisis, which in addition to bringing devastation to the people of that country has had severe impacts on a global scale—even giving rise to the specter of nuclear weapons use—has entered its second year. Against this backdrop and amid urgent calls for its resolution, the G7 Summit of leading industrial nations will be held in Hiroshima, Japan, from May 19 to 21.
The current war in Ukraine has shown that nuclear deterrence is deeply flawed. It relies on the assumption of “rational actors” in power and credibility of threats, which we know are far from reality, especially in times of conflicts.
Putin’s regime recently suspended Russia’s participation in a nuclear arms agreement with Washington. After the decision Putin declared that the move was a retaliation for the US’s, France’s and Britain’s “targeting” of Russia with nuclear weapons. He was forced to take action to “preserve our country, ensure security and strategic stability”:
After much reluctance, the US and its Western allies last week agreed to provide Ukraine with some of the world’s most sophisticated battle tanks: American-made Abrams, German-made Leopards and British-made Challengers.
But the question remains as to whether these weapons will make a decisive difference to Ukrainian armed forces fighting a relentless battle with one of the world’s major military and nuclear powers.
The Ukraine crisis that erupted in February last year continues with no prospect for cessation. The intensified hostilities have inflicted great suffering in population centers and destroyed infrastructure facilities, compelling large numbers of civilians, including many children and women, to live in a state of constant peril.
Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the conflict’s potential to escalate to the use of nuclear weapons has been highlighted by political analysts and military experts alike.
After general elections on the 12th September, Sweden is on the threshold of a new era. The Sweden Democrats
(SD) won almost 21 percent of the votes and thus became the largest in a bloc of right-wing parties that now have a collective majority in the parliament. A nation that for a long time prided itself of being a beacon of tolerance and openness will now experience a historical transformation. The Sweden Democrats
was once founded by Nazi sympathisers and for decades shunned by mainstream politicians. However, SD has now tipped the political scale in a country previously known for its stable and predictable politics, and some of the party’s former foes are now willing to co-rule with them.
This month, the Tenth Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is taking place in New York (and scheduled to conclude August 26). The meeting of states parties, postponed four times because of the Covid-19 pandemic, had originally been scheduled for April 2020.
The Islamic Republic of Iran faces widespread anti-government protests amid an economic crisis while doing little to ease tensions with the international community as it becomes a nuclear threshold state.
Despite the fact that the post Second World War period witnessed the growth and proliferation of a plethora horrendous weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear bombs, human intellectual ingenuity managed to keep the slide into catastrophe at bay. The idea was proffered, and largely accepted, that these weapons were meant not to fight wars but to prevent them. During much of the Cold War period, when nuclear weapons proliferated, particularly among the superpowers, peace was maintained on the premise of the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Since the key superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, had the capacity to destroy each other many times over, rational logic prevented both from initiating a nuclear war. Defence was achieved by deterrence, that is preventing the enemy from attacking with threat of overwhelmingly unacceptable level of retaliation (“nuclear deterrence”)
I’ve just finished going through the more than 60 presidential statements, documents and communiques about the war in Ukraine that the White House has released and posted on its website since Joe Biden’s State of the Union address in early March.
A revised Iran nuclear deal based on the 2015 JCPOA could provide the basis for a new Biden administration strategy that would limit Iran’s nuclear program to peaceful purposes and ensure that Tehran’s public pronouncement that it is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons becomes a de facto reality.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal war on Ukraine, along with his implied threats of nuclear weapons use against any who would interfere, has raised the specter of nuclear conflict.