A Prohibition Whose Time is Now

Written by: Terry Link

Primary Source : Possibilitator, July 19, 2017

On July 7th, the UN passed the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty. A treaty the US will not join any time soon, just as it hasn’t joined many other global agreements including:

  • Convention on Cluster Munitions
  • Ottawa Treaty (Mine ban)
  • International Criminal Court
  • Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (Signed, but withdrew in 2002)

As one might expect this UN action by the majority of civilized states goes largely ignored by the press and politicians in the U.S. With President Obama pushing to spend $1 trillion to upgrade our nuclear weapons capacity when we should be reducing it, is the epitome of insanity. Mr. Trump and his hawkish team is likely to up the ante even more given his first budget that asked for an additional $54 billion for military war chest. One of our liberal(?) Senators is a proud co-sponsor of new legislation that will take missile defense systems, literally into the stratosphere – both operationally and financially.

from the National Priorities Project – go to their site to see the answer

The House passed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018 before they left for recess two weeks ago upping Mr. Trump’s $54 billion military spending increase by an additional $29 billion. The Senate Armed Services has upped that by an additional $2 billion in what looks like a bidding war to see who’s the most patriotic hawk. There is so much money floating around the Pentagon and associated departments and private contractors that no one even knows where all the cash is. The F-35 is a classic case of a boondoggle that keeps getting more and more expensive and still isn’t in the air. But Pentagon waste is accepted. There is no audit of the Pentagon. As Eisenhower warned, the Military-Industrial-Complex will gobble up money and power from the citizenry, with almost no one challenging the fiscal restraint (Sen. Warren? Sen. Sanders?). Of course, the combined robbing of funds from programs for human well-being and diplomacy and foreign assistance are rarely discussed. And the beat goes on. [see the People’s Budget from the Progressive Caucus for an alternative – hint the lowest of three budgets from the graphic above]

That’s why small steps like the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty help put the military juggernaut in the spotlight. A terrific explanation of the treaty and the U.S. position was published in the Washington Post on Monday is an important read “The U.N. Just Passed a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. That Actually Matters.” By Nina Tannenwald,  director of the International Relations Program at Brown University and the author of “The Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons.”

Without growing and sustained pressure from citizens, Congress will not stand up to the military-industrial-complex, they become part of it. To learn more visit:


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Terry Link
Terry Link is a retired MSU librarian, former founding director of the MSU Office of Campus Sustainability, and co-founder and former chair of the American Library Association’s Task Force on the Environment. He recently served as associate editor for the two-volume encyclopedia, Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices(Gale/Cengage 2014). He has also served as executive director of a regional food bank and as a county commissioner. Currently he is president of Starting Now, LLC, a sustainability consulting firm, a Senior Fellow for the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development and serves on numerous non-profit organization boards.
Terry Link

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